We are glad to announce that last week Abolishion, in collaboration with People to People Foundation had the privilege to organize a conference which gathered together professionals from all over Romania.
The main speaker at the conference was Dr. Katherine Welch, an American Pediatrician, currently working in Thailand. Dr. Welch has been working in Asia since 2000. Through her experiences of working with various marginalized people in rural Thailand, and then China, Katherine developed an understanding about the dynamics of sexual exploitation and how a health professional can play a specific and important role in working against it.
Another guest was Doret van der Straten, who is currently working at Open Door, a shelter of survivors of human trafficking in Bucharest. She is on their board as well as serving as their medical team member.
Dr. Welch’s years of experience prepared her to launch Relentless in 2011, a cutting edge project at the intersection of health and justice. Dr. Welch travels globally as a medical and health consultant to organizations serving abused, trafficked, and exploited people, helping them build their capacity in developing a more robust health component to their interventions whether is it prevention, outreach, or aftercare. She also trains health care professionals around the world in how to leverage their skills to fight modern-day slavery.
At the conference, Katherine presented various workshops for volunteers, social workers, doctors, and shelter workers from all over the country. These workshops included presentations regarding trauma informed care of the survivors, staff and self-care, the health consequences of human trafficking, identification of victims, psychological first aid and guiding principles for interviewing trafficked people. Our common goal is the holistic re-integration of our beneficiaries into a thriving life on their own. The latest research reveals that education about basic health, nutrition, reproductive health and other topics are a necessary component of education for beneficiaries in the aftercare setting.
The participants gave very positive feedback, showing that the event was very well received as a valuable, stimulating and enjoyable week, in particular for making contact with other workers from this field, learning about on-going projects, and inspiring individual’s commitment to pursuing their own research objectives (such as the correlation between substance abuse and human trafficking).
We are very pleased to see the conference resulted in the establishment of a network between aftercare workers that will ensure ongoing training and support for these specialized professionals across Romania.
In conclusion, we want to thank everyone who attended the conference. It was a great privilege for us to learn from your personal experience and see your dedication and enthusiasm as we fight together against modern-day slavery!