Human Trafficking Awareness Month to be marked by St. Lawrence County branch of AAUW Jan. 11
Friday, January 9, 2015 - 5:36 pm

 January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, with Jan. 11 set as the federal Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

The St. Lawrence County Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) is supporting the community education efforts of WPBS-TV and others community partners for a month of events and broadcast programming.

AAUW-NYS Public Policy vice president Donna Seymour, Potsdam, who serves on the North Country Task Force, says that human trafficking is a problem right here in St. Lawrence County.

“Whether it takes the form of human smuggling across the international border, labor exploitation, or sexual slavery and prostitution, we are not immune from this world-wide scourge,” she said. “It is sobering to realize that there are 21-30 million people in slavery today. This is more than at any time in human history, including the 19th century before slavery was outlawed by the major nations of the world.”

“AAUW-NYS has been educating on this problem for several years. The branches of District 7 appreciate the opportunity to again partner with WPBS for special programming to highlight the problem and find solutions that meet our local needs,” Seymour added.

That programming includes new and repeat broadcasts of local and national productions illuminating the scope and breadth of the issue. In a repeat broadcast of a previous collaboration with AAUW-District 7, WPBS is showing a 30-minute panel discussion, Turning Oppression into Opportunity, Jan. 17 at 4 p.m. and again Jan. 27 at 11:30 p.m.

Shown at 5 p.m. on Jan 17, the Half the Sky film presents women and girls who are living under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable -- and fighting bravely to change them. Their intimate, dramatic and immediate stories of struggle reflect viable and sustainable options for empowerment and offer an actionable blueprint for transformation.

On Jan. 17 at 4:30 p.m. and Jan. 26 at 11:30 p.m, WPBS is showing Too Close to Home. Behind the world-famous beaches, tourist attractions and sunny suburbs lies an alarming secret: Tampa Bay is a hotbed for human trafficking. Men, women and children are forced against their will to serve in the sex trade, domestic servitude and agricultural industries. They are bought, sold and discarded in the community, making Florida the third ranked state in the nation for this fast growing crime.

WPBS will showcase a new local production of Public Eye with Jeff Cole focused on Human Trafficking. The public is invited to be part of a live studio audience Jan. 15. The Public Eye Special Edition will feature a panel discussion before a live studio audience at 6 p.m. This is cosponsored with the branches of AAUW-District 7 and will be followed by a reception at the WPBS Studio in Watertown.

You can view this WPBS Public Eye program on Jan. 19 at 10 p.m. and again Jan. 25 at 8 a.m..

The month of special programming concludes on Mon., Jan. 26 at 10 pm with A Path Appears. Join New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristoff, Ashley Judd, Blake Lively and Malin Ackerman as they meet activists fighting sex trafficking in the U.S. This three-part documentary investigates young women in America and throughout the world forced into a life of prostitution and the innovative programs that have evolved to empower them to lead more fulfilling lives.

In addition to WPBS, you can also watch two previous editions of North Country Matters, the local public affairs program produced at WCKN. The Human Wrong Campaign is a discussion of human trafficking and what can be done by college students with SUNY Canton’s Sabel Bong and SUNY Potsdam’s David Bugg. Watch it at

In 2014, Human Trafficking in the North Country, Sabel Bong and David Bugg gave a presentation on the scope and character of Human Trafficking in Potsdam. This program was jointly sponsored by AAUW-St. Lawrence County and the League of Women Voters of SLC. See it at

For more information, contact President Betty Connolly at 386-7013 or [email protected].