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Lecture to focus on eliminating child sex slavery

March 02, 2010

Linda Smith, president and founder of Shared Hope International, will present a lecture titled "Eradicating Child Sex Slavery: The Vision of Shared Hope International," at noon, March 5, in the Great Hall of Armstrong Hall at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

The lecture is hosted by the College of Law's Center for Law and Global Affairs. For free tickets, go to

"This important event inaugurates the College's new program to study and combat all forms of human trafficking," said Dean Paul Schiff Berman. "Unfortunately, Phoenix is a national hub for trafficking, and our program seeks to help law enforcement develop innovative approaches to the problem that meld international and local legal regimes."

Smith began her political career in 1983 as a Washington state legislator. In 1994, she won a write-in campaign for Congress. In the fall of 1998, while still a member of the U.S. Congress, Smith traveled to Falkland Road in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India – one of the worst brothel districts in the world.

The hopeless faces of desperate women and children forced into prostitution compelled Smith to found Shared Hope International, which builds partnerships with local groups to provide homes and shelters where women and children can live without time limit. To build momentum in the international anti-trafficking movement, Smith founded the War Against Trafficking Alliance, which coordinates both regional and international efforts necessary to combat sex trafficking.

Smith will speak about

• her efforts to combat sex trafficking when she was a member of Congress and how that work led her to start Shared Hope International;

• how relevant laws affect, either positively or negatively, the fight against sex trafficking;

• raising awareness and areas for potential involvement.

Smith said the strategy to fight sex trafficking is clear: prevention, prosecutions and protection.

"Prevention includes proper victim identification enhanced by public awareness and training of those who interact with the vulnerable population of domestic minor sex trafficking victims," Smith said. "It is critically important to enact strong legislation that criminalizes traffickers, pimps and buyers while protecting victims.

"Additionally, prosecutions resulting in convictions with appropriate sentences are imperative. Domestic minor sex trafficking victims require protection, including protective safe homes and tailored services that rescue and restore while removing the child from the control of the trafficker and/or pimp."

Smith said that Shared Hope International has outlined federal and state policy recommendations against sex trafficking and urged people to take action by contacting their legislators, congressmen and women, or senators to emphasize the need for these policy changes in order to properly address the crime of sex trafficking.

Judy Nichols,
(480) 727-7895
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law