The FREE Network Makes Global Connections!

The FREE Network was excited to participate in the 3rd SAFE Global Conference on Human Trafficking from September 2-5th in Chicago, Ill. The conference served as a venue to gain more knowledge on how communities worldwide are addressing human trafficking, how they support victims and survivors, and what other governments are doing in addressing this global crime. Making connections across transnational boundaries and cultures was an enriching experience. The breakout sessions covered many topics including global trends, law enforcement, community development, and the role of technology. 

Keynote speakers included the Honorable Zoe Bakoko Bakoru, former Minster of Gender, Labor, and Social Development of Uganda. Joanna Gutierrez Winters, President and Chair of the FREE Network had an opportunity to sit down with the Hon. Bakoko Bakoru and hear about the challenges of addressing human trafficking in Uganda and in the many African Nations plagued with this crime. The Hon. Bakoko Bakoru also shared her role and journey as Minister of Uganda and the innovative ways she sought to address this crime in her country. Other participants included, USF’s Triumph Over Trafficking (TOT) and Lutheran Services of Florida, both members of The FREE Network. The Hon. Bakoko Bakoru will be the key note speaker at TOT’s Anti-Human Trafficking Symposium here in Tampa at USF on Wed, October 10th. Mark your calendars! 

As an outcome of this conference and meeting with Dr. Kalyani Gopal, CEO of the SAFE Coalition on Human Rights, whose work is primarily focused on addressing human trafficking worldwide, Joanna signed an MOU between the FREE Network and the SAFE Coalition to work together in furthering anti-human trafficking efforts worldwide. Even we can impact a worldwide effort from the work we are doing right here in Tampa Bay!