Thursday, June 21, 2007
Another person for the mission. My name is Sarah and I've been knighted Film Chair. While I've heard of human trafficking, I was really exposed to the concept by Paige, a great friend, former roommate, and motivated individual. I'm interning at post production company, learning the trade of editing. When Paige approached me about the conference and my potential role in it, I was thrilled. The more I research and learn about human trafficking, the more I want to help. I want to be a voice for so many that don't have one. My goal is to pull together resources for media concerning Anti-Human Trafficking. Knowledge is power. I am a firm believer in that mantra. The more people I can infect with knowledge, the more people, I feel, will awaken to the problem at hand and take action. I've been collaborating with Jenn K. on potential films for a run up film showing event. If you have any ties to the film world with respect to anti-human trafficking, please contact us. Be part of a great movement. Stop traffic. Now.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Well, I've been really bad about writing for this, but I thought I would try to remedy that. I'm also completely new to blogging, so we'll see how this goes. I'll follow Allie and Paige's excellent lead and start with how I became involved with this issue/conference.
It really started when the amazing Jackie Guyer and I studied abroad in
I knew when I started the research paper that I wanted this to be more than a class project; the more I learned about human trafficking, the more passionate I began to feel about the issue. Paige and I re-synced up after I finished my paper, and we started working on the conference in earnest. Fortunately, as the president of the Women’s and Gender Studies Student Group I’ve been able to use our student org status and departmental connections to let Paige start the room reservation process.
Right now my main focus is the November fashion show to raise money for an anti-trafficking organization, and to awareness about the issue and the conference. We’ve already got some designers who are interested in being involved, we’re working on the slogan/title (something along the lines of “You Could Stop Traffic in Those Clothes), decoration planning, etc. Let me know if you want to help!Jenn K.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Everyone involved with the Conference is doing such great work; their dedication has been very inspiring. I wanted to share how I got involved in the planning of this task, and my contributions so far.
Through my work-study job at the MU Women's Center and my role as president of Feminist Student Union, a student organization on campus, I found myself the recipient of an e-mail from our fearless leader, Paige. Before I attending the introductory meeting, I hadn't thought much about human trafficking -- in truth, I hadn't had to. But my experiences and education in social justice since coming to the University had taught me that there are myriad issues and causes that are often ignored by many. When viewed through a social justice lens, it's plain to see how the incredible and unacceptable numbers of trafficked persons affect the economy, politics, and society of every country. Please check out the Resources page of the site to find more information on Human Trafficking and other projects dedicated to ending it.
I was tapped to do the website because of my Computer Science major. The easiest and cheapest domain venue seemed to be Google -- can you go a day without Googling something anymore? The cost was $12, and in exchange you receive 2 GB of e-mail per user, up to 200 users, access to GoogleTalk, Google Calendar, and space to upload documents and spreadsheets, in addition to a web page creator.
When I started the actual writing of the page, I quickly became a bit frustrated with the restrictions of the Google Page Creator, which you're required to use. From other message boards, I found that this was a common complaint. There is no place to write straight html code, and no alternative to using Google-created templates for each page. I worked around this to the best of my ability -- full disclosure, each page has identical header and side text boxes to simulate the look of frames. If you have no previous web experience, I would suggest the Google products; creating the look of each page really was simple, and no coding is required. I was initially a little more ambitious, and found some of the restrictions a little annoying, though. Though the page serves its purpose, I am still investigating alternatives that would give me a little more freedom in content and design -- merely for vanity's sake. :)
Look for a logo coming soon. Our designer sent us three great-looking proofs, and the Steering Committee has decided on one. I'll be finding the right size for the graphic soon, and adding that to the site in the coming week, most likely.
Monday, June 4, 2007
Thanks for checking out our blog. This will be an important point of contact for those interested in learning about and combating trafficking in persons. We are looking forward to communicating with you about your ideas for the MU Anti-Human Trafficking Conference 2008. If you have ideas about presenters, organizations, topics, and events, we would love to hear it. Please post them here!
My name is Paige and I am one of the steering committee members involved with the organization of the conference. It is quickly becoming an entity of its own, with each of us doing our best to create an experience with meaning and impact.
As a high school debater, I came across human trafficking while preparing for competition. My coach had mentioned it to me as a topic, but it was an article in Marie Claire that later caught my attention. While trying to pass my time on a flight, I flipped through the many articles and ads only to stumble upon a story called, "Rescued from Hell" by Jan Goodwill. You can check it out at http://www.friendsofmaitinepal.org/html/press.htm. It detailed the lives of former sex slaves in Nepal who were trying to survive in a safe house run by former trafficking victims. I was mortified by the horrors they endured: rape, STDs, being labeled as outcasts, and so many other revolting and torturous obstacles. "How could this happen to people? Who would do this to another human being?" I asked myself repeatedly as I read. Despite the many despicable atrocities I had researched during my debate career, nothing matched the humiliation and the violence experienced by victims of trafficking. Human trafficking would be the topic of my last speech that year. Ironically, I had nearly lost my voice due to a nasty cold. I found it funny that I was almost unable to raise my voice in a speech about people who had also lost their ability to cry out.
I have seen the issue many times since: studying abroad in Dubai, researching a paper for class, attending a conference at Northwestern University, and writing a policy proposal. Working on this conference is a way to take these experiences and turn them into kinetic energy; expressing the frustration into action.
We began working on the conference in April and we have been making great tracks since. In addition to the great website engineered by Allie, we mapped out a basic schedule for the conference, reserved space, set monthly goals for planning, contacted a multitude of campus organizations, crafted a donation letter, scheduled a keynote speaker, organized fall events running up to the summit, began the process for recognition as an official student group, created a logo, started a Facebook group (look for the 2008 MU Anti-Human Trafficking Conference) and a plethora of other tasks. It is a daily labor of love to constantly tweak the event.
Our goal is to host an awesome, inspirational conference; however, we want to show others that they too can pursue their passion, inform their peers, and make a difference. It is tough, but there's nothing like a little hard work to make something worth while.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions, comments or criticisms at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Someone once said to me, "Find the thing in life that keeps you up at night." We have found ours.