MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - According to the United Nations, human trafficking is a burgeoning worldwide black market industry, raking in annual revenues of an estimated $7 billion dollars. It is believed that anywhere from 700,000 to four million women and children are sold into forced prostitution, labor and other forms of exploitation each year.

The Global Health Program at West Virginia University will host activist and advocate Diep N. Vuong at its annual Global Health Day event Nov. 15.

Diep is co-founder and president of Pacific Links Foundation (PALS), an international organization whose mission is to support the sustainable development of Vietnamese communities and the enrichment of their cultural heritage.

A volunteer-based organization, PALS seeks to encourage sustainable development through the exchange of knowledge between professionals in Vietnam and in the developed world, with an emphasis on community building and empowerment through knowledge. Since 2005, PALS has placed focus on women’s empowerment, which has included efforts to fight human trafficking.

Diep will deliver her Global Health Day speech, “Health Care Issues Encountered by the Victims of Human Trafficking: Remote Areas of Vietnam,” at noon in Room 1905 of the WVU Health Sciences Center.

A cum laude graduate of Harvard University’s economics program, Diep earned her Master’s in Public Administration from San Jose State University.

Formerly known as the International Health Program, the Global Health Program was established in 1991 as an interdisciplinary program at the WVU Health Sciences Center. It is a student-centered program composed of faculty, students and staff who work to promote the education of students and healthcare professionals in global health.

For more information: Amy Johns, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087