“It’s definitely ANTI-human trafficking”

Part of ACT’s Counter-Trafficking and Vulnerability Reduction project (CTVR) activities included a two-day training event on anti-human trafficking. We asked one of ACT’s newest recruits, Elizabeth, to share her reflections on our recent time of training together.

This March, ACT hosted its first ever awareness workshop on human trafficking. We welcomed guest presenters from Egypt, gathered our country-wide team, and hosted partners (including a group from Association femmes de Tabarka, the CTVR project partners) for a time of learning and development. Match that with good food and the ever-present joke on our work in human trafficking – it’s definitely anti-human trafficking – and you get a memorable and educational weekend.

 

 

Because all jokes aside, human trafficking is one of those subjects that plainly and simply guts anyone who comes across it. It exists on a massive scale with more than 40 million people trafficked while generating about US $150 billion a year. Undermining human dignity and exploiting vulnerable populations, human trafficking is a hard thing to confront, and often harder to understand. Enter Media Arts for Development (MADEV), our Egyptian guests and conference presenters. MADEV is an Egyptian NGO using media productions and trainings to promote messages of human dignity and create positive social change in Egypt.

 

 

We were privileged to learn from this group, diving deep into the subject of trafficking both in Egypt and Tunisia. Their expertise and generosity of spirit was invaluable to the learning and training experience. Over the course of two days, we reviewed legal codes, read case studies, and even did some role playing.

A significant aspect of the workshop focused on what human trafficking is and how to identify it. The legal implications and prosecutions for trafficking often differ from those of violence – therefore identifying the crime is a critical step. We were trained to ask the following three questions:

 

1. What is the ACTION (what is happening)?

2. What is the MEANS (how is it happening)?

3. What is the TARGET (why is it happening/ what is the end goal)?

 

Take for example the case of a child bride in Egypt. What is the action? Answer – marriage. What is the means? Answer – parental consent, bribes, or threats of violence. What is the target? Answer – sexual exploitation. Through many discussions and similar case studies, we came to learn that it is often the third question that distinguishes trafficking from violence.

This was among many exercises we worked through during our workshop. The end goal was not only to educate participants and partners on the realities and legalities of trafficking, but to also equip us with the laws and resources present in our own contexts and countries.

 

Ultimately, what may have started as feelings of helplessness towards trafficking transformed into real competencies by the end of our workshop. We are grateful for the women leading the charge to name shame and transform the realities of human trafficking in North Africa and we are honored to learn from and partner with them moving forward.

An important topic, handled through skillfully facilitated workshops with a group of people committed to justice, dignity and hope for all – especially those in situations of vulnerability of all kinds. We’re thankful to MADEV for their expertise and passion, and to those who participated for making it such a rewarding experience. We look forward to taking our new learning forward, into the wider work of ACT in Tunisia.