Katia Stefanatou is the 2012 New York Global Citizenship Fellow.
On Tuesday, January 29, with the help and support of New York University student groups and the NYU UNICEF Club, I hosted a screening of the documentary film Not My Life at NYUâ€™s historic Tishman Auditorium. The goal of the event was to raise awareness about human trafficking, offer opportunities for attendees to take meaningful action to fight the issue, and to promote the U.S. Fund for UNICEFâ€™s End Trafficking project. The screening was followed by a lively panel discussion, featuring prominent leaders of the anti-trafficking movement: Rachel Lloyd of GEMS, Dorchen Leidholdt of Sanctuary for Families, and our own Jennifer Chan.
As the New York Global Citizenship Fellow, I organized and hosted the event. I was responsible for securing the venue, creating the eveningâ€™s program, lining up an interesting panel of speakers, and acting as the Master of Ceremonies. After months of preparation it all came seamlessly to fruition with over 300 attendees, including a diverse crowd of undergraduates and law students, concerned citizens, UNICEF supporters and volunteers, and representatives from like-minded organizations.
The speakers were incredible. All experts in the field, they each covered different aspects of the issue with a fair balance between local and international perspectives. The moderator, Christine DiDomenico, Vice-President of NYUâ€™s Anti-Trafficking Advocacy Coalition, asked very thought-provoking questions that allowed for rich discussion. Rachel Lloyd touched on the connection between a vast array of social justice issues and human trafficking, including poverty, sexism, classism and racism. Dorchen Leidholdt is a legal services expert and provided great insight into what the U.S. government could do to improve legislation to prevent and address human trafficking. Lastly, the U.S. Fund for UNICEFâ€™s Jennifer ChanÂ highlighted the importance of raising awareness in our own communities and introduced the audience to UNICEF’s innovative and holistic approach to child protection.
The evening was a testament to the momentum that has been growing surrounding the anti-trafficking movement! It is because of events like these, which are hosted by eight fellows around the country, that more and more citizens can get educated about and inspired to combat human traffickingâ€”all working towards the day when ZERO children are exploited and trafficked.