PENSACOLA- The University of West Florida wraps up its John C. Pace Jr. Symposium Series with “Girl for Sale: From Exploited to Empowered” presented by special guest Carissa Phelps on April 24 at 6 p.m. in the UWF Commons Auditorium. This event is free and open to the public.
Before she was an attorney, author and advocate, Carissa Phelps first became a survivor of domestic minor sex trafficking. Carissa understands the challenges children face after being neglected and sexually exploited because she lived them firsthand.
Although Carissa stopped attending school at the age of 12, she ultimately spent over a decade furthering her education. Her credentials include a BA in mathematics summa cum laude from Fresno State, a Juris Doctorate from UCLA School of Law, and an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management. In 2010, she was named one of the top 100 inspirational graduates at UCLA Anderson, in a ceremony marking the school’s 75th anniversary.
Carissa’s personal accomplishments, as well as her faith, have given her the courage to expose and respond to domestic minor sex trafficking in the United States. Together with partners around the world, she is part of a global network to connect resources and assist local and international survivors in rebuilding their lives. Carissa mentors young survivors who have experienced sexual exploitation. In addition, she is building a searchable database to connect survivors and their mentors to resources around the world. Her mission is to assist those who wish to prevent and respond to child trafficking.
In 2008, Carissa’s amazing juvy-to-justice story was told in an award winning documentary. Her voice continues to inspire in various films including the journalist project Sex and Money, A National Search for Human Worth. Carissa’s passion has been shared with thousands at conferences, small meeting rooms, and coalitions to end trafficking. While her story inspires and brings hope to a movement that can appear to be frustrating and without a solution, her command of resources, networks, business, and the law supports local efforts to protect and care for children in their community. Her memoir, Escaping Life on the Streets One Helping Hand at a Time, is due out in July 2012.
The John C. Pace Jr. Symposium Series is designed to bring distinguished scholars, artists and leaders to Pensacola for lectures, performances and a variety of interactions with faculty, students, staff and the public. For more information, contact the Office of Diversity and International Education and Programs at (850) 474-2479 or visit http://uwf.edu/diversity/symposium.cfm.