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In observance of International Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle will host her Seventh Annual Community Forum on Thursday, January 25, 2018, from 2:00 to 5:00 PM. This year’s theme is “Broadening the Scope: Sexual Orientation, Gender Roles, and Developing the Appropriate Response”. St. Thomas University has partnered with State Attorney Fernandez Rundle this year to co-host the event sponsored by St. Thomas University School of Law.

“What we have seen in dealing with victims of human trafficking is that the trauma that they’ve endured is distinct and different to that of other sexual abuse victims,” commented State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “Now seven years into our working with victims of human trafficking, we are inviting our stakeholders and community partners to learn more about a population of human trafficking victims that is often overlooked because they are LGBTQI.”

The forum is being held at St. Thomas University, 16401 NW 37th Avenue in Miami, Florida, in their Moot Court Room. Speakers include Meredith Dank, Ph.D., Research Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City and Aspen Hawke, Program Manager for Chrysalis Health in Fort Lauderdale.

According to the United Nations, at any given time throughout the world there are millions of people unwillingly involved in forced labor and the illicit sex trade. Although Human Trafficking is often portrayed as a broad national or international problem, the reality is that many of the victims of Human Trafficking reside within our communities. It is estimated that the Human Trafficking industry earns some $32 billion dollars annually worldwide.

The forum is the brainchild of State Attorney Fernandez Rundle and is aimed at tackling instances of Human Trafficking in Miami-Dade County and South Florida. Through better awareness, community partnerships and legislation, it is the State Attorney’s hope that the victims of Human Trafficking can be more readily identified and assisted with rehabilitative services, and their perpetrators prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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