Love146 worked with partners in Romania last month to train the country's first group of young activists as advocates against human trafficking. 40 young people attended the training session. This was the beginning of a two month commitment to impact their own communities, institutions, and places of education as teams of advocates.
Much of the education on human trafficking in Romania has seemed to perpetuate a high dependency on organisations to impact communities. Historically, this training has addressed young people who have been largely passive recipients of this information. This is something we wanted to change. We felt that through training young people as advocates in the context of human trafficking, we would quickly multiply those who are carrying the story and issues in the country and empower young people to be change-makers. Along with Open Your Eyes partners, we worked with local groups who will support the young people and monitor their delivery of the Open Your Eyes campaign in their community. This will lead towards certification of the young people as Youth Advocates. Participants will implement awareness raising for a dedicated period using both the resources provided by the organizers and the knowledge gained during training events.
Local partners in the activities include the Police Inspectorate of Calarasi County - Department of Analysis and Crime Prevention, General Directorate of Social Assistance and Child Protection Calarasi, and New Horizons Foundation.
From this first stage of training, we have seen seven teams in place in Calarasi. We are now making preparations for another region in the north of Romania for 30 girls. All the campaign partners are delighted to see people mobilised to fight injustice who will have a voice and play a role in exploitation-proofing their communities. It is critical that we encourage locals to reach their own people -- this is the only effective way to see a long term cultural shift so that places like Romania become increasingly toxic for traffickers.
To learn more about the Open Your Eyes campaign, visit www.deschideochii.org.