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.