Global Citizenship: End Trafficking in L.A.
This February, UNICEF’s Global Citizenship Fellows graduated after a year of service on behalf of UNICEF. As the first group of fellows to graduate, they look back at some of the highlights of their year. Sarah Yun was the Global Citizenship Fellow for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s Southern California Regional Office.
Two years ago I found myself standing at an epicenter of drug trafficking — the infamous Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia — home to the hugely lucrative illicit opium trade. But I was waiting to assist the victims of a different kind of trafficking, a group of North Korean refugees. Many of the women and children I was waiting for had been trafficked into marriage or for adoption. As the refugees’ protection officer, it was my responsibility to win their trust and safely escort them to a shelter where they would await processing to go to another country. This experience had a profound effect on me and inspired me to join the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s End Trafficking campaign.
The End Trafficking project seeks to raise awareness and mobilize communities to take meaningful action to help protect children. In partnership with concerned individuals and groups, End Trafficking aims to bring us all closer to a day when there are ZERO exploited children. As last year’s Southern California Global Citizenship Fellow for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, I was fortunate to be able to help educate Angelinos about this issue.
I assisted in organizing two events in L.A. that highlighted UNICEF’s child protection work. The first was a Speaker Series luncheon organized through the Southern California Regional Office for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. It featured a clip from a documentary on global child trafficking, Not My Life, and a panel of speakers: UNICEF Child Trafficking Specialist Dr. Susu Thatun; and former Administrator for the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force, Professor Sandra Morgan. Later that evening, we held another End Trafficking event with the U.S. Fund’s young donor group, Next Generation. The event featured the 30-minute version of Not My Life as well as a presentation and discussion with Dr. Thatun. Next Gen in L.A. is currently fundraising for UNICEF Child Protection projects in Vietnam, so this event was instrumental in educating the members for their fundraising efforts.
With these two screenings we were able to inform a broad audience, including some highly regarded professionals in the field, on the effects of trafficking and how to best take action. We dispelled common myths, and raised awareness of child trafficking not only abroad, but also in our own backyard. With eight fellows across America holding End Trafficking events, the ripples of this campaign are spreading farther and farther toward a day when there are ZERO exploited children.
Sarah Yun was the Global Citizenship Fellow for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s Southern California Regional Office. Sarah served as a UNICEF spokesperson and a community mobilizer for volunteers, students, educators, faith leaders and community members that support UNICEF’s mission of child survival and development. She is a native of Los Angeles, but has lived in Boston, Bangkok and Cape Town. While working at a refugee shelter in Southeast Asia, Sarah served as a case manager for North Korean trafficking victims and has been involved in anti-trafficking efforts since.