Why Conference to discuss issues women face – June 8, 2009

SYDNEY – Issues around the victimization of women and children by society, the criminal justice system and the media will be discussed at an upcoming conference at Cape Breton University.
Hosted by the Cape Breton Interagency on Family Violence, the conference takes place Wednesday and Thursday at the Royal Bank Theatre at CBU.
Helen Morrison, chair of the interagency said issues to be discussed could surprise some people, particularly presentations on domestic and international human trafficking
"One of the things that Nova Scotia has found is that human trafficking is something that is alive and well in Nova Scotia," said Morrison, about the phenomenon that is seeing young women lured into prostitution and shipped off to other areas of Canada.
Even more alarming is that areas around the world with high instances of human trafficking are often port cities, especially container port cities.
"We are supposed to be getting a container port here, I thought, 'How interesting. Is that something that is going to its rear ugly head here?'"
The opening day of the conference will also feature a session with Elizabeth Marshall regarding the changing role of women in First Nations communities.
Later that day the Nova Scotia Status of Women will discuss its statistical overview of sexual assault in Nova Scotia.
"There are some really impactful numbers there in regards to sexual assault in Nova Scotia. In Cape Breton, our numbers are really high, but the numbers for convictions are really low."
The second day is highlighted by keynote speaker Brian Vallee, a journalist, author and producer best known for his book, Life With Billy.
The book later became a television documentary, which will be shown during his segment.
"He has a new book out called the War On Women which challenges the justice system and society on the treatment of women."
Morrison said the conference will be of interest to all agencies and people who work with women as victims.
However, the general public is also encouraged to attend.
"I really don't want people to miss this. There is a cost for the two days, but we do have free seats available. If you want to come and can't afford the $50, then just come. It is just really important people experience Brian Vallee and the others as well."
Call 563-5173 for more details.

gmcneil@cbpost.com

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