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Villanova University College of Nursing Welcomes Prominent Journalist for Lecture Series Address on Issues of Human Trafficking

E. Benjamin Skinner’s Feb. 25 public lecture, titled “A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern Day Slavery,” is part of the College’s annual Health and Human Values Lecture Series

VILLANOVA, Pa. – The College of Nursing at Villanova University, in partnership with several university organizations, will present renowned journalist E. Benjamin Skinner as the featured speaker in its annual Health and Human Values Lecture Series continuing this month. Skinner’s talk, which is titled after his book, “A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern Day Slavery,” will shed light on his experiences as an undercover investigative journalist infiltrating trafficking networks and slave sales. The lecture will be held at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 25 in the Villanova Room of the Connelly Center on Villanova’s main campus. A book signing will follow the event which is free and open to the public.

Human trafficking, the illegal trade of human beings for sexual or labor exploitation, is often overlooked and underestimated. However, according to the International Organization for Migration, cases of child and adult human trafficking continue to rise globally.

“Human trafficking can be found in all phases of human activity, in both developed and developing countries. Nurses, especially those in emergency rooms, clinics and those who work in community health, are often case finders,” said M. Louise Fitzpatrick, Connelly Endowed Dean and Professor in the College of Nursing. “Mr. Skinner brings an informed and wide ranging perspective on this global problem that can assist those who are attempting to identify and assist the vulnerable victims in areas where we live and practice our professions.”

In his study of American and global political economies, Skinner has witnessed negotiations for the sale of human beings on four continents. His book, A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern Day Slavery, tells the story of individuals who live in slavery, those who have escaped from bondage, those who own or traffic in slaves, and the mixed political motives of those who seek to combat the crime.  Skinner’s articles and investigations have appeared in Newsweek International, Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald, Foreign Policy and ABC’s Nightline.

The Health and Human Values Lecture Series is an annual series of lectures, each of which is based on a theme, such as changing paradigms in health care, global health issues and communicating identity. “A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern Day Slavery” is co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, the College of Liberal Arts and Science, Villanova School of Business, the Center for Peace and Justice Education and Campus Ministry.

In addition to incorporating content on the important issue of human trafficking into its event programming, the College of Nursing also joined together with the Villanova School of Law and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to create a multidisciplinary Human Trafficking course. Students taking the class learn about the health issues of victims, the laws related to human trafficking and the best practices used to respond to the diverse needs of victims.

“The course helps raise awareness of this critical issue for future Villanova nurses and other interested students from different academic disciplines who will be able to go into the community and make a difference in lives impacted by trafficking,” said Nursing professor Linda Copel, PhD, RN, who developed the course in conjunction with Michele Pistone of the Law School and Billie Murray, PhD of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“Mr. Skinner’s lecture will allow our students and the Villanova community to further understand the severity of human trafficking,” added Copel.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.