Taking a Stand to End Human Trafficking: HPC Fellow Alma Vazquez

Alma Vazquez is a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow working with Covenant House. At Covenant House, Alma advocated for survivors of human trafficking. In her blog, she reflects upon the impact of advocacy work.

In my time as a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow with Covenant House, my experience has been life changing. I’ve been able to learn and help many to understand the true reality of human trafficking. Many are blind to the idea that human trafficking is an escalating and very serious issue. It’s an issue that’s happening right under their noses.

By educating people about what human trafficking really is and ways to prevent it, it opens up one’s mind to really look out for red flags and ultimately try to make some sort of change on this continuing reality.

Red flags to look out for include:

  • Seeing a young female with an older guy
  • Seeing young girls on the block trying to prostitute themselves
  • Seeing young women frequently monitored and not in control of their own money, financial records, or bank account

The list goes on and on.

The reality is that many girls are too afraid to speak out because they feel nobody will believe them. Many girls fear they will be judged. They fear that someone will say they are just seeking attention. Because of these reasons, advocating for girls who are survivors of human trafficking really made me change the way I see and interpret this world. I knew that all it took was one voice. One voice that could potentially save the life of another young woman or man.

We also have to keep in mind that men can get lured into human trafficking. When a survivor speaks up about their experience and what they had to go through, it is no easy task. Male victims of human trafficking face an additional stigma.

Over the course of this fellowship, I learned that being an advocate for survivors helps create a cycle for many young girls to be able to open up about their experiences. By opening up, they are able to bring change into the way society views human trafficking.

During my fellowship, I had the opportunity to attend many Anti-Human Trafficking Coalition meetings. From attending these meetings, I learned that there is a full community working on bettering and bringing safety to many girls that have experienced human trafficking. Being part of their team has really been an amazing experience, and I have learned so much from attending meetings and meeting very important people from many different organizations such as Safe Horizon, Restore, Sanctuary for Families and so many more.

Knowing that I am able to have a voice for many of these girls really warms my heart because as a survivor I know what it feels like to think that nobody out there cares. Overall, when a survivor feels like someone does care and wants a better life for them, it ultimately changes their perspective of life and it gives them a sense of wanting a better future for themselves.

I will continue to work and be a part of the many opportunities provided to end human trafficking.

About The Hilton Prize Coalition

The  Hilton Prize Coalition  is an independent alliance of the winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through three signature programs—the  Fellows Program, the  Collaborative Models Program  and the  Storytelling Program—the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat,  Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit  prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact  prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow  the Hilton Prize Coalition on  Twitter and  LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

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