Vanderbilt UNICEF’s End Trafficking Week offers events to educate and activate students

Vanderbilt UNICEF brings speakers and training programs to campus from April 8-12

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Jong Eun Jung

Vanderbilt UNICEF is planning a week-long initiative to raise awareness about modern slavery as a part of this year’s End Trafficking Week starting April 8.

According to End Slavery Tennessee, an organization dedicated to stopping human trafficking and supporting survivors,  94 minors are trafficked in Tennessee each month.

Rescue 1 Global is another nonprofit that combats human trafficking in Tennessee, and will be leading a session on how to identify instances of human trafficking during Vanderbilt UNICEF’s End Trafficking Week. Beth Walser, the clinical director for Rescue 1 Global, said that trafficking is stigmatized as only occurring in poor countries. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, there are 1.5 million victims in the United States alone. Walser said that Tennessee is the number one state in the nation against human trafficking due to the effort of various organizations, “but we still have a long ways to go.”

Rescue 1 Global’s program has three parts: preventing trafficking, rescuing individuals who are trafficked and reintegrating trafficking victims back into society. Students can also volunteer for this organization by going to different places in Nashville to keep watch for any signs of trafficking.

As clinical director, Walser is partly in charge of the restoration program. She arranges medical care for victims of trafficking and transfers them to facilities and homes where they can stay for as long as they need. Survivors receive not only a safe place to be but also schooling and therapy. Vanderbilt has its own student organization, Students Against Modern Slavery, that participates in this volunteering.

“This is like the calling we find in our lives,” Walser said. “You have a client that comes in and they don’t trust anyone. After building trust and relationships and they know that you’re not going to leave them, they can look back and thank you or [say], ‘You showed me what true love is.’ I believe the most memorable experience is when my client succeeds.”

Below is a list of the Vanderbilt UNICEF events that will be happening around campus over the course of the week.

 

Monday, April 8, 6:30 p.m. in Kissam Center C216

Documentary screening of “A Path Appears”

 

Tuesday, April 9, 7 p.m. in Stevenson 4327

Experts panel discussion with Homeland Security Agent Brenna Warnock and Richard Schoeberl, attorney Amal Bouhabib, and U.S. Investigations Team Leader for Hope for Justice, a national organization dedicated to ending modern slavery, rescuing victims and restoring lives

 

Wednesday, April 10, 7 p.m. in Buttrick 302

Anti-trafficking training to help students learn to identify signs of human trafficking with Beth Walser from Rescue One Global

 

Thursday, April 11, 7 p.m. in Garland 101

Keynote presented by Shelia McClain, the Director of Education at Thistle Farms