So… time for some updates!
After returning from Thailand, I formed S.U.A.T. (Students United Against Trafficking) which is a coalition of and educators who aim to increase dialogue around human trafficking and to raise awareness about how it works and how we can put an end to it! Current S.U.A.T. member and co-founder, Diana Ciuca, is working to replicate the Language and Life-Skills Curriculum developed with support from the Davis Project for Peace this summer in Mae Sot, Thailand! This will be our second year with Heavenly Home, so wish us luck!
Also, I am working to open a chapter of S.U.A.T. in Benin, so that I can use the curriculum in Beninese schools! This curriculum was developed to target trafficking with an innovative, preventative approach that emphasizes self-empowerment, leadership, and social change.
Benin is a source, transit, and destination country for children trafficked for the purposes of forced domestic and commercial labor, including child prostitution. Child trafficking is particularly urgent due to the influence of a traditional practice called “vidomegon,” in which poor children become the indentured servitude of wealthier families. Traditionally this opportunity gave low-income youth greater education access, but this has been corrupted due to globalization and child trafficking. A few hundred to several thousand children are trafficked each year to wealthier nations such as Nigeria, Ghana, Gabon, and Cameroon.
To accomplish this goal, I’m working with grassroots organization PIED-ONG. PIED-ONG works inside Northern villages and rural schools to create a home for child victims of trade, trafficking and sexual violence and also rescues children from the South who have lost contact with their families. My goal is to merge the “Language and Life-Skills” curriculum with their pre-existing services.
Looking forward, I hope to standardize this curriculum so that it can be exported all over the world, as we all know trafficking is a global issue rather than a regional one! Thanks to everyone who has supported so far, and please contact me if you want to help take this project to the next level!