The last few months have been a whirlwind of activity. I am so proud of how our growing Abolishion team have pulled together to make it all happen. It is truly an honour to be surrounded by champions dedicated to eradicating human trafficking from the planet.
We’ve opened a Training Centre!
We are thrilled to announce to you that we opened our first Training Centre for survivors of human trafficking. This centre works hand in hand with our Restore Home as well as providing opportunity for survivors who already have a safe place to live to learn life and work skills. We want to empower them to live an independent life. We’re working to set up small businesses that will provide much needed jobs for these brave survivors. We are already seeing what difference this is making in the girls’ confidence and outlook on life. Some of them are experiencing new activities and skills for the first time in their lives. A worker from the governmental agency for anti-trafficking in Romania commented that having the opportunity to be around positive role models will make a huge difference in the girls.
Abolishion visits Canada
I travelled to both Canada and the USA in April to promote and build connections for Abolishion’s work. Jim Emerson, from Enduring Promises, a wedding officiant business, that has been supporting Abolishion almost from day one, was pivotal in organising meetings and opportunities for me to speak. A highlight was talking about the dangers of traffickers lurking behind social media at Toronto District High School. I did some classes afterwards with the senior students who had recently been debating Bill C-36, a law which Canada has adopted making the buying of sex illegal.
Convocation message at Concordia University in California
I also had the privilege of giving a convocation address on human trafficking at Concordia University in Irvine, California, thanks to an invitation from Professor Adam Lee and Dr David Loy. It was a great week spent at the university teaching classes and connecting with students who I will working with later in the year in Greece. We’ll be meeting again as part of Concordia’s Around The World Semester to do street theatre on human trafficking in Athens and hopefully in refugee camps.
Trafficking Specific Medical Training
Back in Romania, it’s also been a busy time of training. We had the honour of having Dr Katherine Welch from Relentless, in Thailand, come and teach us about the medical care of trafficking survivors. We were able to gain wonderful insight from Katherine for our shelter program as well as train local social workers and medical professionals. A highlight was a conference we ran gathering workers from shelters across the country. It was a great time of networking, sharing and up skilling. The group unanimously decided to form an ongoing network for the support and development of these specialist workers.
Art & Soul
Dr Michelle Sanders, from Australia, worked with us for 10 days with her Art & Soul program. This is a program where people explore their thoughts and emotions through the medium of art and specific teaching. We ran courses with survivors, volunteers and social workers. It was wonderful to see the girls get lost in painting and find a place of peace. It was awesome to see them smiling and proud of their artwork.
So all in all, it’s been a very satisfying few months. I cannot iterate enough how proud I am of the passionate staff and volunteers that have worked to make all this happen. I also want to thank our dedicated partners who regularly donate to our work. Through your donations, you become part of our story and part of the survivor’s story. Without you none of this would have been possible.