UCF Global Perspectives


Center for the Study of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

“Advancing Learning and Seeking Solutions”

The Center for the Study of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery at the University of Central Florida – supported by the Human Trafficking Fund of the UCF Foundation – is housed in the College of Sciences and administered in cooperation with the Global Perspectives Office. It responds to the growing human-trafficking problem in Central Florida, the United States and around the world.

The Center seeks to expand the understanding of human trafficking in a comprehensive, interdisciplinary context, and search for solutions through coursework, research, distinguished speakers, student fellowships, survivor scholarships, partnerships, international professional exchanges and community engagement.

The Center incorporates the work of The Human Trafficking Awareness Program, which was launched as an initiative by the Global Perspectives Office in 2003 with a national forum called “Slavery in the 21st Century.” Click here to read a press release about the creation of the center.


Program Chairs

John C. Bersia, Co-Chair
Global Perspectives Office

Alvin Wang, Co-Chair
Department of Psychology


Program Directors

John C. Bersia, Interim Co-Director
Global Perspectives Office

Alisa Smith, Interim Co-Director
Department of Legal Studies


Advisory Board

  • Patricia Ambinder, Chair, Peace and Justice Institute Advisory Council, Valencia College
  • Kevin Bales, Professor of Contemporary Slavery, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham, UK
  • John C. Bersia, Special Assistant to the President for Global Perspectives, UCF (co-chair and interim co-director)
  • Francis Bok, Abolitionist and former Sudanese child slave
  • David William Boone, In Memoriam, President and Founder, Civil Lawyers Against World Sex-Slavery (CLAWS)
  • Amb. Luis C.deBaca, former U.S. ambassador-at-large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
  • Tricia Connelly, Producer, WUCF TV
  • Amb. Harriet L. Elam-Thomas, Director, Diplomacy Program, UCF
  • Bridget Holt, Director of Advancement, Burnett Honors College and College of Undergraduate Studies
  • Richard Lapchick, Chair, DeVos Sport Business Management Program, UCF
  • Tomas J. Lares, Founder and Executive Director of Florida Abolitionist, Inc.
  • Ted Reynolds, Visiting Lecturer on Intelligence and Terrorism, Political Science Department, UCF
  • Maria Cristina Santana, Director, Women’s Studies Program, UCF
  • Alisa Smith, Chair, Department of Legal Studies, UCF (interim co-director)
  • Ron Soodalter, Abolitionist, co-author (with Kevin Bales) of The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today
  • Alvin Wang, Professor, Department of Psychology, and former Dean, The Burnett Honors College, UCF (co-chair)


Click here for a full list of related Global Perspectives videos.


Related News and Events

Click here for a list of recent and past events supported by the Human Trafficking Awareness Program at UCF. Click here to read news articles and blog posts related to human trafficking and modern slavery.

Francis Bok Human Trafficking Awareness Fellowship

The Human Trafficking Awareness Program at UCF provides an opportunity for an outstanding undergraduate (at least junior level) or graduate student from UCF to serve as a Francis Bok Human Trafficking Awareness Fellow each semester. Click here for more information about the fellowship.

The Fall 2018 Francis Bok Human Trafficking Awareness Fellow is Michelle Murillo. She is a senior at the University of Central Florida pursuing a degree in Philosophy, with a minor in Cognitive Sciences and a Criminal Profiling Certificate. She is a member of the Philosophical Society and a part of the Global Leadership Program at the LEAD Scholars Academy. Her research interests include trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation and organ removal, meta-ethics and international policy reform on judicial punishment. Upon graduation, she plans on pursuing a career in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A student of Spanish, Murillo has traveled throughout America. To learn about other past fellows and scholars, click here.