By Lauren Dorvil
A pair of beautiful brown eyes. I had never seen an image so vivid or a message so striking.
After a few seconds, the scene changed, and another young girl appeared on the projector screen with the same solemn expression and a pair of sad, lonely eyes. It was then that all the information I had ever learned about human trafficking had fleshed out and stared me dead on.
These girls could be anyone: my sister, my friend, myself. It was at that moment, sitting in the middle of The Mary Louis Academy auditorium, Jamaica Estates, on a beautiful Saturday morning, that my life had changed.
Human trafficking is defined as “the trade in humans, most commonly for the purpose of (but not limited to) sexual slavery, forced labor or for the extraction of organs or tissues.”
Currently, there are more than 27 million slaves in the world – more than tripling the amount of slaves that existed when slavery was legal.
This is a social epidemic, a moral plague and an ethical disease. Young girls (and surprisingly boys too) who exhibit signs of vulnerability are targeted.
Because I aspire to become a clinical psychologist, it is very likely that I will counsel and treat these victims.
Traffickers are brilliant at manipulating the minds of troubled teens, and as a result, the victims develop a loving/emotional attachment to their owners. Not exactly the “daddy dearest.”
However, as always, there is hope. Project Stay Gold is a student-based organization committed to abolishing modern day slavery. They are a proactive group of young people with fantastic connections and a passion for good. Their efforts and accomplishments are incredible. With groups like them in existence, I see slavery abolished in my lifetime. One of their platforms is the power of education.
“To expose something is to kill it” was one of the points made on several occasions.
I strongly agree, and I made sure to bring all that I had learned back to St. Saviour H.S., Park Slope.
Last year, I was able to start a female empowerment club, “Inner Glow,” and the young women are currently thinking of ways to combat human trafficking.
Slavery will end one day.; We won’t rest until each pair of sad eyes is free.
Dorvil is a senior at St. Saviour H.S., Park Slope