People who are new to human rights work discover some pretty amazing things about the world and themselves. So we thought it would be good to check-in with our summer interns about what they’re discovering as they support Free the Slaves.
Research: Alex & Anna
Alex Woods, a graduate student at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, first learned about Free the Slaves while taking a course on contemporary slavery and human trafficking. Originally from LA, Alex began her career in development and is now researching our programs in India, tracking the results of the antislavery efforts by FTS local partners. As she sees the development of these communities unfold, Alex says, “It has really shown me how resilient and powerful we are as humans, especially when we work together. It has made me more impassioned to continue this abolition work as I can see the impact of the work FTS is doing. It is truly transforming people’s lives.”
Anna Hall, president of Grinnell College’s Free the Slaves chapter, came to Free the Slaves this summer in order to better understand the organization’s structure, methods, and goals. As a research intern, she has been investigating the status of women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite how difficult such stories of exploitation are to read, Anna believes that the more she learns the better she can contribute to the movement to end their suffering “The most inspiring part of working at Free the Slaves,” explains Anna, “is hearing about and reading the stories of individuals across the world who are mobilizing to claim freedom for themselves and their communities. The work I do is important only in that it better enables others to be the heroes of their own stories.”
Policy: Ashlyn & Carmen
Ashlyn Clark, a senior at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, joined Free the Slaves because of the scope and multilevel approach to its advocacy efforts. This summer, she has immersed herself in our policy team’s work, advocating for bills on business transparency along the supply chain and SEC rulings on conflict mineral provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act. While at Free the Slaves, Ashlyn describes, “I have gained a much stronger appreciation for all the work that takes place both in the office and on the ground with FTS, and I have rediscovered my passion and commitment to fighting against human rights abuses through our governmental system.”
Carmen Murphy, a second year law student at Ohio Northern University College of Law, is creating tools to help people engage with their legislators and help people understand the legislation FTS supports. Carmen came to Free the Slaves with significant international experience, serving in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Mexico, and Cambodia. While in Cambodia, Carmen came face to face with slavery. “When I was at a safe house, I met a four-year-old former sex slave, who held my hand and called me sister.” Carmen credits this experience as determining her future career path of targeting slavery through her work.
Danielle Melfi was first introduced to Free the Slaves after organizing a fundraiser at Loyola University Maryland. After founding a college chapter on her campus, she came to Free the Slaves to learn how grassroots activism operates on a broader level. “My job as a Development Intern,” explains Danielle, “is to make people feel the work of Free the Slaves come to life. Our work lies at the heart of the organization, as we unite Free the Slaves’ multifaceted approach to spread awareness and gather support for our work around the world.” Learn more about Danielle’s work this summer by following her blog with mtvU’s Against Our Will Campaign!
Editor’s Note: FTS welcomes interns every semester at our Washington, D.C. headquarters. Descriptions for the Fall 2012 intern positions can be found on the FTS website.