John Carroll’s Center for Service and Social Action is presenting a lecture by Theresa Flores, author of The Slave Across the Street on Thursday, February 10, 2011, at 7 p.m. in the LSC Conference Room of the D.J. Lombardo Student Center.

Theresa Flores was coerced into sexual servitude when she was 15 years old after she was raped by a classmate and blackmailed with photos of that rape. For two years, Flores was forced to sneak out of her house at night to be raped, abused, drugged, and sold to others by a large, underground sex trafficking business.

She kept this secret life of abuse to herself, fearing for her family’s safety. Flores escaped when her family relocated to Connecticut for her father’s career.

Flores currently lives in Central Ohio. She has been a licensed social worker for almost 20 years and is the Director of Awareness and Training at Gracehaven, a long-term rehabilitation facility providing shelter and security to girls under the age of 18 who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation.

Flores received her master’s degree in counseling education from the University of Dayton as a human development specialist. She is featured by the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Museum in a traveling exhibit titled Invisible Slavery. Flores lectures internationally on human trafficking, multi-cultural and parenting issues.

This lecture will center on human trafficking, or modern-day slavery. It is reported to be the second fastest growing crime in the world and is worth an estimated $32 billion per year, according to the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking.

In December 2010, Gov. Ted Strickland signed into law an anti-human trafficking bill that now makes human trafficking a second-degree felony offense. Ohio joins 43 other states that have already established anti-trafficking measures.

Flores’ lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Raven DeVoll at rdevoll@jcu.edu or 216.397.3076.

Posted on February 8, 2011
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