During my freshman year of college, I had the privilege of interning for the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking. Prior to starting this internship, I did not know anything about human trafficking besides what I saw in the movie Taken. As comical as this may sound, this issue is horrifically underrated. Because of this, being able to educate myself through my internship with the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking was easily the best decision I have made in my life.
As soon as I learned about this internship, I started doing research about human trafficking and trying to learn as much as I could about the issue. I am unsure of why, but I felt drawn to this issue as soon as I started to learn about it. Once I received my review packet of information for the beginning of the internship, I was hooked. I started researching documentaries, reading books and scanning articles and opened myself up to a completely new world that I had known nothing about prior. After being able to learn as much as possible about human trafficking, I couldn’t be more excited to meet a group of fellow students who were passionate about the same issue and to learn what I could do in my daily life in order to make a change.
On the first day of orientation, I was overwhelmed by the amount of support and passion from my fellow interns. Within our intern group of fifteen college students, we had a mix of students ranging from aspiring law enforcement officers and social workers to journalists. Although we all had different backgrounds and career paths, we were all passionate about protecting others and making the world as safe as possible. We played “ice breakers” in which we had the opportunity to talk about our hobbies, passions, and interest in the issue of human trafficking. It simply cannot be said in words how refreshing it was to see people of all ages coming together in order to combat such an underrated issue- it was in this moment of learning about and talking to my colleagues that I realized that the memories I would make here would be priceless.
After orientation, we had set up a schedule to interview professionals who were combatting the issue of human trafficking in their everyday work lives. The Coalition had interviewed attorneys, detectives, medical technicians and other professionals. Being able to see how many different careers interacted with human trafficking on a day-to-day basis only confirmed my research in the fact that human trafficking the lives of everyone- whether you realize it or not. I had the privilege of interviewing Detective Frank Sabella from the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office. He explained to me his understanding of the issue, and had opened my eyes to further problems with arresting perpetrators, such as monetary blocks and language barriers.
We spent the rest of the internship compiling a video of the professionals we had the privilege of interviewing and attending a summit that was created by the administrators of the Coalition. I was so grateful to have such an amazing group of mentors who gave us experiences to hear an endless amount of perspectives about a grossly misrepresented issue in today’s world. The experiences I had interning with NJCAHT are some of the best experiences I have had in my life. Not only was I able to educate myself on issues I never knew about before, but I was supported and educated in such a way that I will continue to advocate for this issue for the rest of my life. If you are a student who wants to make the world a better place and learn as much as you can along the way, I cannot recommend interning with NJCAHT enough.
This blog was contributed by Victoria Adams, an undergraduate at Drew University. She participated in the NJCAHT 2018 Internship Program and is an Assistant Director for the NJCAHT 2019 Internship Program.
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