EDISON — The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison will present a symposium on Human Trafficking for its high school students on March 11. Several special guests and expert presenters will appear to address key issues in this compelling, global topic.
State Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa will headline the program with a keynote address at 10:15 a.m. in the school’s All-Purpose Room. Chiesa served as Chief Counsel to Gov. Chris Christie from January 2010 through December 2011, when he was nominated to be New Jersey Attorney General. During a previous stint working in the U.S. Attorney’s office from 2002-2009, Chiesa supervised a group of Assistant U.S. attorneys primarily responsible for the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases involving bank robbery, child pornography, human trafficking and identity theft.
Students in grades 9-12 will rotate through four breakout sessions in the morning. Liberate the Chains, a student group led by Wardlaw-Hartridge junior Divya Mehta of Edison, will participate in some of these sessions. Liberate the Chains is dedicated to raising awareness and helping fuel global work to investigate human trafficking and create new futures for survivors.
Breakout sessions consist of:
- End Trafficking Project: Jennifer Chan, Program Officer for US Fund for UNICEF
- New Jersey Sharing Network: Joseph Roth, President and Chief Executive Officer; Elisse Glennon, Executive Director
- Road to REBBL Campaign: NotForSale Organization
- Committee for Teaching about the United Nations: Featured Poster Presentations by Judith Kim, School of Visual Arts and Moujan Shirazi-Moayed, Fordham Law School
After lunch, the program will continue with two presentations and a documentary film. Natalie Jesionka, a lecturer, reporter and human rights activist, will Skype from Istanbul, Turkey to share details of her work in Thailand and show the trailer of her upcoming documentary, “Selling Our Daughters.” Students also will view the short documentary film Not My Life. The program will end with Malika Quemerais, manager of Music and Celebrity Talent at MTV Networks, making a presentation called End Exploitation and Human Trafficking.
“Overall, our goals for the community are threefold: to educate and raise awareness about an important issue in general; to increase student understanding, perhaps create empathy, about the issue; and convince students to take some, even minor, action to combat human trafficking,” said Susan Ritter, Wardlaw-Hartridge Director of Global Learning and Symposium Committee chairperson.