Jessica Sewall (Nigeria)

Jessica Sewall (The Women’s Consortium of Nigeria - WOCON): Jessica completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and studied abroad in both Ecuador and Chile. In Ecuador, she was a part of a team that conducted a needs assessment and census survey of a small village outside of Quito, with a focus on potable water and sanitation and infrastructure. Jessica worked for the City of Milwaukee on an outreach campaign for work support benefits for low-income families. She then returned to university. At the time of her fellowship, Jessica was studying for a Master’s degree in International Policy and Development at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, and a Certificate in Humanitarian and Refugee Emergencies.



Preparing for June 1st Arrival

20 May

I am excited with anticipation to begin work with the Women’s Consortium of Nigeria on human trafficking. The UN reported on their website that tens of thousands of Nigerian girls are trafficked to other countries in Africa and to Italy. They also reported that an estimated 40% of street children living in Nigeria have been bought and sold at one point in their lives. UNICEF has a great website about child exploitation in general: http://www.unicef.org/protection/index_exploitation.html

I am eager to learn from WOCON the efforts being made on the supply side of trafficking, and to work with the partner organization in Italy (TAMPEP) working on the demand side. The business of selling human beings is reportedly the third most lucrative trade after arms and drugs. I am currently reading, and recommend to anyone interested, the book “Illicit” that addresses the economics of these issues.

Expectations of me for the next three months in Nigeria include conducting an assessment of WOCON, assisting with web content and newsletters, developing relationships with Italian and US points of contact for transnational policy discussion and a speaking tour in the fall in DC, and surveying safe houses where deported girls are returned to in Nigeria.

There is also an educational component of providing information to community partners within the United States. A group of very inspiring and motivated high school students at Blair High in DC will be following the blogs and creating a student group to discuss human trafficking issues. Georgetown’s Student’s Stopping the Trafficking of Persons (SSTOP) will also be following the blogs and hopefully engaging in campus outreach for education on the issue of human trafficking in Africa.

I think the most valuable aspect of this will be learning from WOCON and encouraging collaboration across international borders and fostering interest within the United States. I can’t wait to get my feet wet!

Posted By Jessica Sewall (Nigeria)

Posted May 20th, 2006

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