While packing, I experienced a slew of mixed emotions that I’m not sure how to process. The thrill of travelling to a new place combined with an acknowledgement of the gravity of the subject at hand created a troubling mix of both positive and negative thoughts. The following are five adjectives that describe how I am feeling about ASB:
Intrigued – Our research and preliminary discussions about different facets of human trafficking have only scratched the surface. I‘m left with many unanswered questions and still don’t fully grasp ‘big picture’ issues such as:
- The scale at which this is happening
- What factors play into how one enters and remains in the social and economic system that is trafficking, a system rooted in a much larger one than includes all of us
Receptive – I’m anxious to have meaningful conversations with survivors and care providers in order to better understand what happens before, during and after a person is trafficked. Most importantly, however, I’m ready to listen to these perspectives as well as to the views and opinions of those still caught up in trafficking
Invested – Having talked and worked with young girls who have either been sexually abused or exploited, and being passionate about fundamental human rights in general, I already feel emotionally invested. This experience will deepen that investment.
Dismayed – I believe that, in order to connect and help others, we must first experience compassion. I am profoundly disturbed by what we have read so far and don’t know how I’m going to process all the distressing stories we’re likely to hear this week.
Cautious – We will be meeting with at least one survivor during our stay and I’m anxious to talk with her. I acknowledge, however, that this is a sensitive topic and I don’t want to make a vulnerable person feel in any way uncomfortable. Her well-being is a priority, and I’m aware that the real beneficiary of these exchanges is likely to be me. Therefore, I need to be thoughtful about how best to engage in such conversations. In addition, I always feel a bit cautious when interacting with a new group. Barriers and discomfort always exist at the outset but I know that these will eventually break down.