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Statewide conference to address human trafficking in North Carolina communities

North Carolina is one of several states where human trafficking is increasing. A statewide conference August 7-8 in New Bern will bring together experts to address how organizations, agencies and individuals across North Carolina can confront human trafficking in their communities.

The conference theme is “Awareness to Action: Proactively Confronting Human Trafficking in NC Communities.” This second annual conference is sponsored by Project NO REST, a statewide effort based at UNC-Chapel Hill to strengthen the state’s infrastructure to address human trafficking and document how it affects children and young people. Human trafficking is defined as forcing, fooling, or frightening others into performing sex or labor acts for profit.

Topics to be covered at the conference will include:

  • How homeless youth are vulnerable to human trafficking
  • How to work with schools to teach children about sex trafficking
  • How to incorporate victims’ voices and ideas when planning prevention efforts and services

Conference speakers will come from across the United States and are nationally known for their work on trafficking. Speakers will include Emily Waters, a psychotherapist and human trafficking survivor, and Laura Murphy, a researcher and scholar who leads the Modern Slavery Research Project. In addition, speakers from a North Carolin media company will share how a statewide awareness campaign is being used to fight human trafficking. Victim-service providers from across the state will share a view from the front lines.

Calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline from North Carolina increased 22 percent, from 181 human trafficking cases reported in 2016 to 221 in 2017, suggesting that public awareness of human trafficking is rising. The conference will offer critical information to service providers, law enforcement, educators, survivors and others about how to fight trafficking collaboratively in victim-centered, trauma-informed ways.

The conference will be held at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center downtown. Registration is required.

To learn more about human trafficking, visit or call Dean Duncan, UNC School of Social Work, at 919-962-7897. To learn more about the conference or to register, visit or call Karen Koch at 252-744-5215.