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Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking speaks at Lodi Temple Baptist Church

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Kay Buck, executive director of Los Angeles-based Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking, speaks at a "Stop Human Trafficking" workshop held at Lodi's Temple Baptist Church on Saturday. The workshop was co-sponsored by CAST, the Women's Center of San Joaquin County; Soroptimist International of Lodi; Lodi Sunrise Rotary; and the Lodi branches of the Salvation Army, Professional Women's Foundation and American Association for University Women. More than 150 people attended the workshop. Former Lodi Mayor Susan Hitchcock provided the introductions and closing addresses to the event. The mission of CAST is to assist persons trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual slavery and to prevent future abuses through legislation and market economics. Local workshops are intended to enlighten the public, promote victims' advocacy and draw the community to action. "While (human trafficking) is a worldwide phenomenon," said Buck, "it exists in our own backyard." According to Buck, California has among the highest rates of slavery in the U.S. today. This includes forced farm labor, domestic work, industrial production and sexual slavery. While the majority of trafficked people in the U.S. are Mexican and Filipino nationals, "our shelter program looks like the United Nations," she said. Buck said California, having the world's 10th largest economy, could play a major role in fighting human trafficking, including monitoring world supply chains and local retail suppliers.

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