By: JONATHAN ROBERTS
WASHINGTON, DC – Human rights professionals convened at Georgetown University Law Center for the annual Samuel Dash Conference on Human Rights. The theme of this year’s conference was “Defending Woman’s Human Rights: Achievements, Obstacles and Opportunities for Empowerment.” The Institute’s Founding Director John Richmond was a panelist speaker at the event.
The conference featured a day of discussions with leading experts about the state of women’s human rights, including combating human trafficking, female genital mutilation, child marriage, and protecting and supporting women’s human rights defenders around the world.
Richmond was a speaker on the “Combating Human Trafficking of Women and Girls” panel. Other panelists included: Denise Brennan (Moderator), Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology, Georgetown University; Holly Burkhalter, International Justice Mission; Melysa Sperber, Director of Policy & Government Relations, Humanity United; and Karen Stauss, Senior Policy Counsel, Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, U.S. Department of Justice.
Richmond emphasized that in order to address human trafficking, there needs to be a focus on data and evidence, not only anecdotes and emotion. His remarks centered on five key points: (1) human trafficking does not always involving international movement; (2) traffickers are motivated by money, not hate, with annual profits exceeding $150 billion; (3) victims do not always self-identify; (4) forced labor is also a form of human trafficking; and (5) trafficking is not only about force or constraint, but also more subtle forms of coercion.
“I was pleased Georgetown Law Center chose to include trafficking in persons as one of the leading human rights issues to be discussed at the conference,” Richmond said.
The Samuel Dash Conference is the largest annual event on human rights at Georgetown University Law Center. It was established by Dash’s family and friends, Georgetown Law alumni, and the law firm of Cozen O’Connor to honor Dash’s contributions to international human rights and domestic civil rights. Dash joined the Georgetown Law faculty in 1965. He passed away in 2004.