Originally posted by Main Street Nashville. By Vivian Jones –

April 15th, 2021 | Updated April 20th, 2021

A Nashville-based agency that fights human trafficking around the world will host an educational conference on autism and human trafficking this month to equip members of the community to identify when someone could be targeted by a trafficker.

Hosted by Free for Life International, in collaboration with the Emory Autism Center, the virtual conference will be held at 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 28.

Gabrielle Thompson, Executive Director of Free for Life International, says the conference is designed to educate all areas of society on autistic populations’ specific vulnerabilities to trafficking.

“If we can educate a broad spectrum of the community — people with autism, organizations that serve autism, universities and the wider community — then we can equip individuals, whether or not they have autism, to actually be able to identify when someone is potentially being lured into a trafficking situation,” Thompson said.

The conference will feature speakers including Dr. TC Waisman, founder of the Autism Training Academy, which provides accessible online training on autism and neurodiversity; Dr. Rondy Smith, founder of Rest Stop Ministries Inc., a Nashville-based residential program for female trafficking survivors; Kelsey Bohlke, assistant director for accessible education at Agnes Scott College; and Rachel Harmon, an autistic Ph.D. candidate at Emory University whose research focuses on human trafficking and gender-based human rights abuses.

Registration for the virtual conference on autism and human trafficking is free. To register or sponsor the event, please see below. 

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