Freedom Network USA

In 2014, the United States was witness to a surge of Unaccompanied Alien Children entering through he southern border; it is estimated that one third of the youth attempting the crossing ultimately ended up in a trafficking situation.

The Freedom Network is pleased to announce another panel for the 13th annual Freedom Network Conference being held on April 21-22nd in Washington D.C.  The Unaccompanied Alien Children Workshop will take place on Wednesday, April 22 from 3:00-4:00 P.M. and will discuss experienced, barriers and service needs of unaccompanied alien children who are experiencing trafficking. Conference Badge

This panel will discuss the experiences of these children who do enter the U.S. and are then trafficked for labor and sex.  The outcome of this panel is to better enable participants to identify conflicting push and pull factors that lead to the human trafficking, talk about opportunities for service for victims, and how to identify unaccompanied minor victims of trafficking and connect them with existing appropriate support services.

The Freedom Network USA is pleased to announce the following presenters for the Unaccompanied Alien Children Workshop:

Madeline Hannan

Madeline Hannan is the Project Director of ChildRight: New York with the International Organization for Adolescents (IOFA). She is responsible for coordinating the development and implementation of a statewide response to child trafficking through partnerships with select counties, delivering training and technical assistance, and creating a screening tool and strategic statewide action plan. Ms. Hannan has worked directly with trafficking survivors and vulnerable youth in New York City. As a fellow at the University at Albany, she provided policy analysis on child welfare issues at the state level for the New York State Council on Children and Families. Ms. Hannan was a member of the Executive Management Team as well as the National Training and Technical Assistance Program at Polaris Project in Washington, DC. She earned her M.S.W. from McGill University. During her graduate studies she designed and completed an analytical study of child protection training materials on behalf of the United Nations’ Department of Peacekeeping Operations while concurrently writing a master’s thesis on New York State’s Safe Harbor for Exploited Children Act.

Gonzalo Martinez de Vedia

Gonzalo Martinez de Vedia is a Human Trafficking Specialist with the Worker Justice Center of New York, where he investigates labor and sex trafficking through outreach to high-risk workplaces, provides comprehensive case management services for trafficking survivors, and trains law enforcement on trafficking identification and prevention within immigrant communities. As coordinator for the North Country Human Trafficking Taskforce and member of all upstate regional taskforces, Mr. Martinez de Vedia facilitates inter-agency responses to trafficking cases statewide. In 2014, he was appointed to a three-year term on the Ulster County Human Rights Commission. Previously, Mr. Martinez de Vedia served the outreach and advocacy missions of the Cornell Farmworker Program, the Rural and Migrant Ministry, and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. He holds a BA cum laude from Cornell University, where he was Founding President of the Immigrant Farmworker Initiative.

Suamhirs Piraino-Guzman

Suamhirs Piraino-Guzman is a true survivor. He grew up in Honduras where he was exposed to extreme violence at the hands of his father.  When he was 14 1/2, he was kidnapped and brought to America where he was trafficked and sold into child sex trafficking in San Diego, CA.  When he was finally rescued from his abductors, he was further traumatized for several years, in a system that was designed to “help” him. Mr. Piraino-Guzman used his interpersonal skills and hope for a better future as a way to survive and persevere. Today he travels the country advocating for youth and teaching caregivers and service providers how to create a relationship of trust and open communication with children who have been abused and traumatized. Recently, Mr. Piraino-Guzman became San Diego Counties’ youngest foster parent. He is a specialist with children who have suffered severe abuse, and therefore, was asked to take an emergency placement; a 14 year old developmentally-delayed child. Mr. Piraino-Guzman is currently the Program Coordinator for the Pathways Initiative for collaboration of agencies in San Diego County to provide therapeutic and behavioral services to victims of violent crimes.