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Human Trafficking Training and The Gillen-Massey Award Luncheon

February 8, 2024 | 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Venue: The Goldbloom Convocation Hall (Main Library), St. Thomas University


“We cannot rest until trafficking in human persons is eliminated from the globe.”

– Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, Archdiocese of Miami



10am – 12pm Training: The Evolution of Anti-Trafficking Law in the United States

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) established a framework and is considered the first comprehensive federal law to address trafficking in persons. Since its creation, this federal law has looked to address human trafficking domestically and internationally by using a multi-pronged approach: prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnership. Understanding this helps us recognize the type of services, data collection tools, and partnership models that have been developed throughout this time. Furthermore, as the TVPA has been re-authorized multiple times, the goal has been to address new gaps and identifying ways of improving assistance to those that have been victims of this crime. As the TVPA has evolved for over 20 years, it also is important to note and learn about how it has impacted the development of state laws.

This presentation will explore the evolution of the key law to address trafficking in persons in the United States, its impact on state legislation, and gaps that remain in this tool to combat human trafficking. Reviewing all of these elements allows us to highlight the relevance and importance of understanding this law, as it impacts thousands of minors and adults in the United States and worldwide.

Distinguished Panel

Dr. Regina Bernadin

Director of Protection in the Safety, Health and Education Technical Unit 

International Rescue Committee (IRC)

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Cristobal Perez Morales

Director, Law Student Support Services 

Benjamin L. Crump College of Law

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12:15pm – 1pm: Mass, St.Bakhita Day of Prayer and Reflection

Join us for mass  at the Chapel of St. Anthony as we pray for victims and survivors of Human Trafficking. The St. Bakhita International Day of Prayer and Human Trafficking Awareness is an annual event observed on February 8th to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking and advocate for the rights of its victims. The day is named after St. Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese slave who was sold into slavery at a young age and later became a Catholic nun. Her life story serves as an inspiration to many and highlights the importance of promoting human dignity and freedom. Through prayer and education, this day aims to promote a world free from human trafficking and exploitation.


1pm – 3pm: The Gillen-Massey Award Luncheon

The Gillen-Massey Award, annually held on February 8th was established by A Voice in the Wilderness Empowerment Center and The John J. Brunetti Human Trafficking Academy of St. Thomas University Benjamin L. Crump College of Law. Annually, the award is presented to deserving journalists, survivors, educators, service providers, legal professionals and advocates of any field combatting human trafficking throughout the world in honor and remembrance of the Award’s namesakes: Michele Gillen and Kyla Massey.


2024 Award Recipients

Marcela Loaiza Foundation
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Jessica Kahn Obenauf, Esq,

Deputy Chief Assistant United States Attorney

United States Attorney Office, Southern District of Florida

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February 8, 2024
10:00 am - 3:00 pm


St. Thomas University Goldbloom Convocation Hall (Main Library)
16401 NW 37th Ave.
Miami, FL 33054 United States
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