Hodges University and SAFE Coalition for Human Rights Raise Awareness to Issues of Human Trafficking


On March 10-12, 2016, Hodges University and SAFE Coalition for Human Rights (SAFECHR) will host the “Human Trafficking in Plain Sight: Identifying Best Practices” National Conference and Gala. Students, professionals, educators and members of the community are welcome to attend.

The conference will be held at Hodges University’s Naples campus located at 2655 Northbrooke Drive. The Friday evening gala will be held at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples located at 280 Vanderbilt Beach Road.

“Our goals are to raise awareness among the public to the issues of human trafficking, as well as train advocates and professionals in specific skills so that they may be better prepared to work with female and male survivors of human trafficking. We also plan to bring together various safe houses in the area who can share successes, challenges and best practices with one another,” said Dr. Kalyani Gopal, founder and president of SAFECHR.

Dr. Mary Nuosce, dean of the Nichols School of Professional Studies at Hodges, envisions this conference as a way to show the community that “Hodges University is involved in an issue that is not only affecting our area, but the state, nation and the world. Hodges is a center at which individuals can come to learn about various issues related to human trafficking, including the acquiring of skills to work with trafficked individuals to becoming aware of how to combat it.”

Beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 10, guests will arrive for registration before attending one of two workshops.

On Friday, March 11, guests will attend an all-day training with multidisciplinary panels and informative workshops led by internationally renowned researchers, survivors and trainers, as well as local Collier County leaders. Guests will also hear from SAFECHR’s Survivor Council human trafficking survivors. Also on Friday, Hodges faculty member Yaroslaba Garcia will serve as a co-chair of the Multidisciplinary Legislative Symposium. Garcia is also the president of the Southwest Florida Regional Human Trafficking Coalition and clinical director of Abuse Counseling & Treatment (ACT) in Fort Myers.

That evening, guests may purchase tickets to attend the SAFE Village’s First Annual Silver Slipper Gala. Guests will have the opportunity to participate in a Fund-A-Wish auction, bidding on bricks, streets, oases of peace and additional structures needed to build a SAFE village for survivors of human trafficking. There will also be a live auction, wine and dinner, and a special presentation by human trafficking survivors Federal Judge Mary E. Bullock and survivor-clinician, Marti MacGibbon. A surprise special guest will also be in attendance. On Saturday, March 12, the conference will feature a community panel symposium discussing the roles of hospitals, organizations, businesses and agencies in combating trafficking, as well as a safe house symposium, which will identify best practices across established safe houses in the southern United States.

The cost to attend the conference is $30 for early bird and $50 for regular registrants; however, students may attend free. The deadline for early bird registration is Feb. 25. Tickets to the gala are $175 per person online or $200 onsite. Interested individuals may purchase a table for $1,700. To purchase tickets, please RSVP and register online at http://www.rsvpbook.com/HTNaples2016. For additional information, email admin@safechr.org or call (239) 280-1939.

About SAFE Coalition for Human Rights: SAFE Coalition for Human Rights became a registered nonprofit with the Illinois Secretary of State in March 2014. SAFECHR was formed to support the objectives of SAFE 2014 Conference: Sex-Trafficking Awareness, Freedom and Empowerment (SAFE) and created a paradigm-shift with Survivors as the Experts. Within the past two years, SAFECHR has developed the Rescue to Rehabilitation Protocol, SAFESCHOOLS Program, hosted four national conferences, and developed the C-SAFE Village. The team “includes volunteers donating their time, energies and commitment to making our citizen-driven, survivor-driven organization a critical shift in the way we combat human trafficking.” For more information, call (239) 280-1939 or visit www.safechr.org/index.html

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