San Marcos,
15:04 PM

Students Examine Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery at CSUSM Town Hall Meeting, Dec. 2

News Release

Human trafficking and modern day slavery--and what actions can be taken to combat the problem--will be the focus of a December 2 Town Hall meeting at California State University San Marcos, involving CSUSM students, faculty and experts in the field.

Among those scheduled to take part in the event are Danny F. Santiago, a special agent with the California Department of Justice who serves as commander of the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force; Summer Stephan, a chief deputy district attorney who sits on the San Diego Human Trafficking Task Force; Marisa Ugarte, executive director of the Bilateral Safety Corridor; and Carolina Martin Ramos, director of the Casa Cornelia Law Center’s Human Trafficking Program.

Tom Jones, founder and director of The H.O.P.E. Project, an acronym for Healing, Outreach and Peer Empowerment, will be the keynote speaker. Jones is a survivor of molestation, rape and sex trafficking as a child.

The U.S. Department of Justice categorizes human trafficking as one of the most profitable endeavors of organized crime and the fastest growing, enslaving thousands of people in the United States each year and perhaps millions around the world. Federally funded task forces opened 2,515 suspected incidents of human trafficking for investigation between January 2008 and June 2010, the most recent period for which statistics are available. About 8 in 10 of the suspected incidents of human trafficking were classified as sex trafficking, and about 1 in 10 incidents were classified as labor trafficking. California is one of the nation’s top four destination states for human trafficking, and the FBI identified San Diego as one of the top 13 high-intensity child prostitution areas.

The Town Hall is focused on helping students recognize their roles as agents of change and is intended to provide them with the tools to take action. Student-centered discussions and roundtable action planning sessions are aimed at engaging students in civic discourse and helping them begin to develop the tools needed for lifelong democratic participation.

“Institutions of higher education have a responsibility to provide opportunities for students to see practical application of what they’re studying in their classes,” said CSUSM Associate Vice President of Community Engagement Scott Gross. “The Town Hall Meeting is an excellent forum for that to happen.”

Participants will gather into breakout sessions with experts to discuss the problem of human trafficking. Students will then regroup into integrated action planning sessions to explore concrete options for mitigating the problem. At both the dialogue sessions and the action planning sessions, consultants will be asked to offer their perspectives, experiences and ideas with regard toward finding solutions.

The event is not open to the general public.

The Town Hall meeting is a collaboration between CSUSM’s Division of Community Engagement and the Global Studies Department in the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Who: CSUSM Students, Faculty and Field Experts

What: CSUSM Town Hall Forum on human trafficking and modern day slavery. The Town Hall is designed to help students recognize their roles as civic agents of change.

When: Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 5 p.m.

Where: California State University San Marcos – please contact Margaret Chantung for location details at or 760-750-4011.