The 2019 Combatting Human Trafficking Symposium convened over 250 multidisciplinary professionals working to end forced labor and sex trafficking at local, state, federal and international levels. The full-day event engaged policy makers and practitioners implementing action-based solutions to combat modern slavery.

Panel discussions, spotlight presentations and technology demonstrations focused on topics including cross sector collaboration, prevention education, legal remedies for survivors, advances to combat forced labor, responding to victims in the child welfare system and the justice sector’s response to human trafficking.

Event highlights included remarks from Dame Sara Thornton, the UK’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, a conversation between Mrs. McCain and HHS Assistant Secretary Lynn Johnson about prevention education, an in-depth technology demonstration from our own Sarah Southey, survivor-leader Evelyn Chumbow serving as emcee, and a To The Market pop-up shop.

The Symposium also included a special screening of “Sex Trafficking in America,” a documentary following the Human Exploitation and Trafficking (HEAT) Unit – a specialized squad within the Phoenix Police Department dedicated to combatting labor and sex trafficking. For 2.5 years, an award-winning Frontline documentary crew embedded themselves within the unit and were granted access to high stakes and innovative police operations. The documentary follows the harrowing story of a survivor, from her trafficking experience to her recovery, as she navigates the judicial system to bring her traffickers to justice. This story is one of courage and resilience, and shines a light on the heinous crime of sex trafficking in America.

The showing was followed by a panel featuring Sergeant Mark Doty of the Phoenix Police Department, Lisa Lucchesi, human trafficking coordinator at Mercy Maricopa, and Konstance Merideth, chief programs officer at the Phoenix Dream Center.