Child Soldiers: Forced to Be Cruel

October 8th, 2015

The Center for the Human Rights of Children invites you to attend the opening reception and panel discussion for the international photography exhibit, Child Soldiers: Forced to Be Cruel. This exhibition depicts child soldiers from around the world who have been manipulated by war criminals and subjected to unspeakable violence.  The panel presentation, entitled “The Right to Be a Child: Human Trafficking of Child Soldiers and Gang Involved Youth,” will feature national and local experts who will discuss the trafficking of children as child soldiers and the parallels with children recruited into gangs in Central America and the United States.  A cocktail reception will follow. This event is FREE and open to the public. 

Date:  October 8, 2015

Time:  4:30pm – 6pm

Location:  Loyola University Chicago Damen Student Center, 6511 N. Sheridan Rd. 2nd floor, South Hall.


Julie Hicks, Foreign Affairs Officer, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking on Persons, U.S. State Department

Ms. Hicks joined the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons in 2012.  She serves as a Foreign Affairs Officer in the Reports and Political Affairs section covering the Middle East, as well as North and East Africa.  In this role, Ms. Hicks is responsible for monitoring and researching human trafficking trends throughout these regions, drafting country assessments for the Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, and traveling to these regions to conduct diplomatic engagement with foreign government officials.

Prior to her current position, Ms. Hicks has spent the majority of her career following political and security developments in Latin America in various analytical positions.  Before joining the Department of State, for four years Ms. Hicks worked as a Political-Military Analyst at the U.S. Department of Defense analyzing security trends in South America and the Caribbean.  She has also traveled extensively throughout Latin America.

Ms. Hicks received a B.A. in Sociology from Dickinson College and a M.A. in International Policy Studies from the Monterey Institute of International Studies.  During her academic career, Ms. Hicks focused her research on international negotiation and non-traditional security issues, including trafficking in persons, drug trafficking, and organized crime.

Diana Tafur, Supervising Attorney, Asylum Project, National Immigrant Justice Center

Ms. Tafur works for Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center's Asylum Project representing unaccompanied immigrant children as well as other asylum seekers. She graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Political Science. Diana obtained her J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law and is licensed in the state of New York.

Prior to joining NIJC, she completed a year-long fellowship with Asylum Access in Ecuador where she provided direct legal services to refugees and asylum-seekers in discrimination cases and throughout all stages of the refugee status determination process including presenting a petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Previously to joining NIJC, Diana also volunteered for various non-for-profit organizations like the Central American Resource Center and Kids in Need of Defense in Washington, D.C.

Brad Stolbach, Lead Technical Advisor, Midwest Region Complex Trauma Treatment Network, National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Dr. Stolbach, a licensed clinical psychologist, focuses on developing trauma-informed programs and services. He applies his work to a variety of settings, including the Adoption Center, the Pediatric Mobile Medical Unit and the Center for Community Health and Vitality. Dr. Stolbach also co-directs a psychiatry clinic for youth on probation.

Dr. Stolbach serves as clinical director of Healing Hurt People - Chicago, a trauma-informed, hospital-based violence intervention model implemented in emergency pediatric settings in Chicago. Healing Hurt People - Chicago is a partnership of the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital, La Rabida Children's Hospital's Chicago Child Trauma Center (which Dr. Stolbach co-founded and directed until 2013), the Trauma Dept. of John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, and The Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice at the Drexel University School of Public Health, where the Healing Hurt People model was developed.

Dr. Stolbach’s research activities focus on developmental trauma disorder in urban children, cumulative trauma in young children, links between poverty and trauma, and the role of developmental trauma in the lives of children and youth affiliated with armed groups.

 For video of the event , click here.

For additional information, please contact us at (773)508-8050.

 This event could not be made possible without the help of our co-sponsors:

Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work

Civitas ChildLaw Center

Center for Urban Research and Learning (CURL)

Provost Office for Social Justice Initiatives