By: STUCO Campaign Committee

StuCo has decided to be a part of MyFreedomDay on the 16th of March, which schools around the world commemorate every year. MyFreedomDay aims to create awareness of human trafficking and other issues related to freedom and justice.

UNODC defines Human Trafficking as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people through force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them for profit.” All ages, genders and races can become victims of the crime. Traffickers have often used violence, manipulation, or false-promises of romantic relationships or well-paying jobs to lure victims into trafficking situations. Perpetrators often look for victims who would be susceptible to psychological-emotional trauma, in desperate situations or experience personal instability. Approximately 1,000,000 people are trafficked globally every year. UNODC breaks down human trafficking into three parts: sex-trafficking, labour trafficking and extraction and selling of human organs. Sex-trafficking makes up 58% of all human trafficking. People in human trafficking are often subject to exploitation in many forms, from sexual exploitation to forced manual labour. The motive is always money, humans are used as economic assets to sell for money.

Efforts to criminalize and eradicate human trafficking are underway. Washington became the first state in the United States to criminalize human trafficking in 2003. Since then, every state has made laws establishing criminal penalties for traffickers.

“#My Freedom Day” is a daylong student led event to raise awareness on modern day slavery and human trafficking. The partnership between Youth Underground and CNN led to the establishment of this event on 14th of March 2017. Youth Underground’s goal as an organization is to focus on providing youth education + awareness about human trafficking and preventing it. On the other hand, CNN is a multinational media company who provides live coverage of news surrounding various topics.

The two of them partnered together because CNN liked Youth Underground’s initiative, and at the same time, it was the perfect opportunity for Youth Underground to spread awareness of their mission. On this day, people take a pledge to spread the word in-order to help end modern day slavery. The pledge states “this is how I plan to take action to help end slavery”.

This means that the people who sign the pledge vow to do their best for making things better. Examples of taking action include educating people about modern-day slavery, volunteer or donate items to a centre housing victim, organize a fundraiser and donate the money to anti-trafficking organization amongst many other things. In 2020, CNN recognized Youth Underground as part of one of the ‘go-to’ global anti-trafficking organizations.

“My Freedom Day” is celebrated with students from around the world participating in different activities within their schools and communities to support the mission. This year (2022) however, it will be celebrated on the 16th of March. People are encouraged to speak up and answer the question “what does freedom mean to you”.

The international school of Geneva is a school that has celebrated this event in the form of a presentation by 11th graders about “Is human trafficking really our problem”. They discussed how many think this is a “woman’s issue” however the general public must be aware about it. It is a common misconception, and it is definitely “everybody’s problem”. The subject of human trafficking falls under SDG 8 (DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH), because the purpose behind human trafficking is money.

STUCO aims to spread awareness in the MIS community about the ever-present issue of human trafficking. We realize that human trafficking is very real and present in every community around the world. The issue remains very hidden and pushed under the rug because of its nature as a ‘behind the curtain trade.’ The event, which will take place on March 16, 2022, invites the MIS community to sign the #MyFreedomDay pledge to take action against the issue, and think about the question “What does freedom mean to you?” In the end, we hope you realize how valuable freedom truly is, and how much you need to protect it, for yourself and for others.

-Tia Agarwal, Shaurya Chatterjee, Campaign Committee, STUCO.

Signed off by Tia Sarica (StuCo president & Peter Clinton – StuCo supervisor)

Works Cited

CNN. #MY FREEDOM DAY. 2022. 28 February 2022. <https://edition.cnn.com/specials/world/myfreedomday>.

Department of Homeland Security. What Is Human Trafficking? 10 November 2021. 28 February 2022. <https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/what-human-trafficking>.

National Conference of State Legislatures. Human Trafficking State Laws. https://www.ncsl.org/research/civil-and-criminal-justice/human-trafficking-laws.aspx 2018. 28 February 2022.
                Steverson, Leonard. Human Trafficking. 22 January 2021. Britanica Encylopedia . 21 February 2022. <https://www.britannica.com/topic/human-trafficking>.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Human Trafficking. n.d. 28 February 2022. <https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/human-trafficking.html>.

Youth Underground. #MyFreedomDay. 2020. 21 February 2022. <https://youth-underground.com/about-my-freedom-day/#:~:text=About%20%E2%80%9CMy%20Freedom%20Day%22%20%2D%20Youth%20Underground&text=We%20are%20happy%20to%20have,raise%20awareness%20about%20human%20trafficking.>.

Youth Underground. Partnerships and collaborations are the way forward to prevent human trafficking. 2020. 28 February 2021. <https://youth-underground.com/media-and-partnerships/>.

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