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October 15, 2013

ISU to welcome health expert on human trafficking

TERRE HAUTE — A world-renowned health expert on human trafficking victims will talk about her experiences at an upcoming presentation at Indiana State University.

Dr. Kathleen Welch, a human rights advocate and global health consultant, will discuss her career path and her work with human trafficking victims during a presentation at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Whitaker Conference Room of University Hall, which houses the Bayh College of Education at Indiana State.

She will discuss her unique experience as a pediatrician who travels the world to educate and train health care providers about supporting victims of human trafficking, said Catherine Tucker, associate professor of counseling, who is organizing Welch’s visit. The event is free.

Welch provides specialized pediatric care in parts of the world where pediatricians are not available, Tucker said.

Welch also has created an initiative, Relentless, a project intended to spread awareness of human trafficking victims’ plight to others, while emphasizing justice through compassionate service, collaboration and emphasizing service to marginalized populations.

Welch’s presentation also will be of interest to health care providers who may be interested in providing support to people in another part of the world, Tucker said.

“It will be good to hear her talk on our campus about she came to that decision (to pursue her life path) and how she thinks her life is more helpful in some ways than it might have been if she had taken a more traditional path,” Tucker said. “I’m hoping the people who listening to her who have thoughts about taking a less traditional path in life will maybe get some inspiration from her and some ideas about how they can be of service to a larger global community.”

Tucker has worked on different initiatives to educate students about complications and issues human trafficking victims endure. She recently traveled with students to Thailand to meet the victims of human trafficking who have worked with Destiny Rescue, a nonprofit that helps children leave the sex trafficking trade.

Through education, Tucker introduces Indiana State students to the ways that they can help people human trafficking victims, as well as people who have gone through similar situations.

“It’s exciting to see students learning about how they can make an impact on a global problem,” Tucker said. “Even though human trafficking is a problem that’s bigger than any one person can eliminate, each person can do something to help improve the situation.”

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