Bloomfield College students stopped by the United Nations in New York City to attend seminars about human trafficking.
Recently, 29 senior nursing students, five faculty members and College Chaplain Rev. Sherry Karasik were given a private tour of the United Nations building and spent the afternoon with Carol Smolenski of ECPAT, a worldwide organization devoted to ending human trafficking in all areas of society.
The nursing students learned about the different types of trafficking, the causes –such as poverty, kidnapping, and false promises of a better life – and how to recognize and report victims of trafficking.
Often times in very impoverished areas, parents will give up their children for slave labor, many thinking that they are on their way to something better. Sometimes, it is just a matter of one less mouth to feed. Some may be kidnapped and forced into the sex trades or brought to the U.S. to work as housekeepers, in sweat shops or salons, thinking that they will eventually be able to pay back their passage and gain their freedom.
What is not understood is that they are undocumented and will never be able to pay back the debt.
The problem is so widespread that there is a worldwide effort to train people to identify the enslaved, especially children. There have been efforts in the hotel industry to sign agreements to not hire enslaved workers and hotlines are available to report suspected abuse.
Programs for recovery and education relieve the enslaved and help them return home and begin a new life.
The nursing students were very interested in the plight of the trafficked victims through learning about identification and reporting.
The trips are funded by the Office of the Chaplain and the Co-Curricular Grant Fund.