Lisle, Illinois ~ Today, more than 27 million people are lured, threatened or forced into human trafficking or modern-day slavery, according to Free the Slaves Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending slavery worldwide.
That statistic underscores the United States’ involvement in combating what’s described as the third-largest illicit trade following drugs and weapons, and has led to numerous international laws and sanctions in an attempt to put an end to the practice.
Rhacel Parreñas, chair of the Department of Sociology and professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California, will examine the issues surrounding human trafficking and migrant women at 7:00 p.m. on November 7 in the Tellabs Lecture Hall, located in Room 112 of the Birck Hall of Science at Benedictine University. Her presentation, “The Legal Servitude of Migrant Domestic Workers,” which kicks off International Education Week at Benedictine, is free and open to the public.
“The Legal Servitude of Migrant Domestic Workers” draws from Parreñas’ current research comparing the bonded servitude of migrant women workers in Denmark, the United States and the Middle East.
Bonded servitude refers to a situation in which traffickers or employers abuse contracts or subject employees to hazardous conditions. Victims may also be unlawfully exploited through an outstanding debt they may “owe” their employers as a condition of employment. These abuses can be found in brothels, factories, mines, farms, restaurants, construction sites and private homes.
Parreñas’ work predominantly focuses on women’s labor and migration in economic globalization, and her previous research has been featured in various news media outlets including NPR, Bloomberg News, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Parreñas worked as a hostess in a nightclub for nine months to gather material for her award-winning book, “Illicit Flirtations: Labor, Migration and Sex Trafficking in Tokyo.” Her research involved interviewing Filipina hostesses working in Japan. Her book, which details the experiences of the hostesses, won the Distinguished Book Award in the Labor and Labor Movements section of the American Sociological Association.
While trafficking is often perceived as an international issue, there have been recently publicized examples of its presence in America and even within the Chicago area.
International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Departments of State and Education to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and participate in exchange experiences in the United States.
At Benedictine, it is also an opportunity for students and faculty members to examine and discuss human rights issues of local and global importance.
A screening of “Harvest of Empire,” the award-winning documentary about immigration reform and the historical events that have influenced Latin American immigration to the United States, will be held at 6:00 p.m. Monday, November 11 at the House of Benedict in the Founders’ Woods Apartment complex.
In addition to the lecture and documentary screening, the University will be holding an art contest, study abroad fair, Libyan cultural event and international buffet throughout November 7-15.
Benedictine University students come from 50 states and 17 foreign countries and represent diverse ethnic and religious groups including Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and Hindus.
Each year, Benedictine students travel to more than 30 countries through the University’s Office of International Programs and Services, and international students from numerous countries visit Benedictine to further their education.
Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 55 undergraduate majors and 17 graduate and four doctoral programs. Benedictine University is ranked No. 1 among the country’s fastest-growing campuses between 2000-2010 in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of private nonprofit research institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among “America’s Top Colleges” for the third consecutive year in 2013. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fifth largest in the Chicago area in 2013.