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Wichita State to host panel discussion on new human trafficking legislation

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, at 11:30 a.m.
  • Updated Monday, March 3, 2014, at 7:40 a.m.

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Several of the state’s leading authorities on sex trafficking will discuss Monday at Wichita State University about how to further refine efforts to end what they call “modern-day slavery.”

Karen Countryman-Roswurm, executive director of WSU’s Center to Combat Human Trafficking, will moderate a discussion among Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett and Timothy Henderson, presiding judge for the 18th Judicial District Juvenile Division in Sedgwick County. The topic: “How Kansas human trafficking legislation has changed the face of juveniles in justice.”

The roundtable discussion, open to the public, will begin at 6 p.m. at WSU’s CAC Theater on the main campus. Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer and WSU’s vice president for academic affairs, Tony Vizzini, will also speak briefly.

“Our main goal for this discussion is public awareness of the recent legislation and the systemic changes it brought about for victims of human trafficking – and how they can sustain it,” Countryman-Roswurm said.

She, Schmidt and Bennett helped create a new state law that took effect Jan. 1 that redefines child sex workers as victims rather than prostitutes.

Countryman-Roswurm built on this in recent weeks, writing the language for a grant that named the Wichita Children’s Home as an emergency shelter for any trafficking victims identified and found throughout the state.

The Monday gathering is the first in a week-long series of events organized by the Center for Combating Human Trafficking. For more information, go to www.combatinghumantrafficking.org/Events/Events.aspx

Reach Roy Wenzl at 316-268-6219 or rwenzl@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @roywenzl.

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