Theresa Flores, activist-educator, to speak on the problem of human trafficking | Crime

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Theresa Flores, activist-educator, to speak on the problem of human trafficking
Crime, Events
Theresa Flores, activist-educator, to speak on the problem of human trafficking

An internationally-known activist-educator will be among the speakers at a conference on human trafficking later this month in Auburn.

Theresa Flores will share her personal story of sexual trafficking, slavery and survival at "Not Here: A Call to Action Against Human Trafficking," a two-day, interdisciplinary conference scheduled for October 25 and 26.

When she was just 15 and a newly-arrived resident of an upper-middle class suburb of Detroit, Flores was drugged, raped and tortured for two long years. While living at home and attending school during the day with her abusers, she was kept in bondage and called into ‘service’ late at night while her unknowing family slept. Involuntarily involved in a large criminal ring, Flores endured physical and psychological abuse – at one point she was literally "sold to the highest bidder."

Now a social worker and international activist, Flores has appeared as a guest on The Today Show and MSNBC and appears in Kidnap & Rescue, a Discovery Channel series. She was also featured in a two-hour special about sex trafficking on America’s Most Wanted.

US Attorney, District of Maine Thomas Delahanty, Maine Attorney General William Schneider, and US Marshal Noel March will address participants on day one. In addition to Ms. Flores and her story of survival, the day’s events will include presentations by four other unforgettable keynote speakers, including:

  • Ken Morris of the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation with a historical perspective on slavery
  • Ron Soodalter, author and historian, who will speak on the topic of slavery today
  • Anita Kanaiya of Oasis India, part of a global organization with the mission of building positive communities and caring for victims of abuse and injustice, who will speak about international efforts to rescue and empower trafficking victims
  • Arwyn Jackson, from Amirah Boston, a non-profit safe house in the Boston area dedicated to providing whole-person care for rescued survivors of human trafficking, who will address survivor sheltering and social change

October 26 will be a more traditional conference format, with participants spending time with presenters in smaller groups/breakout sessions. Day two presenters will include: Theresa Flores; Anita Kanaiya; Ron Soodalter; representatives from the Northeastern University Institute on Race and Justice; Joseph Rampolla, Park Ridge New Jersey Police Department; and Benjamin Corey, photographer, scholar and abolitionist.

Additionally, the conference will offer a "specialty track" for law enforcement, featuring a half-day forensic interviewer training on day two. This training will be provided by Homeland Security/Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Space is limited, so those who wish to participate must notify conference planners.

Day one of the conference will be held at East Auburn Baptist Church, while day two will be held at Central Maine Community College in Auburn. A fee will be charged. Lunch and conference materials will be provided.

"Not Here" an effort to mobilize community action against the injustice and oppression of human trafficking - the fastest growing crime in the world. The conference is proudly presented by the Auburn Police Department; Foundation for Hope and Grace; US Attorney, District of Maine; Central Maine Medical Center; Central Maine Community College; St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center; East Auburn Baptist Church; and the Not Here Justice in Action Network.

To register for the conference, perspective participants are urged to visit or call the Auburn Police Department at 333-6650.

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