Don’t get freaked out by the title! As part of the Presidential Global Scholars program, we are reguired to research into a group project that interests us and helps us develop a global perspective and finding our place in the world. My group is researching human trafficking within Eastern Europe. Stemming from economic and societal issues, human trafficking has become a large source of economic gain in many of these socities. Our hope through partnering with international organizations is to develop a tool and resource that makes people aware of the human trafficking issue. Although we are focused in Europe, this problem exists all around the world (even in the United States)and needs to be stopped. Ever person has the chance to make a difference in the world. My hope is to make this difference and change lives.
Update: March 28
I have now been oversees for about 2.5 months, research the issue of human trafficking around Europe. I have visited Amsterdam, Vienna, and Prague to meet with nongovernmental organization and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The trips have been exhausting (physically, mentally, and spiritually) to say the least. Seeing women standing in windows, selling their bodies against their will is more than heart-breaking. It is truly indescribable without seeing it first hand. But there is hope! The largest tool to combating trafficking is AWARENESS!!!! Too many people are unaware of the issue and how large the issue is all around the world – Yes! even in the United States. Trafficking is different than smuggling. Trafficking is a crime against a human being, while smuggling is a crime against the state. Trafficking is forced and involuntary exploitation of a human being, unlike smuggling. We must realize there is a difference and there are people in the world who are living a life against their will. Every person can make a difference just by making others aware!
Below are a few links to inform you about trafficking and what organizations are doing to help women out of this vicious cycle!
International Organization for Migration – the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners
Not for Sale – an amazing nonprofit organization helping women out of trafficking and into a better life. They just launched a new soup program to help women out of the Red Light District in Amsterdam.