Human trafficking, smuggling expert available to discuss San Antonio tragedy


David Ruth

Human trafficking, smuggling expert available to discuss San Antonio tragedy

HOUSTON – (July 24, 2017) – Kerry Ward, a Rice University associate professor of history and researcher on comparative slavery and forced migration, is available to discuss the tragic discovery of nearly 40 people – many of whom were injured and 10 of whom have died — in the back of a sweltering semitrailer in San Antonio this past weekend.

Along with her research on human trafficking, Ward co-led a Rice University seminar on the issue in 2013. The event, “Human Trafficking — Past and Present: Crossing Disciplines, Crossing Borders,” brought together academics and anti-human trafficking advocates for a week to discuss slavery and slave trade in the 21st century.

“The tragic deaths of at least 10 immigrants smuggled into the United States across the Mexican border and transported in a deadly hot trailer highlights the prevalence and scale of human smuggling and human trafficking in Texas,” Ward said. “The I-10 corridor is one of the main routes for human smuggling and trafficking in the United States.

“Several years ago Houston was identified as a major hub for human smuggling and trafficking — which are two different crimes that sometimes overlap,” she said. “Coordinated efforts by the city of Houston and law enforcement agencies have resulted in one of the most comprehensive anti-trafficking strategic plans in the United States. Yet data on human smuggling and trafficking is difficult to quantify because of the illicit nature of these crimes. Tragic cases like the one in San Antonio highlight the plight of victims of unscrupulous smugglers and traffickers.”

To arrange an interview with Ward, contact David Ruth, director of national media relations at Rice, at 713-348-6327 or

Rice University has a VideoLink ReadyCam TV interview studio. ReadyCam is capable of transmitting broadcast-quality standard-definition and high-definition video directly to all news media organizations around the world 24/7.


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About David Ruth

David Ruth is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.