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[ATG] Indiana University students lead effort to raise awareness of human trafficking
Start Date: 4/1/2016 All Day
End Date: 4/1/2016
Entry Description

Bloomington, Ind. – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s Office is partnering with student groups and the Middle Way House to host a human trafficking awareness event “The Hidden Reality” at Indiana University in Bloomington Tuesday, April 5. The goal is to help educate students about this dangerous, hidden crime fueled by the commercial sex industry.

The United Nations Association IU and the Indian Student Association are spearheading the event at 6 p.m. in State Rooms East and West inside the Indiana Memorial Union (IMU). It is open to all students. During the event, attendees will have the opportunity to gain a sense of the barriers human trafficking victims experience across the world.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“Sex trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry that victimizes people around the world and here at home,” Zoeller said. “Young women and children are recruited and forced into this dangerous and dehumanizing life, and students need to be aware of these risks. We must do more to reduce the demand that fuels the commercial sex industry."

Zoeller launched the Indiana’s Not Buying It awareness effort last year to bring attention to the violent nature of these crimes and the role the sex industry plays in this victimization.

Often young children and teens are targeted as victims of trafficking. According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, within 48 hours of being on the street, at least one third of runaways are approached for recruitment into the sex industry.

Tuesday’s event will shine a light on these risks to the student body, a group increasingly engaging in anti-demand and anti-sexual assault issues on campus’ statewide.

“I believe our organization has done outstanding work planning this event on human trafficking which seeks to educate our community on the hidden reality of trafficking,” said Tania Ramos, a student leader with the United Nations Association IU. “It is a violation of human rights, and it occurs all over the world, including the United States,” said Dana Khabbaz, president of the Association.

Middle Way House, a Bloomington nonprofit that assists survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking, is a co-sponsor of the event.

"Often, when people in a community like ours think about trafficking, they think it is something that doesn't happen here. Maybe in big cities, but not here,” said Toby Strout, executive director of Middle Way House. “At Middle Way House, we've been addressing the needs of domestic and international survivors of human trafficking for over 25 years."

Zoeller is co-chair of the Indiana Protection for Abused and Trafficked Humans (IPATH) Task Force and serves on the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Standing Committee Against Human Trafficking. He also created the Victim Services and Outreach Division in his office last year to support victims of violent crime, including trafficking and sexual assault.  He applauds the two student leaders, Dana Khabbaz and Tania Ramos, who have taken the initiative to bring education on human trafficking to campus.

The Attorney General's Victim Services and Outreach Division provides services and assistance to victims of crime. The Indiana Constitution guarantees victims of crime fairness, respect and dignity in the court system and beyond.

For more information about Indiana’s Not Buying It campaign and the Attorney General’s human trafficking prevention efforts, visit www.INNotBuyingIt.org. To schedule a human trafficking training, contact humantraffickinginfo@atg.in.gov.

Human trafficking tips can be reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at: 888-373-7888 (text BeFree to 233733). 

For support services regarding sexual assault, human trafficking and other assistance please visit www.middlewayhouse.org  or call Middle Way House’s 24-hour crisis line at 812-336-0846.

For more information about the April 5 event click here. Media are welcome to attend the event. 
Contact Information:
Name: Molly Gillaspie
Phone: 317-232-0168
Email: molly.gillaspie@atg.in.gov
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Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Initiatives
  • Seminars/Workshops
  • IN.gov Category:
  • Education
  • Government
  • Residents
  • Agency Name
    Attorney General

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