UCF Global Perspectives


The Human Trafficking Awareness Program

“Providing a spotlight on 21st Century slavery”

The Human Trafficking Awareness Program at the University of Central Florida – supported by the Human Trafficking Awareness Program Fund and the Global Connections Foundation – is housed in the Global Perspectives Office. Launched as an initiative in 2003 with a forum called “Slavery in the 21st Century,” it was formalized as a program in 2011. It sponsors or co-sponsors public discussions featuring top speakers, panels and other presentations; encourages scholarship and research; and works with partners worldwide. The program is committed to providing a spotlight on 21st Century slavery. John C. Bersia, the program’s founder, started investigating human trafficking as a journalist in 1991. He has written extensively on the issue, an interest that he carried into his broadcast work with WUCF-TV/PBS starting in 2011. There, he has hosted numerous shows on the subject with both specialists in and survivors of human trafficking. Bersia joined the staff of UCF as director of Global Perspectives in 2001, and human trafficking was quickly designated a focal area for the university.

Program Chairs

John C. Bersia, Director and Co-Chair
Global Perspectives Office
PH 202, 407-823-0688

Alvin Wang, Co-Chair
The Burnett Honors College
BHC 105, 407-823-2076

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 program director)
  • Francis Bok, Abolitionist and former Sudanese child slave
  • David William Boone, President and Founder, Civil Lawyers Against World Sex-Slavery (CLAWS)
  • Amb. Harriet L. Elam-Thomas, Director, Diplomacy Program, UCF
  • Richard Lapchick, Chair, DeVos Sport Business Management Program, UCF
  • Maria Cristina Santana, Director, Women’s Studies Program, UCF
  • Ron Soodalter, Abolitionist, co-author (with Kevin Bales) of The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today
  • Sibille Pritchard, President, Global Connections Foundation
  • Alvin Wang, Dean, The Burnett Honors College, UCF (co-chair)

Related Events

Click here for a list of recent and past events supported by the Human Trafficking Awareness Program at UCF.

Francis Bok Human Trafficking Awareness Fellowship

The Human Trafficking Awareness Program at UCF, the Global Perspectives Office at UCF and the Global Connections Foundation will provide an opportunity for an outstanding undergraduate (at least junior level) or graduate student from a Central Florida college or university to serve as a Francis Bok Human Trafficking Awareness Fellow each spring semester. Click here for more information about the fellowship.

The Spring 2017 Francis Bok Human Trafficking Awareness Fellow is Abdul-Samad Bello-Malabu. He is a graduate student at the University of Central Florida with the DeVos Sports Business Management Program, pursuing a Master’s in Sports Business Management and a Master of Business Administration. His research interests include human trafficking in sports, employee exploitation in sports and athlete exploitation in sports. Upon graduation, he plans on pursuing a career in youth development in soccer and eventually starting a soccer academy in Nigeria. To learn about other past fellows and scholars, click here.