I am leaving for Italy in one week, where I will be working with TAMPEP, a non-profit organization working to prevent and protect victims of human trafficking.
Over the past few days I have had the opportunity to meet the other Advocacy Project “field consultants”–and learn what that title means.
17 graduate students will be working with Advocacy partners this summer all over the world, and I am one of them. Two other women will be working on the issue of human trafficking, they will be working with WOCON in Lagos, Nigeria.
Tens of thousands of Women and girls are trafficked from Nigeria to Italy and other developed countries, where they become virtual slaves, forced into prostitution and other forms of exploitation. In many instances, women are identified in Italy and then deported. In these cases they are returned to Nigeria, and then what…??
For one, women are trafficked back into Italy. The trafficked women may face punishment and stigma from their families and community. They may not have education or vocational skills to just pick up another trade. The trafficking cycle the women fall into is something that people in Nigeria and Italy are working to break. Organizations, such as WOCON in Nigeria, are supposed to provide these women with alternatives. This summer, I hope to learn more about how the Italian and Nigerian organizations work together (or not), and how their individual strategies work (or don’t).
Addressing the issue of human trafficking is more complex than legislators passing laws that set out to get the bad guys. That is part of it, but it is also about raising awareness among the general public, which up to this point, in the US and elsewhere, remain sadly ignorant about what human trafficking actually is.
It is also about providing comprehensive services to the women and children who are trafficked into prostitution. Alternatives, economic and social, must exist…in addition to appropriate punitive measures for the traffickers…and the johns (buyers of sex from prostituted women/girls).
While I am in Italy I will communicate with agencies in NYC and DC in the United States, to share the exemplary work that TAMPEP is doing, and my impressions on the face and scope of the issue–the goal being to implement a more effective and comprehensive approach here in the US…we have a lot to learn in order to get past merely punitive solutions.
Posted By Anya Gorovets (Italy)
Posted May 28th, 2006