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Town Hall Meeting

Town Hall Meeting Image

Fall 2023 Town Hall Meeting 

Last fall, students from Global Studies and Anthropology courses studying trafficking issues conducted research to understand “what is possible” in their issue area as it relates to regional and global human trafficking concerns. At the Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, November 15, students met in a Dialogue Session with Community Partners serving as Consultants to discuss “what is possible” in their policy area. Students then used realistic policy solutions to create “action plans” outlining possible next steps for themselves and others to influence the future course of the policy issue, during an Action Planning Session. 

This year, students will continue to explore these policy concerns in the 2023 Town Hall Meeting. Joining us will be students from Global Studies with Professor Dino Bozonelos, Ph.D. and Professor Joel Day, Ph.D. as well as Anthropology courses with Professor Konane Martinez, Ph.D.

  • The Town Hall Agenda


    5:15 - 5:50 PM: Participant Check-in and Dinner

    6:00 - 6:30 PM: Welcome and Keynote Address by DA Stephan

    6:35 - 6:45 PM: Transition to Dialogue Session Breakout Rooms

    6:45 - 7:45 PM: Dialogue Sessions

    7:45 - 7:55 PM: Transition to Action Planning Breakout Rooms

    8:00 - 8:50 PM: Action Planning Sessions

    8:50 - 9:00 PM: Closing Remarks

  • Dialogue Session (Breakout Room) Locations

    Department within USU

    USU Location

    Dialogue Session Group

    Black Student Center



    Cross Cultural Center

    USU -3400

    Domestic Workers

    Latinx Center



    Women and Gender Equity Center



    LGBTQA Pride Center


    Debt Bondage

    Associated Students, Inc. Conference Room


    Migrant Workers

    Student Leadership and Involvement Center


    Child Trafficking

    USU 2310

    USU -4000

    Sex Trafficking

  • Student Remarks

    Below you will find remarks shared by students regarding their experience partitipating in the 2022 Town Hall Meeting.

    • "That human trafficking depends on us. This is an issue that is our responsibility and nobody will solve it unless we take the necessary steps to take action." 
    • "I was focusing on debt bondage and it did not occur to me that sex work was included. I was mainly focused on psychical labor to like working in brick factories, but I did not know there forced labor in sex work." 
    • "Human trafficking has only been a crime in CA since 2005." 
    • "Not all victims are obvious victims like poorly dressed, illiterate, poor people that a lot of them can be high class, well educated, well off people." 
    • "A majority of sex trafficking is done by people who know the victim, such as a parent trafficking a child, a husband trafficking their wife, etc." 
    • "That social media could play like a double edge sword in promoting that we need to find solutions in human trafficking, but social media can be used by traffickers to find a new target." 


    Students TH

    Students creating "action plans" during the Action Planning Session

Keynote Speaker: DA Summer Stephan

DA Summer Stephan

District Attorney Summer Stephan has devoted her life to protecting children and families, providing justice to the most vulnerable, and is a national leader in the fight against human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Summer rose through the ranks fighting for justice in the trenches before San Diego County voters overwhelmingly elected Summer as District Attorney in 2018 and again in 2022. As District Attorney, she leads the second-largest DA’s Office in California, managing a professional staff of 1,000 employees, serving as the People’s Prosecutor for San Diego County and its more than three million residents. Summer leverages her extensive courtroom, management, and leadership experience to set clear public safety priorities in collaboration with law enforcement and the community, keeping San Diego County one of the safest urban regions in the United States. In 2022, Summer was named one of “The Five Best Prosecutors in America, utilizing evaluation factors of integrity, fidelity to the rule of law, responsible innovations, and community relations.  

Meet the 2023 Policy Consultants (Focus Areas)

  • Carmen Kcomt: Migrant Workers

    Carmen Kcomt served in the judicial power of Peru for 10 years as a family Juvenile Judge, she's a foreign attorney, worked for the United Nations, been a professor for two leading Peruvian Universities, a guest lecturer at USD, a member of the National Assosication of the women judges as retired judge, Honorary member of the Refugee Congress, she is an author, having written more than 90 atricles and co-authored two textbooks on domestic violence and children's human rights. she received many accolades, of which some notable ones are: Local Hero of the Hispanic Heritage Award by KPBS National Broadcast, Distinguished Citizen award by The San Diego county Bar Association, The Manual Wiley Award by San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program for her work helping the poor, and the Social empowerment Award by the University of california San Diego. Presently, Ms. Kcomt is the director of victim Assistance, Human  Trafficking and Domestic Violence programs with La Maestra Community Health Centers and is the Apointee with the State Advisory Council on Refugee assistance and services.


  • Carolina Martin Ramos: Domestic workers

    Carolina Martin Ramos is Founder & Executive Director of Justicia Digna and a licensed attorney focused on human rights and international Indigenous people’s rights. Carolina’s work has led her to even deeper work with Indigenous migrants including women and children fleeing gender violence. She has years of experience in nonprofit, government, and private practice. Carolina has worked on crimmigration law as a former public defender and represented noncitizen victims of human trafficking and serious crimes, and asylum seekers who were mostly Maya and/or fleeing gender violence, persecution, and torture. She has received special recognition for her work with Indigenous migrants and LGBTQ asylum seekers. Carolina has worked as an attorney with organizations such as Casa Cornelia Law Center, Centro Legal de la Raza, and the American Bar Association (ABA) Immigration Justice Project (IJP). Additionally, Carolina has served as an Asylum Officer with the U.S Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) Los Angeles Asylum Office and in private practice as the founder and owner of private law firm in New Mexico. She is recognized for her specialized work with noncitizen victims of labor trafficking in the San Diego – Tijuana Border Region and was awarded the Angel of Trafficking Award by the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition (BSCC)  in 2017.


  • Charisma De Los Reyes: Child Trafficking

    Charisma De Los Reyes, MSW, serves as the Program Coordinator for the Foster Youth Services Coordinating Program (FYSCP) at the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE). With a career spanning over 20 years as a community organizer and activist, she has always been committed to social justice and advocacy. Charisma has gained extensive experience in social services, including her time as the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) Program Coordinator for the County of San Diego with Child Welfare Services, which lasted over a decade. She has played a crucial role in developing the CSEC Emergency Response Protocol and worked closely with the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and the Child Trafficking Response Unit to establish statewide policies and procedures such as the CSEC Interagency Protocol and the CSEC Harm Reduction Series. For her unwavering dedication to advocating for children who have suffered from abuse and neglect, and for her efforts in establishing effective cross-system procedures that promote collaboration and coordination in child protection, she was bestowed with the Woman of the Year award by California Senator Pro Tempore Toni Atkins. 


  • Marisa Ugarte: Debt Bondage

    Marisa Ugarte, an activist instituting structural change, is the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition (BSCC), which combats human trafficking in San Diego County and Tijuana. As an expert on the subject, she works, as the BSCC Mission states, "to preserve the dignity and well-being of commercially and sexually exploited women and children through prevention, intervention, and education." She has received grants from the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. State Department, and the International Foundation for Human Rights and Tolerance awarded her for bringing sanctuary to girls in illegal brothels in Southern California after being smuggled across the border. Ugarte convenes an annual anti-trafficking conference in San Diego and is an active speaker at conferences nationwide and internationally of human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of women and children. Her public speaking engagements have included: The Artesana (Successful Coalition Building), Texas; the Millennium Conference, and the International Institute (Restructuring the Justice System in Mexico). 


  • Monique Myers: Protection

    Monique Myers has been a prosecutor at the San Diego District Attorney’s Office for 9 years. For the past 4 years, she has been a Community Partnership Prosecutor, working in the community building relationships, identifying public safety issues, and creating strategic solutions improving the quality of life and safety in those areas.  Underpinning her career has been her goal to end human trafficking. She currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of San Diego Youth Services, and is on the MADD Advisory Board. In her spare time, Monique enjoys traveling; she has been to every continent, including Antarctica!


  • Mary-Ellen Barrett: Prosecution

    Mary-Ellen Barrett has been a San Diego County Deputy District Attorney for over 25 years prosecuting a variety of cases from theft to murder. Ms. Barrett is the chair of the San Diego County Regional Human Trafficking and CSEC Advisory Council which is responsible for developing best practices to combat human trafficking. At the DA’s office, she handles all petitions to clear the criminal records of survivors and is assigned to support the County Office of Education in a Federal Grant for Human Trafficking Youth Prevention Education which provides anti-trafficking education to San Diego’s public schools. Ms. Barrett is also co-chair of the Southern California Safe Shelter Collaborative which is dedicated to finding shelter quickly for survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault using technology. Ms. Barrett sits on the National District Attorney’s Advisory Board on Human Trafficking. Ms. Barrett has previously received the statewide prosecutor of the year award from the California Narcotics Officers Association and other awards for her work in promoting the rights of victims and survivors including, an “Angel of Trafficking Award” from the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, the “Client Advocate of the Year” award from North County Lifeline, and the Rotary District 5340 (San Diego and Imperial Counties) 2021 “Peacemaker of the Year” award. 


  • Alicia Brav: Sex Trafficking

    Alicia Brav is a criminologist and consultant specializing in sexual victimization and human trafficking, and the implications across the lifespan. BRAV Consultations is dedicated to addressing human rights by bridging the gaps in research, policy and practice. Her services include strategic planning for building agency capacity and long-term sustainability, and providing translational knowledge on trauma for multi-system model development.


  • Casey French: Prevention

    Casey French has been a Deputy District Attorney with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office since 2012. She is currently assigned to the Sex Crimes and Human Trafficking division within the office. Ms. French is a former co-chair of the Lawyers Club of San Diego Human Trafficking Collaborative, which focuses on equipping the community with the knowledge and tools to combat human trafficking and encourage community participation in the fight against it. Previously, she served as co-chair of the Education Subcommittee. Ms. French is also a member of the San Diego Regional Human Trafficking & Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) Advisory Council which is tasked with identifying best practices for combatting human trafficking and making recommendations to the Board of Supervisors regarding county-wide anti-trafficking policies. Ms. French has worked with law enforcement both locally and nationwide to assist victims of human trafficking. Ms. French has met with policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels on ways to improve laws addressing human trafficking and gaps in legislation. On a global scale, Ms. French has met with leaders from European and Western Hemisphere countries as well as delegates from Bahrain and Africa to engage in an interactive dialogue with countries affected by human trafficking.

    Casey French 

2019 Town Hall Meeting Image

Background on The Town Hall Meeting at CSUSM

Town Hall Meeting

The Town Hall Meeting provides students a public arena for discussing current policy issues with other students, faculty, administrators, and community members. This event is inspired by the Public Sphere Pedagogy. 

Through a series of moderated conversations, which include voices of community-based subject matter experts, students are able to deepen their understanding of certain topics, appreciate how those topics manifest in the public arena, dialogue about potential solutions to community issues, and find more relevance in their learning. Public Sphere Pedagogy is an approach to teaching that moves student research and creative ideas outside of the classroom by embedding a ‘public sphere’ in academic courses, usually during the first year of college. (Chico State)

The Town Hall Meeting at CSUSM is framed around global issues that are of particular concern to our regional community, in partnership with faculty and students in one or more academic departments across campus. For the past few years the global issue discussed at the Town Hall Meeting has been human trafficking.

On November 15, 2017, the first the Town Hall Meeting was framed around global issues that are of particular concern to our regional community. 

Past partnerships have included faculty and students in the departments of Global Studies and Anthropology.


town hall meeting attendees

town hall speaker