January 11th is Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the United States. Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. From January 1st through January 11th, we’ll be posting daily blogs -- staff reflections, inspirational quotes and more that reflect our passion to see child trafficking and exploitation ended. Our resolution is to protect and defend the vulnerable and to restore and empower survivors. Join us in 2013 as we continue onward towards abolition!
Ever since I can remember, I have found the most joy by doing for others.
Whether I was in middle school and was convinced we could end world hunger by all becoming vegetarian or in high school organizing fundraisers for AIDS research, I always knew I wanted to devote my life to helping people. That said, I wasn’t introduced to the prevalence of modern-day slavery first hand until I was in college.
I spent a semester in Costa Rica with a small think tank that focuses on justice issues, including anti-human trafficking legislation. One professor strongly encouraged us to experience local culture so we could better understand the difficulties the region faced. In an effort to do so, my group and I stumbled upon a western-style casino complete with large signs and flashing lights. But inside, all I could see were lines of very young female faces, seemly local and heavily made up, waiting to be escorted out.
A cold rush shivered down my spine as I thought about why they were all there and I knew at that moment I couldn’t go back, my heart was in this fight.
Elizabeth Johnston enthusiastically joined the Love146 team in May of 2010 after graduating from the Eliot School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. She currently serves as the Love146 Programs Support Coordinator, bridging the programs department with the rest of the office.