Human Rights Day presentation to focus on human trafficking


December 04, 2020

Human Rights Day presentation to focus on human trafficking

CARBONDALE, Ill. – A virtual presentation next week to commemorate the adoption of a Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly more than seven decades ago will examine human trafficking.

The virtual presentation Human Trafficking: Realities, Solutions and Strategies is sponsored by the United Nations Association USA, Southern Illinois Chapter. The event is at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10. In addition, Laurie Ryznyk, a professor and associate program director of the SIU School of Medicine’s Physician Assistant (PA) program, will receive the 2020 Human Rights Day Award for her work on issues of human trafficking.

The virtual event is free and open to the public by registering via Zoom or via the Carbondale Public Library’s programs page or the program’s Facebook page.

Tim Mehta, a Master of Architecture student at SIU Carbondale, will provide the virtual presentation. Prior to returning to school to pursue his architectural degree, Mehta spent time in India, where he learned about various rehabilitation programs for sex trafficking victims, said Elaine Jurkowski, a social work professor at SIU. Mehta’s master’s thesis project is based on the development of a housing community designed to help the victims with their rehabilitation, she said.

Ryznyk has been teaching PA and medical students about human trafficking for several years and presented about human trafficking victims and medical evaluations at state and national conferences, Jurkowski said. She is a member of the Southern Illinois Trafficking Coalition called TORCH and has cared for patients who are victims and survivors of human trafficking in her family medicine practice. Ryznyk focuses on the health care system, health care issues and long-term physical and mental health effects of human trafficking, according to Jurkowski.

Human Rights Day, which is on Dec. 10, commemorates the day in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Other event sponsors are the SIU School of Social Work, the U.N. Association and Model U.N. registered student organizations at SIU, and the SIU chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

For more information on the program, contact Pamela Umlauf-Brown, president, United Nations Association USA, Southern Illinois Chapter, at 618-549-8051 or, or Jurkowski at


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