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Whitworth to host Mabel Elsom for March 12 lecture on human trafficking

March 9, 2015

Photo courtesy The Fig Tree
Lutheran Community Services Anti-human Trafficking Coordinator Mabel Elsom will speak on “Human Trafficking in the 21st Century” on Thursday, March 12, at 7:30 p.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall at Whitworth University.

This lecture is the fourth in Whitworth’s 57th annual Great Decisions Lecture Series. As with all Great Decisions lectures at Whitworth, this event is free and open to the public.

Elsom and a team of advocates at Lutheran Community Services Northwest provide comprehensive services and assistance to victims of trafficking, which occurs in the region primarily as labor trafficking and sex trafficking. Lutheran Community Services also collaborates with the Coalition to Abolish Human Trafficking in the Inland Northwest and other organizations in the community.

“Whitworth students are really interested and involved in the issue of human trafficking, and have been for several years,” says Patrick Van Inwegen, Whitworth associate professor of political science. “We are really excited about bringing a speaker to campus who is knowledgeable about the issue and who works in our community.”

Van Inwegen emphasizes that Elsom’s lecture will challenge the assumption that human trafficking is something that only happens in other parts of the world.

“Unlike many global issues that the Spokane community has indirect ties to, the issue of human trafficking involves people living in Spokane,” Van Inwegen says.  “The lecture will also give our community a sense of how they can participate in stopping this great injustice.”

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Stephanee Newman, program assistant in the political science and sociology departments, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3834 or

Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or