Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking at the University of Nebraska



Opening Public Address: First Annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking

Date of this Version



Video of inaugural speech for First Annual Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking, Centennial Room, Nebraska Union, 1400 R Street, Lincoln, Nebraska, October 29, 2009.
A streaming version of this video is also online at
The "Additional file" (below) is an archived downloadable version.


Kevin Bales, one of the world's leading experts on modern slavery and child prostitution, will open a first-of-its-kind conference at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln focusing on human trafficking.

Bales is the president of Free the Slaves, the U.S.-based sister organization of Anti-Slavery International, and emeritus professor of sociology at Roehampton University in London. He also is the author of the award-winning "Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy."

His speech -- the opening event of UNL's inaugural Interdisciplinary Conference on Human Trafficking -- will take place at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 29 in the Centennial Room at the Nebraska Union, 1400 R St. The speech is free and open to the public.

Bales' book, released in 1999 and revised in 2005, was based on the study of slave-based businesses in five different countries: Thailand, Mauritania, Brazil, India and Pakistan. The Oct. 29-31 conference will be an interactive forum designed for sharing research results, ideas and interests in studying human trafficking and will bring together researchers and government agencies that are nationally and internationally engaged in anti-trafficking efforts. Organizers also hope to find ways to raise public awareness of modern slavery worldwide, from young men forced to work without pay on construction sites and in agricultural labor, young women forced to work without pay as domestic labor or prostitutes, or whole families that are bonded into endless wage slavery in factories and farms.

"Despite the fact that slavery is illegal virtually everywhere in the world, some experts claim that more people are enslaved internationally today than ever before," said Dwayne Ball, UNL associate professor of marketing and one of six faculty organizers of the conference. "Slavery today exists in ... almost every country, including our own. The problem is easy to ignore because it is so hidden."

Governments have become aware of the problem and are taking steps against it, but there is limited knowledge of the scope and nature of the problem and how to attack it. "This conference is, as far as we know, the first that has tried to bring together people from many academic disciplines, as well as government officials, law enforcement, and non-governmental agencies," Ball said.

UNL faculty organizers include Ball; Ron Hampton, marketing; Sriyani Tidball, journalism; Anchalee (Joy) Panigabutra-Roberts, libraries and women and gender studies; Josephine Potuto, law; and Donna Akers, history.

More information on the conference is at (231007 kB)
QuickTime Movie file 231 Mb (1 hr. 20 min)