UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

March 21, 2002
Susan Beasy Latto, Director of Public Relations 218 726-8830
Professor Judith Trolander, Department of History, 218 726-8271

Sheila Wellstone to Speak at UMD March 26
"Confronting Contemporary Slavery"

Sheila Wellstone, women's rights activist and wife of Senator Paul Wellstone, will speak on "Confronting Contemporary Slavery: the International Trafficking of Women and Girls" on Tuesday, March 26 at 7 p.m. in the UMD Kirby Student Center Ballroom. The event is sponsored by the UMD Commission on Women and the Office of the Chancellor. The event is free and the public is invited. A reception will follow.

Sheila Wellstone, working partner and wife of U. S. Senator Paul Wellstone, is nationally recognized for her leadership as a domestic violence advocate. Traveling throughout Minnesota, she has listened to the stories of women, children and men who have experienced abuse, and to the stories of those who are working to end the cycle of violence. It is in hearing these stories of struggle and triumph that Sheila finds her passion for influencing public policy in our nation's capital. Sheila works with her husband to create federal legislation that will help to achieve the goal of violence-free families and communities.

Hearing the heartbreaking stories of women and girls victimized by international trafficking for forced labor and prostitution has inspired Sheila to take action against this horrific crime. Sheila has spoken with women from East Africa, Ukraine, Russian, Moldova and Mexico who have been trafficked to the U.S. and forced into prostitution. Victims of trafficking are often held against their wills, stripped of their identities, subjected to violent abuse and deprived of the wages they earn.

Sheila, together with Senator Wellstone, was instrumental in the creation of The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, the first comprehensive bill to address this growing international problem. The bill aims to prevent trafficking, to strengthen the prosecution of those responsible for trafficking, and to provide protection to those subjected to trafficking.

Sheila praises the work that has been done to protect women and girls, but acknowledges that we have a lot of work yet to do. She is committed to continuing this vital work and to doing her part to end the cycle of violence and exploitation that affects women here at home as well as across the globe.


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