While many think of trafficking as a global rather than a local issue, North Carolina is particularly vulnerable to trafficking because of our geographic location on major interstate highways, our coast, and major industries – including agriculture and meat processing, and our large military bases.
Survivors of human trafficking require a range of services, including medical and mental health care. In Fall 2009, Dr. Donna Bickford and Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody, with the assistance of Dr. John Thorp, organized a small working group to discuss possibilities for providing services to trafficking survivors as well as the need for attention to human trafficking in medical school curricula. Dr. Jay Silverman’s visit to campus is one of the results of those working group meetings.
Silverman is an Associate Professor of Society, Human Development and Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. In addition to Silverman’s research and substantial expertise on issues of domestic violence, sexual assault and other gender-based violence, he has been in the forefront of research on the mechanisms, health effects, and prevention of international sex trafficking of women and girls.
Dr. Silverman’s visit was organized by the Carolina Women’s Center with co-sponsorship support from the School of Medicine, Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Injury Prevention Research Center, and the UNC Healthcare Beacon Child and Family Program.
In addition to offering seminars and grand rounds in the School of Medicine, Silverman will be speaking at three public events:
- On Wednesday, Oct. 6 Silverman will present a talk titled “Trafficking and other Forms of Violence against Women: Comparing the Health Consequences” at 4 p.m. in G100 Bondurant Hall.
- On Thursday, Oct. 7 at 1:30 p.m. he will give a presentation on “Adolescent Female Sex Workers: Invisibility, Violence and HIV” in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation Auditorium at the Gillings School of Global Public Health.
- On Thursday, Oct. 7 at 5 p.m. Silverman will deliver a public lecture titled “Trafficking: An Understudied Form of Gender-Based Violence and a Major Threat to Sexual Health.”
All events are free and open to the public. See a flier here.
Dr. Silverman’s visit represents a crucial piece of the Carolina Women’s Center’s education, advocacy, and research work on eradicating sex trafficking. “The CWC is very pleased to organize and host Dr. Silverman’s visit to UNC,” Director Donna Bickford said. “We’re excited at the level of interest on campus in developing knowledge and capacity for offering evidence-based medical and mental health services to human trafficking survivors.”