University of Kentucky Rosenberg College of Law

Kentucky Law Journal Volume 109 Symposium: Sex Trafficking and Opioids



Our nation is experiencing a meteoric rise in opioid overdose. The sheer power of opioid dependency has left few untouched and many devastated in its wake. Inextricably intertwined with opioid dependency is an equally epidemic rise in sex trafficking. Like no other point in its 5,000-year history, sex trafficking is on a sharp upsurge: The internet has expanded the insatiable demand for vulnerable human flesh. As the internet increases the scope of the flesh trade, opioid addiction adds to its sting. Millions are feeding their dependency through the selling of flesh.

Sex trafficking exists conterminously with drug dependency because vulnerability is the lynchpin of exploitation. This conference, the first of its kind, will examine the converging and rising tides of sex trafficking and opioid addiction. This conference has three aims: Awareness, Advocacy, and Activism. Using panels of experts who have first-hand experience with the intertwined effects of sex trafficking and opioid addiction, this conference will increase public awareness of the converging forces of dependency and vulnerability. Another panel of advocates will address how the legal process can intervene in the demand for human flesh. Finally, activists will critique the current problems in the criminal justice system’s attempt to ameliorate the intertwined problem of drug dependency and sex trafficking through mass incarceration.


8:30: Opening Remarks 

         Introduction from Erica Ashton, Editor-in-Chief, Kentucky Law Journal 

Mary Davis, Dean of the Rosenberg College of Law 

Andy Beshear, Governor of Kentucky

Judge Eric L. Clay, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

9:00: Opening Speaker

Sean Tepfer, National Program Manager, Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, Department of Justice 

         Introduction from Kelly Daniel, Staff Editor, Kentucky Law Journal  

Opening Remarks and Opening Speaker

10:00: Meet the Survivors Panel 

         Moderated by Layne K McDuffie, UK Law Student

Dr. Azurdee Garland, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Programming, Phoenix Rising, Inc.

Maira Gomez, UK Law Student and Phoenix Rising, Inc. Volunteer 

Ben VanBarr, Law Clerk at Weitz & Luxenberg

April Doss, Survivor

Meet the Survivors Panel

11:00: The View from the Department of Justice 

         Moderated by Rashmi Khatiwada, UK Law Student

Hydee Hawkins, Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky

Cassie Young, FBI Victim Specialist

John Whitehead, FBI Special Agent

Kelley Hoover, ATF Special Agent

Jenny Parker, Victim Witness Coordinator, United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky

Erin Roth, Assistant United States Attorney, United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky

Seth Fraizer, Human Trafficking Detective, Lexington Police Department

Matthew Grady, Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit Attorney, Department of Justice

12:00: Keynote Speaker

Shea M. Rhodes, Co-Founder & Director of the Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Villanova Law

            Introduction from M. Elizabeth Goss, Kentucky Law Journal Staff Editor

The View from the Justice Department and Keynote Speaker

1:00 – Awareness Panel, Part I 

         Moderated by Chase Thomas, UK Law Student 

Vanessa Bouche, Associate Professor of Political Science, Texas Christian University 

Maddie Bailey, Associate Attorney, Husch Blackwell, LLP 

Isy India Thusi, Professor, Widener University Delaware School of Law  

Shelly Cavalieri, Professor, University of Toledo College of Law 

Ben VanBarr, Law Clerk at Weitz & Luxenberg

Awareness Panel 1

2:45 – Awareness Panel, Part II 

         Moderated by Kendra Craft, Staff Editor, Kentucky Law Journal

Richard Ausness, Professor, Rosenberg College of Law 

Christine Raino, Senior Director of Public Policy, Shared Hope, International 

Jenn Brinkley, Professor, University of West Florida 

Dr. Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein, Professor, UNC Chapel Hill

Jennifer Cole, Professor, University of Kentucky   

Serena Kaul, Graduate Student, University of Cincinnati 

Awareness Panel 2

4:00 – Advocacy Panel 

         Moderated by Kaci Christopher, Staff Editor, Kentucky Law Journal 

Barbara Maines Whaley, Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Kentucky Attorney General

Kelly Carter, Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Michigan Attorney General

Brittany Scordo, Director of Victim Services, Office of the Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney

Jenna Cassady, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, Fayette Commonwealth’s Attorney Office

Advocacy Panel

5:30 – Activism Panel 

         Moderated by Raleigh Dixon, UK Law Student 

Margie Quin, End Slavery Now

Mikaela Pflueger, UK Law Student 

Tiana The, Graduate Student, University of Kentucky 

Gretchen Hunt, Human Trafficking Consultant

Heather Wagers, Executive Director of the Office of Trafficking and Abuse Prevention and Prosecution (TAPP), Office of the Kentucky Attorney General

6:45 – Closing Remarks

Kami Griffith, Special Features Editor, Kentucky Law Journal

Activism Panel and Closing Remarks