This week I’m writing my Gates-Cambridge and Fulbright applications. Both applications will be focused on filling niches I know are empty in the global understanding of human trafficking. Because both of these are thoroughly competitive applications, I also have a third plan for what I’ll do after my final graduation: get a job.
- Gates-Cambridge. I want to figure out how to use SMS to get more reporting of labor and sex trafficking globally. The SMS SOS for OFWs in Distress project is one solid model; HarassMap in Cairo is another. Though friends like HollaBack make great use of smartphones, I have yet to see a simple way for NGOs, governments, and other potential victims to receive trafficking tips from survivors and advocates. Based on my experience in the Middle East and North Africa, providing text-based reporting would make it easier and safer for millions of exploited people to identify themselves and get help.
- Fulbright. I want to build a website on best-practices in aftercare for identified survivors of sex trafficking. Oman’s work on the issue is particularly impressive: the government’s housing and services for identified survivors seem to be culturally sensitive, well-funded, and decentralized. Based on my experience in Pittsburgh, DC, and California, no one has quite figured out the best way to care for survivors who may be traumatized, not speak any local language well, may not have good options to return to at home, and need a wide range of services and supports.
- A job. My goal is always to help the most people possible using the skills I have, so the same carries through for a job. I’m interested in a mix of jobs, mostly in government and NGOs, many having to do with trafficking. My current dream job (for a few years) would be working on the Hill as a Congressional staffer so I could really understand what it takes to make policy. Of course, heading back to the Middle East would be a great opportunity as well.
“The difference between a job and a career is the difference between forty and sixty hours a week.”–Robert Frost