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Photo of Organizers and Speakers - Sharan Dhanoa, Karen Peterson-Iyer (STOP-HT), Smarita Sengupta, Alyssa Newman, Janet Giddings (STOP-HT), Tanya Monsef, Teresia Hinga (STOP-HT)

Photo of Organizers and Speakers - Sharan Dhanoa, Karen Peterson-Iyer (STOP-HT), Smarita Sengupta, Alyssa Newman, Janet Giddings (STOP-HT), Tanya Monsef, Teresia Hinga (STOP-HT)

Confronting Modern Slavery: SCU Global Fellows and STOP-HT’s Anti-Trafficking Event

The fight against human trafficking and modern slavery took a front seat on Tuesday, November 5, in Lucas Hall. There, a packed room of students, faculty, staff, Catholic diocesan and community members gathered to hear Smarita Sengupta, founder of Destiny Reflection in Kolkata, India, present and answer questions about human trafficking. In her presentation, “Breaking the Chains of Modern Slavery: From Human Trafficking to Economic Empowerment,” Sengupta offered an overview of the global dimensions of the issue and described her specific work to rehabilitate trafficking survivors, many of whom were trafficked into brothels from very young ages. Sengupta explained how her background in social work has enabled her to understand the systemic ways that trafficking survivors are hindered by poor education and mental health. Destiny thus supports them at all levels, including offering employment in a creative production company set up as a “next step” to help them realize their potential. Profits are then utilized for other projects specifically focused on the empowerment of women and girls.

Introducing Sengupta was SCU graduate Alyssa Newman, a former SCU Global Fellow who worked abroad at Destiny while a student at Santa Clara. Newman spoke briefly about the life-changing nature of her experience in India, working with Sengupta and learning about human trafficking first-hand. Sengupta was also joined in discussion by Sharan Dhanoa, of the South Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking. Dhanoa, a graduate of SCU’s law school, also formerly worked at Destiny and has since won numerous regional awards for her advocacy work against human trafficking. She is a regular guest speaker in the Religious Studies Department’s TESP 108, “Human Trafficking and Christian Ethics.”

The event was co-sponsored by the SCU Global Fellows Program, STOP-HT, and the SCU Religious Studies Department. Attendees included many SCU students from Religious Studies courses who expressed an interest in learning more about human trafficking.

Photo of Organizers and Speakers: Sharan Dhanoa, Karen Peterson-Iyer (STOP-HT), Smarita Sengupta, Alyssa Newman, Janet Giddings (STOP-HT), Tanya Monsef, Teresia Hinga (STOP-HT)