Global Center for Women and Justice addresses human trafficking in our own backyard and beyond.
Human trafficking. Modern day slavery. The cyber-exploitation of women and children. However it is labeled, it cannot begin to describe the immense suffering borne by victims of 21st century enslavement. According to the Global Center for Women and Justice (GCFWJ), housed at Costa Mesa’s Vanguard University, some 45.8 million victims, globally, are trafficked. And, perpetrators and victims of these criminal networks are closer to “home” than commonly assumed.
“Wealth creates demand and greed drives human trafficking,” explains Sandra Morgan, RN, Ph.D., Director of the GCFWJ. “Newport Beach is consistently ranked as one of the wealthiest cities in southern California. Criminals bring victims to the city and capitalize on higher profits from the affluent local demand.”
Victims of domestic servitude, often preyed upon by traffickers with promises of a better life away from their often troubled homes are forced to work without pay in hotels, restaurants or family homes; and, likely, subjected to physical harm.
Dr. Morgan is recognized globally for her expertise in combating human trafficking and working to end violence against women. After beginning anti-trafficking work in Athens, Greece, she returned to the U.S. and served as the Administrator of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) before returning full-time to the GCFWJ.
Dr. Morgan’s multifaceted approach to running the GCWJ includes the center’s largest annual fundraising event, Priceless. The upcoming fifth annual luncheon features keynote speaker John Cotton Richmond, Founding Director at The Human Trafficking Institute and honored as Prosecutor of the Year by the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation, as well as the Outstanding Investigative Accomplishment in Human Trafficking award received from the Department of Homeland Security.
“This event was created to encourage our community to study the complex issue of human trafficking in our own backyard and beyond,” said Dr. Sandra Morgan. “With the diverse training and education of legislators, law enforcement and key leaders across our nation, John Cotton Richmond is the perfect fit for this event, and we are honored to have him as the keynote speaker at this year’s Priceless fundraising luncheon.”
The luncheon will continue the tradition of recognizing individuals, businesses and organizations in the greater Orange County community who have gone above and beyond in the fight to protect and defend survivors of human trafficking.
Formed more than 14 years ago, the GCWJ relies on funds raised from Priceless to continue programs that provide training and resources to fulfill its mission of ending trafficking. These funds go toward an academic minor centered on women’s studies that support those pursuing careers that empower social justice issues regarding women and children. Human Trafficking funds help with partnerships with local Orange County organizations working to fight trafficking and the exploitation of children. Global Initiatives funds serve to study work abroad with organizations in Italy, Russia, Iraq and other countries. The Live2Free student mobilization team performs safety awareness outreach to high schools and middle schools. Dr. Morgan has also created a podcast called “Ending Human Trafficking” for educators and those in the field of human trafficking. Additionally, funds raised support the annual Ensure Justice Conference, a two-day event focused on equipping teachers, law enforcement, students and community members in intervening when women and children are suspected of being in a high-risk violent situation.
Awareness and understanding are the first steps in comprehending the human trafficking struggle. Attending the Priceless event can be a first step in educating oneself with the possibility of greater involvement in the eradication of human slavery.
Priceless Luncheon to End Human Trafficking, September 16, 2017, 11 a.m., Island Hotel in Newport Beach. For more information visit Priceless2017.com