September 22, 2014  

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Film, Panel Discussion to Shed Light on Human Trafficking

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According to United Nations figures, an estimated 2.5 million people around the world are in forced labor, including sexual exploitation, at any given time as a result of human trafficking. In an effort to shed light on this disturbing statistic, the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at The University of Southern Mississippi, partnered with Advocates for Freedom (AFF), will host a presentation of the film, "Sex + Money: A National Search for Human Worth.”

The event will also feature a panel discussion along with the film Monday, Nov. 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Fleming Education Center auditorium on the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach. The film, in addition to a Webcast of the panel discussion, will be shown simultaneously in Gonzales Auditorium at the university’s Hattiesburg campus.

Sex + Moneyis a feature-length film that follows three photojournalists across the United States seeking to understand how sexual exploitation has become the nation's fastest growing form of organized crime and what can be done to stop it.

“Through this documentary and panel discussion, we want to explore some of the political, social and legal issues related to human trafficking,” said Dr. Marie Leonard, assistant professor of sociology at Southern Miss Gulf Coast. “We want to encourage discussion about the causes and consequences of human trafficking, but also bring some optimistic insight about things we can do to fight human trafficking right here, right now.”

Following the film, a panel of experts will discuss human trafficking in Mississippi and beyond. The panel will feature Dr. Marie Leonard; Heather Wagner, director for the Mississippi Attorney General's Domestic Violence Division; District 121 State Rep. Diane Peranich; and Dr. Bob Press, associate professor of political science at Southern Miss.

For more information, contact Dr. Marie Leonard at 228.214.3339 or email marie.leonard@usm.edu.