Last fall I enrolled in a class at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) titled “Special Problems and Topics in Global Studies: Global Issues in Human Trafficking.” I thought it sounded interesting and wanted to learn more on the topic. Throughout the course we partnered with the local nonprofit End Slavery Tennessee. Global Studies majors here at MTSU have the chance to earn credit by finding an internship with a global aspect. After volunteering last semester with Dana Montgomery, an End Slavery Tennessee (ESTN) representative, I decided End Slavery Tennessee would be great for my internship.
Since then Dana and I have worked together in Murfreesboro to develop the internship for future semesters. I officially started in January and have since created a template for future interns’ requirements based on my own tasks and jobs completed for ESTN. Much of what I do entails assisting Dana with projects and presentations that cover different aspects of human trafficking. I have also helped with creating forms and applications for upcoming interns.
Currently Dana and I are pairing up with Global Studies Professor Justin Phalichanh to help strengthen the partnership between End Slavery TN and the Global Studies program at MTSU. On April 11 at MTSU, we held a movie screening of Nefarious: Merchant of Souls, a documentary that exposes the nightmare of sex trafficking. This movie screening will hopefully become a recurring project between Global Studies and ESTN. It not only helps give the ESTN intern the opportunity to help plan the event, but also gives students taking the “Global Issues in Human Trafficking” course a chance to learn more about the issue.
When I took the Global Studies course “Global Issues in Human Trafficking” last semester, we had to pick a country or theme related to trafficking for an extensive research paper. I chose to research and write about sex trafficking and exploitation in Costa Rica because I would be traveling there for my upcoming spring break as a mini study abroad trip. Three weeks ago I left for Costa Rica without any knowledge of Spanish, but no worries. I enjoyed my 10-day trip immensely, but there were times that my research paper on Costa Rica crept back into my mind. I remembered reading that the majority of the sex trafficking cases reported in Costa Rica occurred in the north and central Pacific coast areas, which is where we stayed for part of the trip. It is amazing how unaware people can be of something that happens around them all the time.