CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — With the goal of educating people about the world’s fastest growing crime – human trafficking – representatives of Global Education Philanthropists attended the 68th annual United Nations Civil Society Conference, with the theme this year of “Building inclusive and sustainable communities.”
The three-day conference was unique this year, as it marked the first time the United Nations held it in the United States outside of New York City.
According to a press release from Global EP, the theme of the conference, held in late August, was fitting given Global EP’s mission to combat human trafficking by helping human survivors reenter society and educating communities to prevent it in the future.
“One main idea that was expressed among all thematic sessions involving human trafficking was that education is key to prevention,” Global EP CEO Cammy Bowker said in the press release.
Bowker, who previously worked as an elementary school teacher, said that as their organization’s name implies, education is at the center of Global EP’s strategy to fight trafficking. In developing countries such as Haiti, the organization supports schools by holding teacher workshops, collecting supplies and fundraising for teacher salaries.
Global EP’s volunteers – who are small business owners, hair stylists and electricians, to name a few – also conduct workshops to teach locals employable skills. Bowker said that with better employment prospects, people who are struggling are less likely to turn to traffickers who make false promises of income.
The conference was an opportunity for Global EP, which was founded in St. George, to realize its potential to make a major international impact. Bowker said they will be working on the UN Sustainable Development Goals at the global level, specifically Goal 8.7.
“Goal 8.7 calls for an end to human trafficking, modern slavery, and forced labor. Most ambitious is its call to end child labor in all forms by 2025,” she said.
We are dedicated to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We will be focusing our collaboration with other agencies and nations as we come together to focus on Goal 8.7: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025, end child labor in all its forms.
Throughout the conference, leaders also emphasized the “2030 agenda,” which aspires to “end poverty and hunger” and “ensure that all human beings can fulfill their potential in dignity and equality.” Global EP is already working to accomplish this through aid to orphanages and schools, skills programs to give people a leg up in society and human trafficking aftercare to help individuals escape the horrors of being trafficked.
While at the conference, Global EP made partnerships to expand its human trafficking aid to Costa Rica, Ghana, Pakistan, Kenya, India and other parts of Asia. During this expansion, Bowker said they plan to work with aftercare centers that have successful histories in order to bring educational resources to empower villagers through education.
The conference was only the beginning of Global EP’s work with the United Nations, she said. In September, representatives from Global EP will present at the UN Peace University in Costa Rica and will begin offering aid and education at an aftercare facility located in the country.
As far as effecting change locally, Global EP used the conference to prepare to make a greater impact on human trafficking within the state.
According to the Utah Attorney General’s office website, trafficking is particularly rampant in Southern Utah due to its proximity to major cities.
“We share the same views on the fight against trafficking and its prevalence in Utah,” Bowker said.
The organization is looking for volunteers willing to help in the United States and abroad. Interested volunteers can sign up online, email [email protected], or call 866-589-HOPE. In the United States, volunteers can collect items for rescue packs, which are backpacks containing basic necessities for recently rescued survivors.
Bowker said small business owners can make their business a safe space for survivors of trafficking, and abroad, volunteers can lead skills workshops for communities and work directly with local doctors, dentists, teachers, mental health professionals, electricians, self-defense experts or small business owners.
Volunteers can also help at schools and in the community. The organization has spots available for trips to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Belize.
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