Professor Erika George and 3L Scarlet Smith recently returned from the 2012 Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking in Lincoln, Nebraska. At the conference, sponsored by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the two co-presented a panel titled “It's Just Good Business: How Corporate Social Responsibility Can Combat Child Sex Trafficking.”
“Scarlet gave a spectacular presentation,” George recounts. “She truly did the law school proud. She is doing a directed study with me to work towards expanding her research agenda perhaps into advocacy and a co-authored article or chapter for publication. We hope our work will play a role in raising awareness and ameliorating abuses.”
In the interview below, Smith describes her experiences the conference and how her education at the College of Law prepared her for the opportunity to present at a major interdisciplinary academic conference.
Describe the process that led to you presenting at the conference.
Professor George emailed me the announcement for the conference and I applied. The application process involved writing an abstract of my research (paper) and simply submitting it to the conference. Then I just had to wait to see if my abstract was accepted.
You started your research in Professor George's Corporations and Human Rights Seminar. How was that class applicable? What is your ultimate goal for the research you conducted in that?
My research on child sex trafficking actually began in my undergraduate career at UNLV. However, in Professor George’s Corporations and Human Rights seminar, she suggested that I incorporate that research with corporate social responsibilities. In the seminar, I hoped to just introduce myself to the corporate social responsibility [community] and then explore ways that it may be applied to the problem of child sex trafficking. In the directed study, I am hoping to take the research further, create more awareness through this presentation and (hopefully) a publication.
What was the highlight of participating in the conference?
The entire conference was great! I met so many great people and the best part about this conference was because it was an interdisciplinary conference, so the folks that attended were marketing professors, English teachers, FBI agents, employees from the UN, law professors, students, psychologists, major leaders of federal and state NGOs and non-profits. The different perspectives were critical in the success to the conference. Everyone had a different view or outlook on the problem of human trafficking that made each of our individual efforts more connected and richer.
I really enjoyed meeting James Kofi Annan, an escaped former child slave from Ghana who now rescues children trafficked into the commercial fishing and cocoa industries of West Africa.
Was the conference different than you expected? If so, how?
The only thing that was different than I expected was the other presenters and participants were much more welcoming and open and supportive than I anticipated. It was really an intimate group of thinkers and problem solvers and just all around good people that shared in my vision for combating child sex trafficking in the U.S.
How did your experience at the College of Law prepare you for the conference?
The better question would be how hasn’t the College of Law prepared me for this conference. The law school, including deans, faculty, staff, and students, have instilled in me a real sense of confidence and partnership. Everyone is willing to help and coach me along. The teamwork I feel in the law school made me feel as if I were really representing our school at this conference and it made me want to work harder.