STU President Commends Governor’s House Bills

Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale joined Governor Rick Scott’s legislative and judicial teams, advocates and victims at the Governor’s press conference today on House Bills 989 and 7141, that  increase prosecution of human trafficking criminals and increase resources for survivors. As the scourge of human trafficking has hit Florida to the point that children have been sexually exploited, public, non-profit and private coalitions -backed by state legislature-  need to expand efforts to prosecute criminals and rehabilitate victims. 

Throughout the years, St. Thomas University’s School of Law has consistently played a pivotal role in academia, advocacy efforts, and governmental collaboration through its Intercultural Human Rights Program, Human Trafficking Academy, and contributions to international symposia led by the program’s Executive Director Roza Pati, senior faculty member and Director of the Program Siegfried Wiessner, and Monsignor Casale. The St. Thomas University President first convened a first workshop on this topic in 2004, which led to the formulation of a globally influential document. The Miami Declaration of Principles on Human Trafficking, a consensus formulation of policies drawn up by global experts at St. Thomas University on February 10, 2005, was designed to combat human trafficking from a victim-oriented perspective.  “We are proud to have contributed to the fight against modern day slavery with our Miami Declaration of Principles on Human Trafficking, which is internationally known and has already had its distinct impact in Florida,” said Monsignor Casale. “We have presented the Declaration in an intergovernmental OSCE meeting; have set up teaching modules referring to it; scholars and law reviews have made reference to it; and it has rapidly been communicated globally through media, foreign government collaborations, NGO websites and all sorts of electronic communications.”

In addition to participating in global symposia, Msgr. Casale has testified on human trafficking before the U.S. House of Representatives and suggested policy changes with great impact.  He has organized and keynoted conferences in Rome and with the Vatican as well as in various other countries, such as Colombia and Canada.  Leading an interdisciplinary workshop in Siena, Italy, he has helped develop the 2013 Siena Principles on Human Trafficking and Public Health. 

As experts, both Monsignor Casale and Roza Pati have traveled extensively presenting  on academia’s role -as part of civil society- in combatting human trafficking, as in   “Human Trafficking: The Fight Against Modern Slavery,” held on November 7, 2006, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Invited by the Bicameral Congressional Intelligence Oversight Committee of the Argentinean Congress of the Nation, Pati joined a team of governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental experts on human trafficking coming from various parts of the Western hemisphere and discussing, among other topics, the new draft law on human trafficking presented to the Congress of Argentina. 

We are proud of our Intercultural Human Rights Program, which has become a major center of research in the advancement of legal thought to further human dignity. St. Thomas University will  continue to address the global affront that human trafficking represents and looks forward to joining the Governor’s initiatives in this struggle and to STU scholars continuing their fruitful collaborations.