Shedding Light on Human Trafficking in Central Illinois

Oct 4, 2019

The Center for Prevention of Abuse will host a multistate conference next spring focused on fighting human trafficking. 

The "Light 2020" Conference will be hosted at the Par-A-Dice Hotel and Casino on April 1-2, 2020. 

Carol Merna is the executive director of the Center. She said the Light 2020 Conference is meant to enlighten the community on what they need to know. 

“We want to shine a light on the topic of human trafficking, and also make sure people know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, if they’re willing to participate," Merna said. 

The Center opened its human trafficking division in 2018. Sara Sefried, the director of human trafficking services, said what the Center has seen since opening its new division shows the need for such an event. 

“From our experiences the last year and a half, we’ve come to the realization that our local community cares about this issue and they want to get information on it," Sefried said. 

Eighty-two percent of human trafficking survivors assisted by the Center for Prevention of Abuse come from Central Illinois. 

The conference will include law enforcement, healthcare professionals, and educators. 

The Light 2020 Conference in East Peoria next spring will feature several keynote speakers, including Brad Myles, the CEO of the Polaris Project; Dr. Hanni Stoklosa, the co-founder and executive director of HEAL Trafficking; and Lockey Masionneuve, the authror of "A Girl Raised by Wolves: Survivor of Child Sex Trafficking." 

More information on the conference can be found at the Center's website.