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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 15 February 2006

The startling problem of modern-day trafficking in human beings is the subject of the next Portland City Club Friday Forum, set for 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, in the Governor Hotel, 614 S.W. 11th Ave.

Portland State University Assistant Professor Christopher Carey, J.D., will speak on "21st Century Slavery: Human Trafficking in Portland."

Within the past decade, human trafficking — the use of force, fraud or coercion to transport persons across boundaries or within countries to exploit them for their labor — has re-emerged as an issue of major concern for governments and nongovernmental organizations. Official estimates indicate that 45,000 to 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States every year from many parts of the world. The average age of the victims is reported to be 20 years.

"Human trafficking" might bring to mind women and children,largelyfrom Southeast Asia, sold into prostitution by criminal syndicates capitalizing on the victims' lack of adequate information, education, legal protection and social standing to migrate safely. According to the Daywalka Foundation, a U.S.-based international organization committed to ending human trafficking, this form of modern-day slavery is a profitable trade that devastates lives, worsens the HIV/AIDS epidemic and finances South Asian terrorism.

But in Portland, it's more than prostitution. As reported recently by Willamette Week, an increasing number of young Latinos who sell drugs in Portland are also tied to human trafficking, lured to the United States with promises of work but instead incurring a debt that must be paid by peddling drugs on the street.

Doors will open at 11:30 a.m.; the program begins at 12:15 p.m. and concludes at 1:15 p.m. Luncheon tickets are $16 for City Club members and up to two guests, $20 for nonmembers. Lunch reservations can be made by calling 503-228-7231 ext. 103 or 102, by noon Thursday, Feb. 15. A limited number of coffee/tea tickets are $5 at the door. General seating, also available at the door, is free for members, $5 for nonmembers.

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