Breaking the Links


Breaking the Links

Veteran anti-trafficking expert Matt Friedman and his son Brandon will introduce a new action-based campaign, BREAKING THE LINKS, to raise young people’s awareness about human trafficking on July 29th from 7 – 9 PM at The Little.

Human trafficking is a $32 billion criminal industry affecting 27 million people worldwide; this program aims to engage young people in the fight against modern day slavery. Sponsored by the Rochester Regional Coalition Against Human Trafficking, the event is free and open to the public.

Human trafficking is a global, multi-faceted human rights abuse that exists in virtually every country around the world, including the United States. Trafficking crimes committed in the Rochester area include the recruitment, enslavement, and sale of children and adults for sexual purposes. Forced labor practices involving children as well as adults, are also found in upstate New York, as they are in other migrant populations throughout the country. Human trafficking is quickly emerging as one of the 21st century’s most tragic and complex human rights violations.

The goal of the BREAKING THE LINKS Campaign is to raise young people's awareness about modern-day slavery and encourage them to join the world’s anti-slavery community. Matt and his sons will drive through eight states this summer to speak about modern day slavery at churches, libraries, and other venues. Through an engaging presentation, Matt and Brandon will outline four steps people of all ages can take to join the modern-day abolitionist movement. In steps that include learning about slavery and human trafficking in the acclaimed documentary Not My Life, (, wearing a shackle representative of slavery, talking to friends and family about the issues, and sharing what they've learned through social media, audiences will be activated to participate in the eradication of this human rights abomination.

An international human trafficking expert, Matthew Friedman, has 23 years of experience as a counter-trafficking activist, fund-raiser, program designer, evaluator and manager. Mr. Friedman was Regional Project Manager for the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking from 2006-2012. He has designed and managed both country and regional counter-trafficking programs in Asia, helped to establish a counter-trafficking regional training center, and participated in resource mobilization and production of two award-winning films on the subject. In addition, Friedman is frequently cited in the news media on issues related to human trafficking (CNN, SCMP, Economist, New York Times, Herald Tribune, BBC, etc) and slavery in Southeast Asia and invited to speak at conferences around the world. Matthew’s new initiatives include providing training and technical assistance to corporations wishing to become compliant with the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act; adapting smartphone technology for use as translation units by law enforcement officers; developing a regional hotline to assist Asian migrants in human trafficking situations; and developing a school-based curriculum for educating students about human trafficking and modern-day slavery.

Brandon Friedman has joined the fight against human trafficking, urging young people to become aware and join counter-trafficking efforts. Both Matthew and Brandon have each recorded Tedx Talks, providing valuable information and a call to action against human trafficking.

This event is general admission, no tickets required. For more information about this event, contact Heidi Ostertag at [email protected]