SUNY Cortland will consider the local relevance of a major human rights issue often interpreted as foreign with a presentation Wednesday, Feb. 26.
“Human Trafficking in Upstate New York,” a talk led by Gonzalo Martinez de Vedia and Renan Salgado from the Worker Justice Center of New York, takes place at 4:30 p.m. in Sperry Center, Room 105.
The presentation is free and open to the public.
“The bottom line is that human trafficking is a serious and growing problem in New York state and few people are aware of it,” said Ute Ritz-Deutch, a lecturer in the College’s History Department. “This can take many different forms.
“I hope that students will learn about this important problem and will get encouraged to get involved.”
Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing criminal enterprises in the world and upstate New York is no exception, becoming a source of both sex and labor trafficking in the U.S.
The Worker Justice Center of New York, with locations across the state in Kingston, Albany and Rochester, began exposing the problem in 2001 with a program that today leads investigations, taskforces and trainings statewide in all affected sectors and populations.
One of those fronts is the state’s Southern Tier, where the newest of the anti-trafficking taskforces is in its formative stages.
Although primarily composed of law enforcement agencies and service providers for victims, the taskforces also rely on student groups and community organizations to take the conversation to businesses, public venues and homes.
According to Ritz-Deutch, the event’s organizer, the human trafficking presentation is both a lecture and a call to action.
The Worker Justice Center of New York that Martinez de Vedia and Salgado represent concerns itself with people who are denied human rights, with a focus on agricultural and other low-wage workers. The Farmworker Legal Service of New York and the Workers' Rights Law Center merged to form the group.
Event sponsors include the College’s History, Modern Languages and Political Science departments; the Center for Gender and Intercultural Studies; the Amnesty International student group; and La Familia Latina.
For more information about the presentation, contact Ritz-Deutch at 607-351-8033.