Friday, April 29, 2011

Shto takoy 527 (what is 527)?

In Nova Kakhovka, on the fine sunny afternoon of today, Stephanie, Rachel and I held a seminar for 25 students. The objective was to discuss the problem of human trafficking in Ukraine and internationally. The group included 9th- and 11th- graders, all who had heard of human slavery, but who learned a lot of new information today.

For about the first 20 minutes, we had technical problems (that is an important part of a seminar -- what's a good seminar without the expected "technical difficulties"?) Thanks to 2 students, we got things to work eventually. While our student technicians were messing around with the electronics to get everything to work, some students made a poster (shown in the picture), and as a group, we asked students, "What do you know about human trafficking? What words come to mind when you think of this phrase?"
Words included -

Surprisingly, as we learned from MTV's documentary "Exit" (once we gave up on my 7-year-old Dell and used a student's laptop -- thank you Margaret!), many cases of human trafficking occur in the least expected ways: a victim featured in the film had been dating a guy (locally) for about a year; he was great to her, treated her well, and she trusted him. And after a year of him being her boyfriend, he took her on a trip, only to inform her that he was taking her to the person who had bought her - he had sold her as a prostitute.
The terrible thing is that this is a common scenario.

We then went through the PowerPoint presentation that Rachel had put together and had had translated into Russian; it gave a lot of important statistics, facts, definitions, and most importantly:

527 is a hotline in Ukraine - it is a toll-free call with life:), Kyivstar, MTC, and Beeline phones; people can call the number to report an incident, to voice any concerns, or to check and see if a company they have heard about is a trustworthy company or if they should stay away from any job offers from a specific company.

Thank you to the talented English students for translating our Russian into real Russian, and our English into Russian.

After the seminar, the 8 students who were able to stay after school canvassed around a few locations with a lot of foot traffic. They handed out fliers with the 527 info on it. They got a lot of "thank you"s and "I didn't know that"s; the students' initiative was so impressive.

Unfortunately I only have one picture on my camera (Rachel & Steph have the rest) - this picture is just of the three of us. The students have a bunch of pictures, videos, etc. that will be submitted to the PC 50th anniversary website.

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