education

Step 1: Education

Guest blogger: Stephanie Swick -  Short Term Team Member with ESTN 

Lately, I’ve been entertaining the idea of becoming a nurse midwife. I’m an English major. The hardest science class I took in college was Geography of the Oceans. But there’s a huge need, especially in other countries, for women to be educated and to have care during pregnancy. I think it would be interesting to try to make myself available to offer help to women who get pregnant as a result of enslavement. Could it be possible?

But the thing is, legislation is a huge part of fighting human trafficking, especially in the U.S. I could become a lawyer and make this stuff happen. There’s an organization called Polaris that has put out a list of 10 trafficking laws every state should have. I could help make those laws. That would be cool.

Still, there are women and children who are being rescued from their captors every day with no shelters to run to. There are not enough resources for recovering victims from such a traumatic experience. There are counselors and therapists needed to help these women deal with drug addiction, over-sexualization, kidnapping, and physical, psychological and sexual abuse. I could do that.

At the beginning of my End Slavery internship, I thought I would begin to figure out which path to pursue – nursing school, law school or social work.

Yet I’m finding that more than anything, I just want people to know that slavery still happens. I don’t think enough people know. If they did, I have to believe this issue would start to shrink and instead of growing. At the end of this school year, I had coffee with an old friend who I hadn’t talked to in a long time. When he heard the name of this organization, End Slavery, he misunderstood it as a mental or societal slavery. “You’re going there to fight the man,” he said, “Our society is enslaved by consumerism. That’s great!” This is an intelligent guy who prides himself on being educated. And he’s clueless.

The students on the campus of my Alma Mater – an institution blazing trails in education – have no idea that in our world, Human Trafficking and Slavery is the 2nd largest crime. They don’t know that in our country, roughly 300,000 people are enslaved and many of these people are American citizens. They have no idea that it’s happening in their towns – in the hotels and restaurants they drive past.

I feel a burning desire to drive my car down the street yelling these facts into a megaphone. “This is what’s happening and here’s what you can do about it!”

One thing this internship has shown me is that just about anyone can use their abilities to fight trafficking. It’s not that I want everyone to become social workers and lawyers. But if the future politicians, doctors, business people, broadcasters, celebrities, artists, teachers, engineers, etc… know what to look for, they could save millions of lives and generations of repetition.

So now I’m left exploring a whole new path. How can we get this information into the hands of 60,000 students? More importantly, how can we get them to pay attention? I am no speech-maker, I don’t know how to lead a movement. I just know that this is something people need to know about.

So career-wise, I keep coming back to education. During college, most people assumed I wanted to be a teacher. I was hesitant, but maybe that’s where I’ll end up.

Slavery is real. It’s everywhere. And it’s growing.

And every single person has the power to do something about it.

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To find YOUR niche, please visit www.endslaverytn.org

For info to share with the youth in your life, see http://www.bethejam.org/