UW-Madison: La Follette school to host discussion of modern-day slavery

CONTACT: Terry Shelton, (608) 262-3038, [email protected].

MADISON – A prize-winning author known for his global research on modern-day slavery will deliver a free public lecture this month at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as part of a daylong symposium on human trafficking.

Madison native E. Benjamin Skinner, author of “A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery,” will speak at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 30, in Ebling Auditorium in the Microbial Sciences Building, 1550 Linden Drive.

Skinner, a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy of Harvard Kennedy School and a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, went undercover, when necessary, to infiltrate trafficking networks, slave quarries, urban child markets and illegal brothels. His work received the 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for nonfiction, as well as a citation from the Overseas Press Club in its book category for 2008.

“We are excited to host Ben to bring awareness to the global issue of modern-day slavery,” says professor Carolyn Heinrich, director of UW-Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs, which is organizing the lecture and symposium.

“Modern-day slavery touches on many public policy issues, including international trade, legal, human rights, social welfare, labor, public health, economic and education,” she says. “Yet, due to legal, territorial and institutional barriers-not to mention culturally ingrained practices — it is a very difficult problem to address and resolve.”

Skinner will also be part of the symposium, which will be held from 8:45 a.m.-4 p.m. in 8417 Sewell Social Sciences, 1180 Observatory Drive. Both events are free and open to the public. No registration is required.

The symposium features three panels of experts from academia, public policy, non-profits and law enforcement. Two of the panelists are La Follette graduates: Karina B. Silver, of the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance Human Trafficking Committee; and Marianna Smirnova, human trafficking policy specialist at the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault. They are part of the panel that will address the scope of the problem of modern-day slavery in Wisconsin.

In addition to the La Follette School, financial sponsors on campus include African Studies, Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies/Brazil Initiative, Global Studies, International Institute, and the Wisconsin Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy. Lending support and assistance are Slave Free Madison and Madison Committee on Foreign Relations, and these campus units: the Center for Southeast Asia, Center for International Business Education and Research, Department of History, Havens Center, Law School, Political Science Department, Department of Population Health Sciences and Sociology Department.

The full schedule is available at: http://www.lafollette.wisc.edu/publicservice/slavery.