Social Work and Human Trafficking

Last month, Melissa Gomez of Central Valley Against Human Trafficking and myself were invited by the Fresno State Title IV-E Child Welfare department to present at the 17th Annual Harry Specht Memorial Symposium.

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The event, held annually to honor MSW and BA Social Work graduates, was titled Human Trafficking: Seeking Justice. Continuing Education Credit was offered to current social workers and those in the field of child welfare and we were given an hour and a half to train and educate on issues/interventions affecting foster youth pertaining to trafficking.

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It was truly an honor and privilege to be able to address a room of well over 100 professionals and graduates and have the opportunity to equip them to join the fight against human trafficking. The foster system has long been a place where vulnerable youth have been exploited and trafficked. Social workers are an essential piece of any strategy to prevent trafficking and to intervene on behalf of those who are victims.

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One highlight was me was hearing from Jamelia Hinds Vicks, whom we featured in our latest Freedom Story video. Jamelia’s story was shown on several screens and then she followed up with the latest developments in her story. Jamelia continues to grow as a speaker and advocate and I am continually inspired by her resilience and courage.

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We’d like to extend a special thanks to Maggie Armistead, Fresno State faculty, for inviting us and the rest of the department for making HT awareness and prevention an educational priority for current and future social workers!

Ryan Townsend, Executive Director

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