Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

DU hosts human trafficking forum

David Arkless, a human trafficking expert and president of corporate and government affairs for Manpower Inc., wants to launch a global coalition to fight human trafficking. Arkless made the announcement to a group of DU faculty and students, business people and government representatives gathered for a human trafficking forum at DU’s Phipps Mansion March 19.

Arkless wants academics to help find the top 150 civic groups, corporations and change agents that have an interest in stopping human trafficking to find this group. He has teamed up with Claude d’Estree, director of DU’s Center on Rights Development and chair of the Task Force on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking at the Josef Korbel School for International Studies.

“The problem of human trafficking and forced labor cuts across all our academic discipline and business interests,” said d’Estree. “This has the possibility of becoming a very important worldwide initiative centered in Denver.”

Arkless says Manpower Inc.— the largest employment agency in the world— has been working for six years to end human trafficking because its employees wanted the company to protect disadvantaged workers globally. In his position with Manpower, he travels the world to help countries develop their labor market strategies and campaigns for the end of human trafficking.

“I am here today to horrify you and mobilize you to want to do something about this,” he told the audience.

Arkless shared several stories about people who were educated, skilled workers yet found themselves in forced labor situations. They often were at the mercy of criminal gangs who took their identification until the worker paid off a “debt.” The gangs also would take 75 percent of the workers’ wages or force women into sexual slavery.

Arkless says he hopes people like d’Estree and the other members of the global coalition can become magnets for change.

“We need the knowledge of academia and research,” he said. “I need that intellectual property to show world what is happening and how to make it right.”

Comments are closed.