Section Chief, Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center
Part of the Free Library of Philadelphia’s One Book, One Philadelphia Series
On The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
Foreign Policy Research Institute and Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape
More than 20 million individuals are currently being exploited worldwide as sex slaves, forced labor, or as child brides and soldiers. Despite the best efforts of governments, NGOs, and law enforcement agencies, global criminal networks have turned this modern-day slave trade into a $32 billion-a-year business. Such networks range in size and scope from international criminal organizations to territorial gangs and militia groups to loosely connected, online private interest groups and individuals or family members selling their children for rent, drugs, or to repay a debt. They operate by using deception or coercion to lure their victims – offering the promise of a better life somewhere else. Instead, they are deprived of their freedom and experience various forms of physical, mental, and sexual abuse, all while being trafficked across multiple countries and regions. On February 4, 2013, the Foreign Policy Research Institute will assemble a panel of experts to examine the roots of this issue, discuss how these networks operate, and determine what can be done to eradicate human trafficking both at home and abroad.
About the Panelists:
Dr. Vanessa Neumann is a Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Center for the Study of Terrorism, where she specializes in Latin America and terrorism. A native of Venezuela with a doctorate from Columbia University, she travels the globe speaking on crime-terror pipelines, of which human trafficking is a significant aspect. Dr. Neumann is also an advisor to the State and Defense Departments.
Krista Hoffman works for the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) as their Criminal Justice Training Specialist. She provides technical assistance and training to the criminal justice system, specializing in investigating sexually based crimes, human trafficking, building and sustaining human trafficking response teams, and technology and sexually abusive behaviors. Her work on human trafficking has taken her across the U.S., and internationally. Krista is also an adjunct professor in the Masters’ of Education Program for Cabrini College.
Cheryl Bassett is a federal law enforcement officer with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations. She currently serves as a Section Chief at the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Center (HSTC)—a U.S. Government interagency intelligence and law enforcement fusion center which gathers, analyzes, and distributes information and intelligence on human smuggling, human trafficking, and clandestine terrorist travel. Ms. Bassett is responsible for the management of criminal investigators and analysts working on issues relative to human trafficking, as well as liaison and outreach with law enforcement and government officials, both domestic and foreign.