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LETU to Host Human Trafficking and Modern-day Slavery Symposium March 21


LeTourneau University will host a free symposium on human trafficking and modern day slavery from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, in the S.E. Belcher Jr. Chapel and Performance Center, 2100 S. Mobberly Ave. in Longview.

The purpose of the symposium is to educate and motivate the public to learn about local, national and international human trafficking and slavery injustices and how the public can help put human trafficking and modern day slavery to an end.
LETU assistant professor of criminal justice Paul Rickert will present a historical overview of slavery in Western civilization. Rickert, who has been a police officer for 15 years in Virginia and now Texas, is the organizer of this event.

"Many people don't realize that human trafficking has now surpassed arms trafficking in profitability for criminal organizations," Rickert said. "This is the second largest and fastest growing criminal activity in the world, generating $32 billion annually."

His wife, guest speaker Michelle Crawford Rickert is the dean of admissions at Louisiana College School of Law. She will discuss a global overview of the current situation of sex trafficking, labor trafficking, chattel slavery and debt bondage. Michelle earned her law degree at George Mason University School of Law, and is pursuing her Masters of Laws degree at the University of London in Legal Philosophy and Human Rights. She is also currently the Managing Editor of the Supreme Court Economic Review at George Mason University School of Law. She has developed and taught several courses on human trafficking, advocated at state and national levels, written laws that have passed in Virginia and has written laws that are before the current Louisiana legislature.

Other speakers will include Jessica Mannon representing PureJUSTICE, a ministry of PureHOPE that seeks to create a world free of sexual exploitation and brokenness. Mannon will discuss what God says about justice, how trafficking and exploitation relates to the modern Christian community, the connection between pornography and trafficking and how to embrace righteousness to see justice poured out in society.

Norma Mullican of Refuge of Light will discuss aftercare issues associated with the physical, mental and spiritual healing of teenage girls who have been victimized in the "sex trafficking" trade in East Texas. Refuge of Light is a nonprofit organization that seeks to establish a long-term safe house in East Texas.

Symposium attendees will be offered steps for involvement and engagement to fight this local and global issue.

LeTourneau University is an interdenominational Christ-centered university located in Longview, Texas, offering academic majors in aviation, business, criminal justice, education, engineering, health science-nursing, human services, liberal arts, science and psychology. LeTourneau University also offers graduate degrees in business administration, counseling, education, engineering, psychology and strategic leadership. In addition to its residential campus in Longview, the university offers undergraduate and graduate programs online and at educational centers in Athens, Austin, Baytown, Bedford, Dallas, Harlingen, Houston, and Tyler.

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