The Bastian Center for the study of human trafficking is an international hub of resistance to one of the greatest evils of human civilization. IWU announced the creation of the Bastian Center in April 2014, and set forth its primary goals: to raise up students who can be effective operatives in the war against human trafficking, and to enable scholars from a wide range of fields to study the problem from diverse perspectives.

The center is named for Ed and Anna Bastian, whose $1.5 million gift made the center possible. In the past few years, the Bastians have become ardent opponents of human trafficking. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal benefits from Anna’s counsel on his task force addressing the commercial exploitation of children. Ed Bastian is President of Delta Air Lines. In 2011, Delta became the first major airline to sign a Code of Conduct outlined by End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children.

Laura Lederer, J.D. is the executive director of the Bastian Center. Lederer was Senior Advisor on Trafficking in Persons to the Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs from 2002-2009. She has been an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown Law Center for more than 10 years. She taught the first full course ever offered at a law school dealing with international trafficking in persons. In 1997, she founded the The Protection Project, a nonprofit human rights research institute at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government; in 2000, the project moved to the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

The Bastian Center will be based in the Washington, D.C. area. Students and scholars who work with the center will be able to work directly with policymakers in strengthening the United States’ opposition to the global trade in human beings.