Colleges Host Program on the Underground World of Sex Trafficking of Women and Children
ALBANY (January 27, 2016) — The College of Saint Rose and Siena College will jointly present “Two Women’s Stories: The Long Journey from Drugs and Prostitution to Healing and New Life” to shed light on the horrendous world of child trafficking.
The program, part of Women Rising Week, will be held Wednesday, February 10, in The College of Saint Rose Hubbard Interfaith Sanctuary, 959 Madison Ave., Albany, and Thursday, February 11, at Siena College, Sarazen Student Union, 515 Loudon Road, Loudonville. Both programs begin at 6 p.m. and are free and open to the public.
Edwina Gateley, an internationally known leader in the fight against human trafficking, and Brenda Myers-Powell, a Chicago native who escaped the world of abuse and prostitution as a young adult, will provide insight into the underground world of sex trafficking and will speak about their personal experiences and advocacy work.
The start of each evening will include several students from Bethlehem High School portraying the plight of different victims of human trafficking, including a child soldier, a prostitute and an indentured servant.
According to the FBI, there are an estimated 300,000 child prostitutes in the U.S. and the number is growing.
Local organizations including Eyes Wide Open NENY, Patty’s Place, YWCA, Albany Law Women’s Law Caucus and the Anti-Human Trafficking Pro Bono Project, Albany County Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center, The Legal Project, Equinox, Sexual Assault and Crime Victims Assistance Program at Samaritan Hospital and Safe Inc. of Schenectady will be present at each event to provide information about how to assist and support trafficked women and children.
Born in Lancaster, England, Gateley moved to Chicago as an adult, where she earned her master’s degree in theology from the Catholic Theological Union. After graduation, she lived for nine months in prayer and solitude in a hermitage in Illinois and spent more than a year on the streets of Chicago walking with the homeless and women involved in prostitution. Today, Gateley writes, speaks and leads nationwide retreats about her experiences.
At the age of 14, Myers-Powell became a product of human trafficking. She experienced physical, mental and sexual abuse during her 25 years as a prostitute.
The women’s paths crossed in 1997 after Myers-Powell went to the Genesis House in order to escape prostitution. The Genesis House, founded by Gateley, is a house of hospitality and nurturing for women involved with prostitution. After 18 months at the Genesis House, Myers-Powell left and began to rebuild her life.
In 2008, Myers-Powell co-founded, with Stephanie Daniels-Wilson, The Dreamcatcher Foundation to prevent sexual exploitation among at-risk youth and instill within them the confidence and stability to get back out into the world. As a survivor of abuse, drugs and prostitution, Myers-Powell provides perspective for women to reach new levels of accomplishments for their future.