Schuster Institute organizing U.N. panel discussion on trafficking and modern-day slavery

E. Benjamin Skinner
     E. Benjamin Skinner
Florence Graves
     Florence Graves

The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism is helping organize a panel discussion on the vital role journalists play in exposing trafficking and modern-day slavery as the United Nations marks the 10th anniversary of the U.N. Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime, which included trafficking in people.

The panel, “Hidden in Plain Sight: The Role of the Media in Exposing Human Trafficking,” will be held from 1:15-2:45 p.m. on June 16 at the United Nations General Assembly Hall. Co-sponsors are the Schuster Institute, U.S. Mission to the United Nations, and the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Florence Graves, founding director of the Schuster Institute, will help welcome attendees and introduce Elaine and Gerald Schuster, whose generosity launched the Institute and a new Slavery Project.

"Through my career as an investigative reporter, over the years on issues like economic, political, racial, and gender injustice, I sometimes heard accounts about the brutal, under-covered institution of modern-day slavery and trafficking," Graves said. "The more I looked into it, the more I realized that journalists needed to do much more to investigate and publicize the wrongdoing. That’s why I’m especially gratified that we have the opportunity at the United Nations to address the media’s role in reporting on  this issue—and that we will be able to announce in this international forum that Elaine and Gerald Schuster will be funding a new Institute project that enables us to investigate and report on this compelling issue.”

The panel will include noted officials and journalists who have demonstrated a commitment to sound, ethical journalism on the issue of modern-day slavery.

U.S. Ambassador Luis Cdebaca will deliver the keynote and Lynn Sherr, a former ABC News correspondent and Daily Beast blogger, will moderate.

Panelists include U.N. Under-Secretary-General Antonio Maria Costa of Italy, executive director of UNODC; Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Mike McGraw of the Kansas City Star; E. Benjamin Skinner, a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute and author of "A Crime so Monstrous: Face to Face with Modern-Day Slavery;" and Guy Jacobson, a filmmaker and global activist. Actresses Lucy Liu, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Mira Sorvino, a UNODC Goodwill Ambassador, have also been invited.

“Responsible reporting has played a role in the success of every abolitionist struggle," Skinner said. "Today, as we witness what some are calling 'the last antislavery movement,' journalists are again seeking the facts and revealing the realities of the bondage of our fellow human beings. And I feel privileged to be able to play a part.”

Anyone wishing to attend should contact Millie Meyers at the United Nations via email.

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