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Berkeley Talks: Protecting survivors of sex trafficking

Follow Berkeley Talks, a Berkeley News podcast that features lectures and conversations at UC Berkeley. See all Berkeley Talks.

Bernice Yeung, Isabella Gomes and Holly Joshi sit at a long table with microphones in front of them
On Nov. 8, Berkeley Journalism hosted the panel discussion, “Failure to protect: How to help survivors of sex trafficking.” Panelists included (from left): Bernice Yeung, managing editor of Berkeley Journalism’s Investigative Reporting Program and a former ProPublica reporter; Isabella Gomes, a public health journalist and infectious diseases epidemiologist; and Holly Joshi, director of GLIDE’s Center for Social Justice in San Francisco and an expert on gender-based violence prevention and intervention. The conversation was moderated by Nikki Jones, professor and chair of the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies at UC Berkeley.

Berkeley Journalism

In Berkeley Talks episode 187, Bernice Yeung, managing editor of Berkeley Journalism’s Investigative Reporting Program; public health journalist Isabella Gomes; and gender-based violence expert Holly Joshi discuss how sex trafficking can appear invisible if we don’t know where to look, and how doctors, nurses, police officers, hotel operators — all of us — can do more to protect victims and survivors.

“If we’re just looking at sex trafficking as the issue, then it’s a bipartisan issue,” said Joshi, director of the GLIDE’s Center for Social Justice in San Francisco, and a nationally recognized expert on gender-based violence prevention and intervention. “But if we’re really looking at the causes and the historical oppression and the ongoing systemic oppression of women and girls and immigrants and failure to create safe cities for immigrants and anti-Blackness, all of those things equal a failure to protect survivors of sex trafficking.

“So … yes, it’s a bipartisan issue if we’re just talking about sex trafficking legislation, specifically. But we’re not. We’re really talking about American politics and the historic lockout of entire groups of people that is continuing to go on and is creating vulnerable victims in this country.”

This Nov. 8 discussion, co-presented by the Pulitzer Center and Berkeley Journalism, was part of a forum focused on gender. It also included a keynote by New York Times journalist Michelle Goldberg on democracy and authoritarianism in the context of gender, race and identity in the U.S. 

Learn more about the speakers and watch a video of the conversation on Berkeley Journalism’s website.