NEW: Family Service of RI and RWU to Offer Training for Addressing Human Trafficking

Monday, February 13, 2012


Human trafficking is an underreported crime that occurs across all 50 states. Rhode Island, however, is attempting to do something about it. Family Service of RI, together with Roger Williams University, have joined forces to offer professional training for those who encounter victims of human trafficking.

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According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, human trafficking occurs “if a person was induced to perform labor or a commercial sex act through force, fraud, or coercion. Any person under age 18 who performs a commercial sex act is considered a victim of human trafficking, regardless of whether force, fraud, or coercion was present.”

Susan Erstling, Ph.D, the leader of Family Service of RI”s trauma and loss center, explained the necessity for broad scale awareness of this veiled system of injustice. “We’re working to raise awareness that human trafficking is a problem in Rhode Island and that those caring for its victims need to better understand their issues.” Robert McKenna, the assistant dean of the School of Justice Studies and the director of the Justice Systems Training Institute at RWU followed up by saying, “Upon completion of this program, victim service providers will be more equipped to deliver appropriate services and a higher level of care to the victims.”

The program, which is open to victims’ services volunteers and professionals, will include presentations from Lt. Michael Correia, of the Providence Police Department, Courtney Cotsonas Litowitz, of the FBI, and Bethany Macktaz, a former prosecutor with the Rhode Island General’s office.

The training will take place on Friday, March 30 at Roger Williams University’s Baypoint Inn and Conference Center in Portsmouth, RI.


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