Human trafficking forum met Sunday

Kirsten Buchanan

The Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition, in collaboration with local youth, hosted the 2012 Forum on Freedom. The event was Sunday, Jan. 22 from 2-4 p.m. in the Columbia Public Library Friends Room, 100 W. Broadway.
Senior Alaina Battaglia, one of the organizers of the event, said the forum was geared toward a teenage audience and will help raise awareness about human trafficking in the younger generation. In doing this, it will provide opportunities for youth to help stop human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is the number one global issue in our world today, along with world hunger and poverty,” Battaglia said. “It’s right up there with those, so it’s kind of a big deal, but it flies under the radar and a lot of people, especially youth, don’t know about it. [The forum] will show [teens] exactly what they can do as a high school [student] to effect this issue.”

Battaglia believes this small forum is a crucial step in stopping human trafficking, a topic she said she values because no one deserves to be considered a slave, and all should, instead ,be treated respectfully.

“It’s my goal to see human trafficking abolished in our lifetime. I think that’s something that we can do, and that’s something that we should strive to do,” Battaglia said. “I think that it’s important that our generation looks this up and really tries to take hold of this issue.”
Updated 1/23/2012
additional reporting by Mike Presberg