Congressman Richard Hudson (Class of '96) paid a visit to UNC Charlotte on Thursday, May 15, where he hosted a summit on human trafficking. While on campus, he also toured the Bioinformatics labs.
Hudson's interest in the topic of human trafficking is related to two pieces of legislation that he is currently cosponsoring. The SAVE Act adds advertising to the types of conduct that constitute sex trafficking. This legislation would put the advertiser of trafficked children under the age of 14 in prison for a minimum of 15 years to life. The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act is a comprehensive anti-human trafficking bill that aims to rescue domestic victims, track down their exploiters, increase human trafficking identification and reporting and provide additional tools to prosecutors. The bill also allows for financing the "Domestic Trafficking Victims' Fund" through fines on convicted traffickers, with the money going toward grant programs for comprehensive victim services.
Hudson's wife Renee moderated the expert panel, which included UNC Charlotte Social Work Professor Shanti Kulkami and alumna Jillian Mourning, who is a trafficking survivor, activist and founder of the nonprofit Liberation of Victims Everywhere (LOVE).
Following the summit, Hudson toured Bioinformatics labs and heard from Professor Dan Janies about disease mapping as it pertains to bioterrorism. Professor Jessica Schlueter and graduate students described work they are doing on the oat DNA project for General Mills in collaboration with the NC Research Campus. As a member of both the House Agriculture Committee and Homeland Security Committee, Hudson was interested in applications in bioinformatics research related to these two areas.
Hudson is a Republican elected in November 2012 to represent North Carolina's 8th Congressional District. Hudson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science from UNC Charlotte while serving as student body president. He is the first UNC Charlotte alumnus to be elected to Congress.