Brianne Bigej Pursues Interest in Human Trafficking

Brianne BigejBrianne Bigej (`12) was a dual-degree student in Latin American Studies when she helped organize a conference on human trafficking in the Americas. That project led to an anthology in which she helped solicit chapter authors and edit the final manuscript for grammar.

The book is being released in October and coincides with a second conference on Oct. 18 at the UNM Student Union Building.

The conference, Borderline Slavery: Contemporary Issues in Border Security and the Human Trade, is sponsored by the Latin American & Iberian Institute (LAII). It will take place from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Lunch is included. This focused conference will feature three panel presentations by experts in the area of human trafficking and immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border. The goal is to promote scholarship, public awareness and effective public policy to combat human trafficking across the border region.

Borderline SlaveryOn Oct. 17, from 4-6 p.m., a book signing will take place at the LAII to celebrate publication of Borderline Slavery, edited by Susan Tiano and Moira Murphy-Aguilar, with Brianne Bigej.

For Bigej, a graduate assistantship that she received with LAII when she was beginning to pursue her dual degree exposed her to what then was a little-known area of human trafficking along the border. The book, Borderline Slavery, is the first anthology to address the issue.

“We saw that immigration and drugs along the border were already being talked about and we wanted to highlight human trafficking,” she said.

Bigej first became interested in Latin American issues as an undergraduate student at New Mexico State University. At the UNM School of Law, she took a number of human rights courses and wrote about human trafficking for her law school writing requirement. In fact, she came up with the term, borderline slavery. Bigej’s work on both conferences and the book sealed her interest in focusing on the human trafficking problem as a lawyer.

She completed her degree in July and plans to take the bar exam in February. Meanwhile, Bigej is balancing three jobs and taking care of her 10-year-old daughter.

October 11, 2012