Monday, August 11, 2014

National Center for Civil and Human Rights

One great thing about moving to Atlanta is the fact that there are tons of things to do here because it is a big city and the capital of Georgia. Consequently, one of the first things on my to do list when I moved here was a visit to the newly opened National Center for Civil and Human Rights.  While most of the museum is devoted to the Civil Rights movement the third floor is called the Global Human Rights Gallery. The gallery begins with the quote below by the former US President Jimmy Carter, Georgia's most famous citizen. The first hall of the gallery has various photos from human rights struggles around the world. There was a big Ukrainian flag from the Orange Revolution that welcomed me as I entered the gallery and I was happy to see the struggles for human rights in my region of the world well represented. 

The main hall has personal stories of human rights advocates from different countries around the world. 

There was a video about the human rights struggles faced by women and girls.

The posts each revealed the human rights abuses involved with the production of things like chocolate, mobile phones, and coffee etc. 

A world map showing human rights abuses around the world and news of recent human rights abuses scrawling across the top of the map.

A more in-depth discussion of different types of human rights abuses in the United States. 

A photo of me in front of the new center and one of the informational posters about human trafficking.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Georgia's Not Buying It!

As a new resident to Georgia, I kept noticing these anti-trafficking campaign posters all around Georgia, in rest areas and on billboards on the main highways around town. It has been really interesting to see how developed the anti-trafficking movement is here in Atlanta and just how many organizations work on this issue. The above poster I saw in a rest area. The campaign Georgia's Not Buying It was sponsored by the Georgia Care Connection, an office under the Governor’s Office of Children and Families (GOCF) that also created the nation's first statewide response to address the needs of child sex trafficking victims and a statewide task force (GOCF) was established in 2008. They also run a 24 hour Georgia Cares Hotline that serves domestic victims of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) and here is the hotline number (404) 602-0068. They also sponsor six beds to help high risk victims and there are plans to establish a safe house in the future. It has been very interesting to learn more about the anti-trafficking movement here and see so many organizations and people coming together to work on this issue which has made the transition to Georgia much easier. I am definitely not in Kansas anymore (where the movement was in the developmental stages).  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Rest Area Human Trafficking Awareness Campaigns

On the move down to Georgia we saw a bunch of different human trafficking awareness campaigns in different states. It was really exciting to see so many signs raising awareness in different states and shows just how far the anti-trafficking movement has come since I first started studying this issue eight years ago.

I saw this sign in the middle of Missouri about a mile away from a highway strip club.

I found these signs in a rest area in Tennessee. Dependent on how you look at them you can see both a man and woman. They put these posters on the back of the bathroom stalls in both of the men's and women's bathroom.

I found these signs near the hand driers in another rest area in Tennessee. They were in three different languages English, Spanish, and (maybe) Vietnamese. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Back in the US and back to blogging!

After a very long hiatus from my blog I am going to attempt to start writing again on academic topics related to human trafficking and then my own experiences working and researching this issue. Since I last wrote (about a year and a half ago) I finished my fieldwork on human trafficking policy adoption and implementation in Ukraine, Latvia, and Russia. I spent the academic year 2013-2014 writing up the results of this research and successfully defended my dissertation entitled "Beyond the Natasha Effect: Determinants of Human Trafficking Policy Variation in the Post-Soviet Region" sponsored by a Social Science Research Council Eurasia Program Dissertation Development Award Fellowship. I graduated in August 2014 and then moved to Atlanta, Georgia where I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Clayton State University. The anti-trafficking movement is very strong in the city and there are a number of organizations working on anti-trafficking issues. The FBI named Atlanta as one of 14 cities in the nation with the highest incidence of children exploited in prostitution. It has also been categorized as a “Human Trafficking Hub” and named one of the Top 5 cities in the US for human trafficking in a number of newspaper articles although I am not sure if this statistic can actually be supported with data. Either way, moving to Atlanta will undoubtedly provide a number of opportunities to engage with and work in the anti-trafficking movement. I already have my students pegged to work with YouthSpark an Atlanta based anti-trafficking organization on two projects in place of writing a final paper. In addition to my anti-trafficking encounters in Atlanta, I also plan to post information and data gathered during my fieldwork in Ukraine, Latvia, and Russia so that this blog can also serve as a digital archive of the documents I gathered during my fieldwork research. Thanks so much for reading and I am looking forward to sharing my insights and work with you all now that I am back stateside.