Vanguard University and the Orange County Department of Education are once again collaborating to present a two-day hybrid conference on human trafficking.
Hosted by Vanguard’s Global Center for Women and Justice at the university’s Costa Mesa campus, Ensure Justice 2024 will take place on March 1 and March 2, convening experts, survivors, law enforcement representatives, educators and community leaders to discuss human trafficking trends, challenges and solutions.
“Keeping Our Children Safe Online” will be the theme of the conference, which will feature in-person presentations and some select virtual sessions, making it accessible to attendees from Orange County and beyond. Students, parents, educators, social workers, service providers, law enforcement representatives, community members and others are encouraged to register in advance at www.gcwj.org/ensurejustice.
“From local reports right here in our own backyard to national congressional hearings, it is urgent to strengthen our strategies to protect our children and our youth,” said Dr. Sandra Morgan, director of the Global Center for Women and Justice. “When we taught our children to cross a street safely, there were stop signs, flashing signals and red lights. We invite you to join us to learn what is already happening at a local, national and international level. The internet has no borders.”
Ensure Justice 2024 will focus specifically on cyber safety, offering strategies to ensure the health and safety of children engaging with online content.
The keynote speaker will be Ezequiel Escobar Bellshaw, an attorney and executive director of Fiet Gratia, an organization based in Madrid, Spain that specializes in intervention and comprehensive assistance to victims of human trafficking.
Other featured presenters include:
Corrine St. Thomas Stowers, supervising tactical intelligence analyst assigned to the Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center
Celina Gasparian, special agent for Homeland Security and criminal investigator for online sexual exploitation of children
Dr. Kristen Hughes, pediatrician
Lisa Murdock, acute care nurse and co-founder of ReVEST Medical Experts
Dr. Alex Lin, chair and an assistant professor with Vanguard University’s Liberal Studies Department
Tina Bigdeli, senior program manager of outreach with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Kendra-Tankersley-Davis, adjunct professor at Vanguard University and vice president of external affairs for Crittenton Services for Children and Families
Jeremy Davis, assistant superintendent of innovation and instructional support for the Fullerton School District
Miss Katie, social media influencer
As co-sponsor of the conference, OCDE will provide additional speakers with expertise on the challenges facing students.
“OCDE is proud to team up with Vanguard University for Ensure Justice 2024, a forum aimed at closely examining human trafficking, including its causes, warning signs and the collaborative steps necessary to combat it,” OCDE Deputy Superintendent Dr. Ramon Miramontes said. “By bringing together educators, law enforcement and community leaders, this conference will foster an exchange of meaningful insights and cultivate strategies to help ensure every child gets to grow up in a safe and nurturing environment.”
Vanguard’s Global Center for Women and Justice is a nonprofit that focuses on the prevention of human trafficking with interdisciplinary studies programs, integrated research, victim-survivor advocacy and education on issues impacting vulnerable and at-risk populations. Founded in 2003, the organization is celebrating its 21st year.