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Global leader in fight against human trafficking to Visit Deering

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Global leader in fight against human trafficking to Visit Deering
Posted on 03/13/2015
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Ruchira Gupta, a global leader in the fight against human trafficking, will speak with Deering High School students about her work on Monday, March 16.

Gupta is founder and president of Apne Aap Women Worldwide, a grassroots organization in India working to end sex trafficking by increasing choices for at-risk girls and women. She has worked throughout her 25-year career to highlight the link between trafficking and prostitution laws and to lobby policy makers to shift blame from victims to perpetrators.

Gupta is in Maine to deliver the University of Maine School of Law’s fourth annual Justice for Women Lecture on Wednesday, March 19, at 7 p.m. at the Abromson Community Education Center.

Gupta’s March 16 visit at Deering will begin at 8 a.m.  in the school library with a reception and round table exchange led by students. At 9:30 a.m., in the DHS auditorium, Gupta will be presented with a key to the city of Portland by Mayor Michael Brennan and she’ll participate in a panel discussion led by Allison Tozier from the University of Maine School of Law.

The trafficking of human beings around the globe is one of the largest illegal markets, along with weapons and drugs. Gupta will speak to students about its causes, how she has dedicated her life to combat it and what the public can do to help.

Deering High School has joined the International Studies Schools Network to prepare students to be college- and career-ready and globally competent in an increasingly complex world.  Deering students investigate the world through interdisciplinary projects, recognize perspectives, communicate their ideas and take action.

The changes at Deering are part of Pathways to Success, an initiative to remodel the Portland Public Schools for the needs and demands of 21st century life.  The work is being supported by a multiyear grant from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.

Gupta is the featured speaker of the University of Maine School of Law’s 2015 Justice for Women Lecture Series.

Prior to founding Apne Aap, Ms. Gupta worked for a decade at the United Nations in various capacities. She serves as a board member of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and on the advisory councils of the Polaris Project, Vital Voices, Ricky Martin Foundation, Asia Society, Nomi Network, and Cents for Relief.

Ms. Gupta has testified before the United States Senate, addressed the U.N. General Assembly, and designed and taught courses about human trafficking at the New York University Center for Global Affairs. She earned the Abolitionist Award at the U.K. House of Lords in 2007 and the Clinton Global Citizen Award in 2009. She also won an Emmy Award in 1997 for her work on the documentary “The Selling of Innocents.”

The Justice for Women Lecture Series brings a distinguished speaker to Maine annually to present a public lecture and to contribute to a global conversation about justice for women and girls. Past annual lecturers were the Honorable Unity Dow of Botswana in 2012, Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee of Liberia in 2013, and Dr. Sima Samar of Afghanistan in 2014.