ASU Art Museum receives NEA grant for international artists residency program


November 29, 2012

Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), announced that the ASU Art Museum in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts is one of 832 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. The ASU Art Museum is recommended for a $45,000 grant to support its International Artist Residency Program at Combine Studios in downtown Phoenix.

“We’re immensely honored that the NEA recognizes and supports the work of the ASU Art Museum to serve as a catalyst for social change through the innovative vision and work of international artists,” said Gordon Knox, director of the museum. “Art is a way of knowing and investigating the world and this grant allows us to build more collaborations and reach new audiences.” Download Full Image

The NEA funds will support the ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program at Combine Studios which brings accomplished professional artists from around the world to develop new work in partnership with the intellectual resources of Arizona State University and the diverse communities within Arizona. Through the program, artists develop work in collaboration with scientists, technologists, social agencies and community organizations that investigate the pressing issues of our time.

Greg Esser, director of the International Artist Residency program and the Desert Initiative, plans to bring four international artists to Arizona to develop new work. “This program represents an incredible opportunity for Arizona residents to engage with international artists and to deepen the impact of research and learning at ASU,” said Esser.

In March 2012, the NEA received 1,509 eligible applications for Art Works grants requesting more than $74 million in funding. Those recommended for grants span 13 artistic disciplines and fields and focus primarily on the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing works for the benefit of American audiences. Applications were reviewed by panels of outside experts convened by NEA staff and each project was judged on its artistic excellence and artistic merit.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, visit the NEA website at arts.gov.

Combine Studios is located at 821 N. Third St. connecting the ASU campus to the Roosevelt Row Arts District. The building, owned by Phoenix artists Matthew Moore and Carrie Marill, includes six residential units for visiting artists, a common kitchen area, resource library and a storefront gallery and event space. For more information about the international residency program, visit the Desert Initiative website.

Human trafficking activity on adult entertainment website more pervasive than expected


November 29, 2012

Evidence of human trafficking through ads posted on a popular adult entertainment website is more prevalent than first thought, according to a new study published by Arizona State University.

“One-Day Trafficking Snapshot of an Internet Service Provider,” a study conducted this month by a team of researchers from ASU’s School of Social Work, found that nearly 60 percent of the ads on Backpage.com Adult Entertainment Services were for selling sex/prostitution. Of those ads more than 20 percent were identified by the researchers to feature potential adult and minor trafficking victims. Download Full Image

The purpose of the study, according to its authors, was to better understand the scope of the online sex trafficking and prostitution enterprise in five major U.S. cities and to further develop a Trafficking Identification Matrix to accurately and systematically identify the characteristics and content typical of ads involving possible trafficking victims.

The study, led by Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, an associate professor with the School of Social Work within ASU’s College of Public Programs, provides a one-day snapshot of sex ads posted during a 12-hour period on Nov. 1 in five markets: Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and San Diego.

The Phoenix Police Department, Vice Enforcement Unit and the Minneapolis Police Department, Criminal Investigations Unit teamed up to develop a set of matrices that are useful in identifying possible trafficking victims and determinants of minor sex trafficking victims.

“The scope of the prostitution ads examined through the study was overwhelming,” Roe-Sepowitz said.

The study initially was designed to analyze 24 hours of online adult entertainment ads but due to the high volume and reporting requirements of ads collected and found to be consistent with potential sex trafficked adults and minors, the review period was reduced to 12 hours. A total of 1,332 ads from the five cities were collected and analyzed by a 12-member research team guided by Roe-Sepowitz and Lieutenant James Gallagher, Phoenix Police Department, Vice Enforcement Unit; Lauren Martin, Urban Research Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), University of Minnesota;

Sargent Grant Snyder, Criminal Investigations Division, Minneapolis Police Department; Kristine Hickle, doctoral candidate, School of Social Work at ASU; and Jessica Smith, master's candidate at ASU.

“Input from experienced law enforcement personnel was integrated with practical and clinical practice-based knowledge from our social work research team,” Roe-Sepowitz said. “Additionally, all data collection team members had prior training in human development and more than half have worked closely with adult and minor human trafficking survivors in exiting programs in the Phoenix area.”

Roe-Sepowitz will travel to Washington, D.C. next month at the invitation of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to participate in a meeting on services for victims of human trafficking. The meeting will take place Dec. 10 at the White House and is part of President Obama’s multi-faceted approach to improve efforts to combat and monitor human trafficking announced last September.  

As her research study continues, Roe-Sepowitz said the next step is to continue revising the matrix and documenting the findings of the age and trafficking verification of the ads collected from Phoenix and Minneapolis.  

“We will continue to partner with law enforcement agencies to obtain ads of known sex trafficking adults and minors to assist in the validation of the matrices,” she said.

Lt. James Gallagher, of the Phoenix Police Department, Vice Enforcement Unit, said the department’s participation in the initiative is part of a larger effort.

“The Phoenix Police Department is focused on building a strong network of collaborating agencies committed to working together to help victims connect with support services and move to a place of recovery rather than into the criminal justice system,” Gallagher said.

More information on the study is provided here: “One-Day Trafficking Snapshot of an Internet Service Provider”

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