Confronting Human Trafficking and Strategies To Combat It Globally

martina vandenberg photo 2More than 20 million men, women and children are victims of human trafficking, a form of modern slavery that is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry. No corner of the globe is exempt, from the girl forced into prostitution at a truck stop to the man discovered in a restaurant kitchen, stripped of his passport and held against his will.

Martina Vandenberg, founder and president of The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center in Washington, D.C., has spent more than two decades combating human trafficking. A former Human Rights Watch researcher, Vandenberg spearheaded investigations into human rights throughout the former Soviet Union and authored two Human Rights Watch reports, Hopes Betrayed: Trafficking of Women and Girls to Post-Conflict Bosnia & Herzegovina for Forced Prostitution, which explores links between peacekeeping and human trafficking, and Kosovo: Rape as a Weapon of Ethnic Cleansing.

On Feb. 19 at 10 a.m., Vandenberg will be here to talk about human trafficking that denies freedom to 20.9 million people around the world. While those held in forced labor are in the millions, in 2015, the most recent year for which we have data, the State Department reports that there were only 6,609 criminal convictions in the entire world. Traffickers enjoy almost total impunity, holding victims in forced labor and forced prostitution and forcing children into commercial exploitation.

What can be done to hold traffickers accountable? How can trafficking survivors obtain justice? What role does corruption play in human trafficking? Vandenberg will address those questions, as well as offer new strategies to combat human trafficking.

As an attorney, she has handled dozens of trafficking cases, including criminal, civil and immigration. Widely regarded as an expert on an array of human-rights issues, she has testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, the Helsinki Commission, the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Armed Services Committee.  

A Rhodes Scholar and Truman Scholar, Vandenberg has taught as an adjunct faculty member at the American University Washington College of Law and at the Oxford University Human Rights Summer Program.  She is a graduate of Pomona College (B.A.), Oxford University (M.Phil) and Columbia Law School (J.D.).

Tickets to all Monday Morning Lectures are $4 at the door of the Renaissance Theater.

For more information, see:

Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center