5,000 Miles Abroad: Life as an Intern




Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Lauren Grenier, a 22-year-old college graduate from the state of Alaska. With a spirit of adventure, a curiosity of world cultures, and a heart for the marginalized, I arrived in Romania in June to intern with Abolishion and contribute to their research team. In order to be most effective in the combat of human-trafficking, governments, organizations and citizens of all nations need to be educated on the issue as it uniquely relates to their context. Working with Abolishion this summer has given me the ability to exercise and further develop my research and writing skills in a meaningful and impactful way.

Systematic research and investigation is vital to understanding the complexity of human trafficking as a social issue. Furthermore, the methodology for gathering information can credit or discredit the research, so it is important that research is conducted properly and explained adequately. Therefore, my time here thus far has been spent trying to connect with researchers who have conducted similar research to what the team here at Abolishion intends to do in order to avoid any plausible errors that would discredit our outcomes. In addition to understanding the ways traffickers use the internet to recruit, groom and sell minors, much time has been dedicated to researching the connection between cybercrime and human trafficking. 

The nature of this work has exposed me to darker evils almost on the daily, so it has been great to partake in other endeavors with the Abolishion team for an occasional break from the heaviness of the emotional demand of this work. Since I have been here, I have been able to go with the team to a children’s home to warn the children about the dangers of talking to strangers. For an entire week, I accompanied the team during many sessions where our guest, Michelle Sanders, used painting to help survivors of trafficking, social workers, hospice workers and prisoners process their traumatic experiences. 

It is a challenge to read about the issue of human trafficking and then go home and live a normal life. I certainly intend to take the knowledge I have gained from this experience back with me to my home in Alaska and apply it to combat human trafficking in my own backyard. Every human life has meaning and dignity and I intend to do what I can to help preserve and protect vulnerable populations, assist those in recovery from such traumatic experiences, and educating the public on the issue.

I thank Abolishion for allowing me to experience this great opportunity.