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Conversation to explore our roles in ending modern slavery

The half-day FREEDOM, HERE + NOW event we co-hosted with the Women's Foundation of Minnesota on May 8th, was both a tough reality check and a hopeful call to cross-sector, collective action. Over 300 individuals joined us at the Ted Mann auditorium here at the University of Minnesota to hear from business leader Marilyn Carlson Nelson, U.S. State Department Ambassador Luis CdeBaca and a number of other business, government and nonprofit leaders.

In case you missed it or would like to share the day with others, we captured the day in video clips here. What follows is a 10-minute video of highlights from that day:

A team of individuals we gathered prior to the event encouraged us to offer participants a post-event conversation. As we've talked about on this blog before, meaningful conversation can be a valuable tool for addressing complex issues.

This led to a conversation we hosted Monday night with the help of Lori Lindgren Voit founder of Growing World Wellness. Twenty-two individuals from a variety of personal and professional perspectives joined us as we transitioned our focus from global to domestic trafficking, screening a couple short documentaries including What I've been through is not who I am, produced by ECPAT-USA and WITNESS, and one produced by MISSSEY, a victim-support organization out of Oakland, California.

In the first round of small group conversations, participants shared what surprised them from the documentaries and their experience working on this issue. In the second round, participants shared what they could do in their spheres of influence to support survivors and decrease demand. We then encouraged individuals to share an action they would take or a question they would continue to wrestle with after they left the room. As with any societal grand challenge (also referred to as "wicked problem" or "social mess"), the variety of questions shared captured the complexity of this issue.

We plan to co-host another conversation with the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center in North Minneapolis in September on the nature of sex trafficking and trading on an even more local scale. UROC has been very effective in partnering with the neighborhood to explore the nature of this issue in their community.

If you were unable to make the conversation but are interested in being a part of the conversation, we encourage you to check out the resources, discussion, and videos in the online forum at: http://www.incommons.org/freedomnow

Also, stay tuned for more info on the September conversation!

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