End Modern Slavery

A Peacemaking Project by Eri A.

What is the injustice we are solving?

Human trafficking is modern day slavery. Victims of human trafficking are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of sexual exploitation, forced labor, and/or domestic servitude. Victims are women, men, teenagers and young children in our own communities. The crime of human trafficking can happen everywhere, but Houston's proximity to the Mexican border,coupled with its access to major freeways, international air, shipping ports, and a busy rail industry, makes it a major hub for the transportation of both domestic and international victims. Many misconceptions exist about human trafficking, such as human trafficking being only an international problem. The reality proves that human trafficking is in fact both a global and local problem as there are an estimated 330,000 people affected in Texas alone. This is a crime that will take all of us coming together to bring an end to human trafficking.

Our Compassionate Solution:

To solve this injustice of lack of understanding about human trafficking and its forms among young adults, a significant portion of often targeted population.
we will address the stigma and misinformation surrounding human trafficking
by raising awareness about victims and suvivors, clearing misconceptions about what human trafficking is, and introducing avenues of combatting it

Our Project Plan:

Goals

  • CF, MSA, StuCo, and H.O.M.E. members will raise awareness about human trafficking in a month long series of event from April 5 through April 26 at Kerr High School while also collecting donations for survivors.
  • The goal is to start a conversation with at least 100 students about the pressing issue of modern slavery in Houston, the United States and the world. We will manage the project by making daily preparations and review of activities.

We will increase my / our compassion by...

Dispelling the stigma surrounding victims of human trafficking

How will you show courage?

By telling survivors' stories from a positive and enlightening standpoint while learning steps to take to make a change.

How will you collaborate with others?

The movie screening will be hosted by executives of different clubs and the weekly activities will also be organized by them to bring different perspectives to the table.

How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)

An increase in participation of weekly activities and donations as well as starting a conversation among students will be indicators of moving in the right direction.

Key Steps

  • Print out posters that inform students about the forms of human trafficking and how to spot it.
  • Plan long term advisory activities for every Thursday in April
  • Garner faculty support by linking extra credit opportunities with donation collection
  • Contact potential speakers
  • Get movie screening license
  • Share 'What is Human Trafficking Video' on school announcement
  • Create slides sharing facts and statistics for school announcement
  • Create agenda and discussion guide for movie screening

Reflection:

How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?

We got the opportunity to watch Not My Life, an eye-opening documentary that showed the global reality of modern slavery. It really helped see the various forms of the menace in different parts of the world and see how people get exploited. The myths were addressed and it led to a wonderful discussion of how we can enact change and identify victims

How did your community change as a result of your project?

People were more eager to make more ethical choices and be conscious of the production process of their favorite brands and products. They are now educated on possible signs of human trafficking and who to contact when a trafficker/victim is identified. A conversation about modern slavery was started in my school from the Internet to within friends and teachers.

How many people were impacted by your project?

236

Explain how you came up with the number of people impacted by the project?

At first, I shared PowerPoints and resources with the Student Council, which has more than 180 members. The slides and infographics were shared on Facebook and Schoology, the school's learning management system. I later reached out to smaller clubs and organizations that were actively involved in service projects and volunteering efforts such as Christian Fellowship, Muslim Student Association, and Korean club which has about 56 members in total

How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?

Researching examples of modern slavery and presenting it to others opened my eyes to more forms I was unaware about. I couldn't believe that a two year old girl was a victim of sex trafficking in South Asia or that a teenager was forced to be a nanny for years in the city I live in. The movie also helped us learn about how poverty perpetuates the problem, with families selling their young children to earn money and survive while unknowingly entering a sometimes inescapble trap.

What did your team learn?

Patience, persistence, and compassion were three key lessons throughout the project's planning and duration. We leaned about the persistence and patience of traffickers when they lure victims, the need to be persistent in the fight against modern slavery, and the compassion victims and survivors need to regain their humanity and life.

What challenges did your team overcome?

Due to Hurricane Harvey and two unexpected snow storms, the school's schedule was affected. Classes were rushed in order to finish on time and everyone were on heightened stress levels, including me. It was my senior year and I had very important exams to pass. It was challenging to juggle it all and get people's attention as their priority was finishing the school year right. It was also challenging to prevent clashes with other school activities. This caused the project to be moved back several times so it could fit in.

How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?

The executive members of Student Council, Christian Fellowship, Muslim Students Association and Korean Club advertised the movie showing to members and also helped put up flyers. The advisor of Student Council helped fine-tune my ideas and deliberated with the principal concerning proper dates for the events to take place. She also helped spread word to members, students and other teachers and helped post informational slides on the morning and afternoon announcements. The librarian set up the movie area, gave out snacks to attendees, recommended relevant books and encouraged thought provoking discussions about the hidden nature of modern slavery

What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?

Write all your ideas down. Don't doubt your ability to accomplish the goals and the project you have so much passion for. It might be hard but you can do it! Start early and create a weekly reminder to check on your plans so you don't get too busy with life and leave your project behind. Ask for help when you need it, it's nothing to embarrassed about. It is actually a sign of true courage.

Our Updates:

It has begun!

Eri A. 11 May 2018 18:03 There have been many setbacks that required flexibility on my part and pushed back the starting date of the project. It has finally commenced! I printed attention-grabbing flyers from the Department of Homeland Security's Blue Campaign with the help of the mini-grant. I also made informational slides on the school's T.V. announcements to begin a conversation about human trafficking.

 

Comments:

Adrian B. Peace First Staff
5 June 2018 14:20

Hi Eri!

Congratulations on finishing your peacemaking project! I’m on the Peace First team and wanted to say thank you for your amazing work and for taking time to share about your work.

Below you will find some feedback based on your Reflection, which we hope will help you to celebrate your incredible accomplishment and reflect on how to grow and develop your project in the future:

Strengths:

I love how you're highlighting an issue people don't often talk about or recognize. Slavery absolutely still exists in the US, and it's vital that we work against it. I'm also impressed at how you persisted in making your event happen despite scheduling obstacles, and how you've involved so many people in the school. You started a conversation that's having an impact.

Things to consider:

Whenever starting a project like this, it's vital to talk to people themselves who are directly affected by this injustice--and in this case, there are a large number of people from different types of slavery who are affected. Talk to them yourselves and connect to their organizations. Learn how you can lift up their voices. Folks you haven't named yet--but who are impacted by this dialogue--are people who are incarcerated (slavery is still legal in US prisons), and sex workers, who aren't experiencing slavery but who are very negatively impacted by conflating sex work and trafficking. I'm happy to share more resources about these and other groups if you like!

How are you hoping to deepen this work? We hope you will stay in touch and keep us up to date as you continue your work to create change!

Best,
Adrian  

Amani A. Peace First Staff
6 April 2018 9:48

Congratulations! Your project has been selected to receive a Peace First Challenge mini-grant. We will be in touch soon with details about this payment.

The mini-grant process is also space for you to get feedback on your peacemaking project. We hope you will use this feedback to further strengthen your project. Please see the feedback on your mini-grant below.

Strengths:
I appreciate that you have set a timeline for your project and you were clear about the target number of students that you want to start the conversation with. I also appreciate that you want to share survivors' stories from a positive and enlightening standpoint! Highlighting the positive side of any story is very powerful and get the people think about how to move forward or overcome any challenging issues they face in their life!

Things to Consider:
I think it would be helpful if you could create an agenda for the series of events that you will run from April 5 through April 26 to be shared with the students in advance or on the same day. Just to make it clear to what to expect as activities during the event.

Congratulations and best of luck with your project!  

Adrian B. Peace First Staff
29 March 2018 20:19

Hi Eri,

Just checking in about your project and the next steps. I wanted to make sure you are aware of the upcoming Mini-Grant Deadline - there is still time to remain eligible to attend a Peace First Challenge Accelerator if you complete your Compassionate Insight, Project Plan, and Mini-Grant application by March 31st.

We're excited about your work, and would love to be able to support it with a mini-grant of up to $250.

These tools can help you craft your insight, plan, and budget for your mini-grant:
https://www.peacefirst.org/understand-through-compassion
https://www.peacefirst.org/plan-your-project

Through your dashboard you can submit your "compassionate insight," record your plan in "Make a plan" and then "Apply for a mini-grant" for the materials you need.

Let me know how I can help!

Best,
Adrian  

Fish S. Peace First Staff
10 January 2018 12:27

Hi Eri, this is a super important injustice -- and thanks for giving us context for why Houston is a particular hot spot for it. Thanks also for identifying misconceptions about human trafficking -- that's a great thing to do!

Sounds like you have a clear idea of the problem you want to solve. We'd love to help you take action and make a real difference on this issue. Do you have a plan for what you want to do, or do you need help making a plan? Either way, let us know how we can help you!  

Jenna G.
1 August 2018 13:49

Hi Eri!

Jenna here--I'm a member of the Peace First team, and I wanted to let you know that I really like your project, it is incredible that you were able to educate so many people and bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking by addressing the misconceptions and showing people how close to home it is. It is so cool that you were able to change the way people think about the products they use and remember that their actions do matter! I hope that you'll submit an application to tell your story at the first-ever Peace First Summit on 9/16!

Applications are due today, August 1--you should have more information in your email inbox. Here's the application link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd6X9fTrSTC6PoXjLpVUtNlJgZHbd5QdB6-hgxlC-d7DBlK_g/viewform Please let me know if you have any questions--I hope you'll apply!

Warmly,
Jenna :)