Published: December 7, 2014 - 10:46 PM | Updated: December 7, 2014 - 10:46 PM
Originally posted here
TOLEDO: The University of Toledo plans creation of a human trafficking institute to seek solutions to the problem.
Trustees at the school recently gave unanimous approval for the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute as a home for the university’s research into the problem, the Toledo Blade reported. No opening date has been set for the institute that will be housed in converted classroom space.
Celia Williamson, a professor in the school’s Criminal Justice and Social Work department, will lead the institute. There will be an associate director and a part-time staff member who helps with conference planning. Interns, graduate students and faculty members from other departments also will work at the institute.
Training for medical students on the issue of human trafficking is an example of how the institute’s work will be integrated with the rest of the university, officials said.
Williamson has said that creation of a formal institute will help secure research grants. The institute also hopes to build a $3 million endowment to support its work, she said.
The university already holds an annual conference on human trafficking, and research done by Williamson has helped prompt local and statewide coalitions to combat trafficking and spurred a state law that stops trafficking victims from being treated as criminals, the newspaper reported.
Michelle Moore is a student at the university and a staff member of the Second Chance social service program in Toledo, which helps trafficking victims and prostitutes. Moore, who says she is a human trafficking survivor who once was slashed in the throat and left for dead in an alley, urged the university’s trustees to approve the institute.
State Rep. Teresa Fedor and state Sen. Edna Brown, both of Toledo, and Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates are among others who also supported the idea for the institute.