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Triumph Over Trafficking: Conference addresses scourge of modern-day slavery

May 13, 2024: On May 2nd, 2024, “Triumph Over Trafficking,” a groundbreaking conference organized by Eyes Open International (EOI), brought together survivors, advocates, and leaders to address the scourge of modern-day slavery at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The driving force behind this conference, Harold D’Souza, a survivor of labor trafficking, expressed his happiness over the success of the event stating, “It’s a dream come true for The D’Souza Family.” After 7,758 days, his family shared their experiences, challenges, and successes, marking a profound moment in their journey toward justice and empowerment.

The event received support from notable figures such as Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, who emphasized the importance of amplifying the voices of survivors. “Survivors are not just statistics but living letters of resilience,” he said.

Rohan D’Souza, the youngest EOI Board Director and a key organizer of the conference, highlighted the gathering’s vibrancy and unity in the fight against human trafficking.

“One of the most touching parts of the conference was the session with my family, the D’Souzas,” he said. “My parents’ journey through the dark world of labor trafficking is a story of both pain and resilience, and this was a chance for my brother Bradly and me to share how far our family has come, thanks to the incredible support we’ve received. It was a deeply personal moment for us to reflect on our parents’ progress and discuss how we’ve grown together as a family through these challenges. This session wasn’t just our story; it was a call to action, underlining the human element at the heart of this fight.”

Woodrow “Woody” Keown, Jr., the President and CEO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, provided more than just a venue for our event. Under his leadership, the center became a space that resonated with the historical and moral significance of our cause,” Rohan D’Souza added.

With a lineup of speakers including Dr. Kalyani Gopal and Linda Dixon, the conference explored the complexities of the issue and proposed strategies for combatting it effectively.

Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, a board member of EOI, expressed gratitude to all participants for their dedication to eradicating human trafficking. “Together, we stand united and strong, committed to moving forward with the resolve to secure freedom and dignity for all,” he said, echoing the conference’s overarching mission.

The conference also served as a platform for recognition, with Prince Gohil receiving an honor from EOI for his contributions to the cause. Attorney General Dave Yost commended Harold D’Souza and his wife Dancy for their transformation of personal adversity into a global movement for change.

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