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White House Visit

URI Women’s Studies Professor Donna Hughes, wearing glasses and a white turtleneck, at right.Donna M. Hughes, professor of women’s studies, was invited to the White House just before Christmas to witness the signing of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.

She met with President George W. Bush and a handful of cabinet members and congressional leaders in the Oval Office. Hughes, a leading international researcher on trafficking of women and children, contributed to the passage of the act as well as to the three bills that preceded it.

“With each act we have advanced the anti-human trafficking movement in the U.S. and around the world,” says the respected researcher and advocate.

Trafficking has an astounding number of victims. Citing data provided by the United Nations, Hughes says about 4 million people are trafficked annually either in their countries or across international borders.

The URI professor adds that of the approximately 15,000 foreign victims trafficked into the U.S. each year, about 70 percent of them are women and children from East Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa.

Hughes says the numbers don’t represent the full scope of the problem because many victims are often fearful or unable to come forward.

To learn more about Hughes’ vital work on this bill go to

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