A conference addressing violence against women focused on two growing manifestations of that problem: domestic violence and human trafficking.
"Both human trafficking and domestic violence are crimes against women, they're violent crimes against women and they are gender-based,” said Dr. Mary Burke, the founder of The Project to End Human Trafficking.
She was speaking at the conference hosted by the UPMC Passavant Domestic Violence Advisory Council.
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Experts say there is now greater attention being paid to the issue of human trafficking.
Burke says our culture contributes to it with certain advertisements that show women as passive, or violence being inflicted upon them.
"I think that we have a lot of cultural norms that we're not really evaluating closely and they're playing a role in thinking that it's okay to be aggressive with women,” she said.
Burke says people need to be aware that human trafficking is happening everywhere, even in public places like mall parking lots and crowded areas downtown.
"We're a lot better at paying attention to the issue and identifying the victims, but there's a lot more work for us to do,” she said.
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