Who am I and what led me to the movement?
Who am I? I’m just a kid that is passionate about social justice and heard about human trafficking one day and wanted to do something about it. The first time I ever heard of human trafficking, I was having dinner and hanging out at my mentor’s house with a bunch of other college kids and Gary Haugen, founder of the International Justice Mission (IJM). I had the opportunity to hear about Gary’s raids of brothels in Cambodia. For the next few years I heard more stories of victims forced into prostitution or into labor without consent. One day I was asked, “if I could do anything with my life, and money or education were not factors, what would I do?”
It wasn’t until the next day when I was sitting in church, that I heard a specific call to help victims of human trafficking. I cannot express how clear this call was. It was more than a call and I felt like the creator of the universe was sitting next to me and telling me, “you are going to help victims of human trafficking.” There was no doubt. I finished out the semester, changed my major and changed schools to study social work. One day I happened to be browsing the Internet, researching human trafficking as usual and stumbled across the Not For Sale Campaign’s Academy. I wanted to do it, so I signed up and registered immediately. The Academy happened to fall on my Fall Break and so, in October 2010, I headed down to San Francisco for the Academy. I learned so much, met some of the most amazing people and fell in love with the incredible city. The Academy was a defining milestone in my life.
I left San Francisco knowing that one day I would come back and continue to fight human trafficking until it ended. I went back to Portland and worked with Not For Sale Oregon. And still everyday I thought about Not For Sale in Half Moon Bay. It wasn’t until September 2011 that I finally returned to the Bay area and immediately started working at the national office as a volunteer. worked my butt of to be an intern and now I am a Session 5 Fellow. It has seriously been a crazy journey. Not a moment of it has been easy, but knowing that this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing and this is exactly where I am supposed to be has made everything more than worthwhile.
Now I am here as a fellow and we all have just completed our first week. It’s been completely overwhelming and I feel like I’m drowning in all the information that I have taken in the last week but I could not be any more excited than I am right now. I think this is going to be the hardest, most exhausting and amazing six months of my life. I could not be surrounded by a more awesome group of fellows, staff or supporting fellowship director. And even though we’re not all Kru Nam’s, I still believe we’re going to change the world behind the scenes.
This is going to be awesome.