Tag Archives: Human trafficking

Abidjan!!!

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I’ve been in Abidjan for a little while now, but I finally got a good internet connection at my brother-in-law’s office in Treichville. His name is Séké and he is the director of Royal Inspection International Africa, serving in Abidjan but also Takoradi and Tema, Ghana; Douala, Cameroon and Owendo, Gabon! He’s a busy guy who travels a lot, so we are really grateful that he has agreed to help SUAT complete our mission here in Côte D’Ivoire: to learn more about the realities of trafficking in this nation and develop tangible solutions based on the input of students and youth from the community.

Abidjan is a bustling city, full of life at all hours–and I do mean all hours. Due to the Ramadan season, and also the fact that we live near several mosques, my sleep has been pierced into promptly at 4 am, 5:30 am, and 7:00am due to calls to eat before sunrise and subsequent prayer times. After the imam finished, the rest of my attempts at sleeping were effectively neutralized by roosters and chickens who were determined to wake the city up. They also walk around the streets sometimes, but mostly in the slums across the bridge from downtown.

We live on the 4th floor of a neat little two bedroom apartment, and we take the stairs each time. The most interesting thing about Abidjan is the driving situation… There are actually ramps to help cars cross the sidewalk and get on the opposite street. Yes, cars drive on the sidewalk here sometimes, motorcycles are especially shameless for this. But don’t think the pedestrians are upset about their limited walking space, they have no problem walking through the main roads, especially when there’s lots of traffic. The president of France, François Hollande is visiting here soon, he’s picture side by side with the Ivorian president Allasane Ouattara on ads all across the city. People are also erecting the two flags side by side on the bridge leasing from the airport to downtown. It’s an interesting display of affection for a formerly colonizer nation, but hopefully all in good spirit. Today for lunch we had “foufou et sauce d’arachide” which is mashed plantain puffs and peanut sauce, very delicious!

I will add more photos later!! ❤ Sesa

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To Benin and Beyond!

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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!

Sesa