Since 1999, I have been working on the issue of human trafficking. Due to the work that I have done, I have seen a lot of heartbreak, exploitation and greed. I have also had the chance to assist many people who were exploited be able to rebuild their lives and accomplish their goals. In 2005, I was asked to go to Guatemala to assist them with their Anti Trafficking efforts. That trip was the first of many trips to other countries to assist them in various aspects of combatting human trafficking.
9 years and 30 Countries later, I am still traveling abroad training law enforcement, Judges, Immigration officials, Consular officials and service providers on how to identify, assist and protect victims of domestic servitude, labor trafficking and sex trafficking. The most amazing part of these trips are the fact that I am able to learn about human trafficking in other parts of the world and how it intertwines with what is taking place in the United States. It truly is a learning experience for all who are involved.
Today I am writing to you from Paraguay. I left on Saturday afternoon from Tampa International Airport and did not arrive to my destination until Sunday at 4:00 p.m. As soon as I arrived to the hotel, I showered and then went to bed.
After much-needed rest, I made it to the training facility eager to educate others as well as be educated myself. Today was the opening ceremony of the Human Trafficking Training in Paraguay. Under the Organization of American States Protocol, this is something that is practiced at every training conducted. During the training, members of the OAS and The Ministry of Justice will welcome those in attendance. It truly is a sight to see!
So far I have had the honor of meeting the US Ambassador, James H. Thessin, the Attorney General of Paraguay, Director of Immigrations of Paraguay and Comisario General Of the National Police in Paraguay. As of this morning I was advised that there were over 100 police officers, prosecutors and judges in attendance. This is truly amazing!
During my trip, not only will I be accompanied by members of the Organization of American States Anti Trafficking in Persons unit, but I will be co presenting with Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent Jose Ramirez, International Center for Missing and Exploited Children training coordinator, Katia Dantas and Prosecutor Miguel Rivas from Costa Rica.
I look forward to sharing more of my experience while in Paraguay. Please come back tomorrow and see what else I have shared.