Wow – I believe that is the only word that amply describes how I and about 25 other people who have proceeded through the first week of Not For Sale’s Investigator Academy. For those of you who are in the dark on what the Academy is, it is an opportunity for anyone to acquire tools in combat against modern-day slavery. The past week has consisted of us being introduced to different law enforcement, legal aid, and aftercare support provided locally and nationally for victims of human trafficking. This has consisted of many lectures and hands-on work, which, for someone freshly out of school, fosters an environment that is quite familiar. The week has been equally invigorating and draining; hopeful and harrowing. It is the first time I have ever devoted a significant amount of time researching and trying to understand ways to protect and prevent future trafficking events. Because sex trafficking is the most recognizable form of slavery, it is the avenue that has the most resources for its tracking. However, I have quickly realized it is also the most difficult avenue for me to research. Give me slave labor, debt bondage or domestic servitude…but sex trafficking, man, that takes so much out of me. I know it is important to confront and recognize its severity, but I also acknowledge that this does not seem to be the avenue I can walk down right now. Perhaps in the future I will be able to better research, track, and help law enforcement prevent sex traffickers, but I have to understand my current capacity. Much of our week was devoted to researching prosecuted cases and placing them on slaverymap.org; a network where trafficking cases are reported. For those institutions or instances where trafficking is suspected, we were taught about ‘internal mapping.’ This is a process where, through cross-referencing online and other means of research, we are able to construct a reliable, smart tip for law enforcement to follow through on. It has been so encouraging to go through this process with other Academy members – they come from so many different walks of life, but they are all united in their desire to eradicate slavery. That in itself is the beauty of Not For Sale’s teaching of “smart activism” – the realization that everyone has a gift to contribute to the movement and when provided with the right tools, can make a difference in their community. Our guest speakers have been fantastic, ranging from Professor Mike Duffy from University of San Francisco, Cindy Liou of Asian Pacific Island Legal Outreach and Asian Women’s Shelter and a Special Agent of the FBI (who I believe was able to make all of us, for at least 5 minutes, want to be FBI agents). Thank you so much again for everyone’s continual support and prayers. If you wish to help contribute to my time here at Not For Sale, feel free to visit <a href=”https://nfs.webconnex.com/sarahdavis“> here </a>and donate. Take care!
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