Congressional briefing on human trafficking includes Washington University presence

Several Washington University in St. Louis faculty members served as panelists for a congressional briefing titled “Human Trafficking and the Impact on Children and Families” Nov. 14 in Washington.

The Clark-Fox Policy Institute (CFPI) at the Brown School and the Human Trafficking Collaborative Network (HTCN), a multidisciplinary group housed in the university’s Institute for Public Health, brought to Capitol Hill a delegation of Missouri researchers, advocates, law enforcement representatives, service providers and survivors to bring attention to the dehumanizing industry of trafficking in persons.

After welcoming remarks from U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill andU.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, the panel highlighted research and practice that can inform pending federal legislation aimed at assisting survivors and their families.

National Human Trafficking Resource Center figures demonstrate that  cases are on the rise, though the number of reported cases represents only the tip of the iceberg.

“With this panel of dedicated experts and our bipartisan legislative partners, we will continue to inform and educate policymakers about the supports needed to aid human trafficking survivors as they rebuild their lives,” said Gary Parker, CFPI director.

Parker served as co-moderator for the panel with Rumi Kato Price, HTCN founder and professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

“Despite a growing acceptance of public health approaches to human trafficking, policy implementations have not been a strength of the St Louis anti-human trafficking activities,” Price said. “The alliance between the Clark-Fox Policy Institute and the Human Trafficking Collaborative Network is indeed timely. We hope this collaborative effort among CFPI, HTCN and St. Louis community stakeholders will advance evidence-based legislation. With new seed funding from the Institute for Public Health PH3 mechanism, we can also start measuring the potential impact of our policy initiatives.”

Panelists for the briefing were:

  • Brian Froelke, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine at the School of Medicine;
  • Andrea Nichols, an HTCN co-founder, lecturer in sex trafficking at the Brown School and professor at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park; and
  • Kathleen Thimsen, an HTCN co-founder and assistant professor at the Goldfarb School of Nursing.

Invited guests to the briefing includedMelissa Renae Kroll, clinical fellow in emergency medicine, and Christopher Prater, instructor in medical education.

The Institute for Public Health and the Clark-Fox Policy Institute provided support for the event.