National, regional, and state experts in the prevention of child human trafficking will convene at Delta State University for a “Child Safety Summit: Understanding Child Trafficking, Exploitation, and Abuse” on Jan. 31, 2019. The daylong event, which occurs during National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, takes place in the Baioni Conference Center in Broom Hall and the Jacob Conference Center in Ewing Hall on the Delta State campus and is free and open to the public.
Participants include John F. Clark, CEO/president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which has helped law enforcement recover more than 250,000 missing children since opening in 1984; Victor Vieth, founder of the Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center, which has trained more than 150,000 child protection professionals dating back to its creation in 2003; and Susan Hutchinson, first lady of Arkansas and a longtime advocate for organizations working with abused children.
“Human trafficking and child sexual exploitation continue to grow at an alarming rate across the globe,” said Clark. “I applaud Delta State University for hosting this Child Safety Summit and opening dialogue with students and the public on how we can work together to combat it.”
Additional participants include Donna Malone, cofounder of the Percy and Donna Malone Child Safety Center in Clark County, Ark.; W. Hunter Nowell, youth court judge in Bolivar County, Miss.; Karla Tye, executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi, based in Jackson; Dr. Sufna John, a licensed psychologist and co-director of the Arkansas Building Effective Services for Trauma in Little Rock, Ark.; and Leah Daughdrill, a trafficking survivor from Moss Point, Miss.
“Delta State University is proud and pleased to host the Child Safety Summit,” said Delta State President William N. LaForge. “An all-star cast of nationally and regionally renown speakers and presenters will lead discussions on a number of vital topics concerning the safety and exploitation of children. We look forward to welcoming a wide array of governmental, educational, and private sector professionals who will benefit from the summit. I am especially grateful to our good friends, John Clark and Percy and Donna Malone, for providing program and financial support for this very timely summit.”
A nationwide and worldwide problem, human trafficking also hits close to home. In the first half of 2018, the National Human Trafficking Hotline reported 20 human trafficking cases in Mississippi, half of those involving minors. In 2017, an estimated 1 out of 7 endangered runaways in the U.S. reported to the NCMEC were likely child sex trafficking victims, with 88 percent of them in the care of social services or foster care at the time. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s 2018 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons documents how “this terrible crime continues to operate in the shadows.”
Morning panel topics at Delta State’s Child Safety Summit include “Child Abuse and Neglect” and “Child Trafficking and Exploitation.” There will be several breakout sessions in the afternoon.
For more details about Delta State’s Child Safety Summit, go online to https://www.facebook.com/events/2214978331867185/
The event is sponsored by AllCare Pharmacy, NCMEC, Canopy Children’s Services, and the Local Government Leadership Institute at Delta State University.