Campfires & Campaigns: Young people tackle human trafficking in Belarus

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Human trafficking is something that seems to happen somewhere far from us. Many people think that slavery is a holdover from the past. But then arises the question: why are there still millions of victims of labor and sexual exploitation, organ removal and economic abuse? The answer is clear. Human trafficking is the problem of the modern world that we cannot underestimate.

With such thoughts in my mind I was leaving for the youth summer camp “Learn.Act.Share” organized by IOM Belarus. I was ready for learning, as any conscious action starts with knowledge. Every day I had a unique opportunity to meet with experts in the field of counter-trafficking and related fields as well, such as gender equality, HIV prevention, Internet security, children’s rights protection, etc. I admire those people as all of them are highly qualified specialists who are really committed to what they do. Their experience and adherence inspires me, it means that if they can do something – so can I.


Participants at the summer camp.


After the camp we opened a new facet of our personalities – readiness to act: I’m going to organize the training on safe migration, employment and studies abroad for students I work with at school; Kostya will tell his groupmates about refugee issues; Vlada will create a social video on the matter with her colleagues; Nikita will create a network of volunteers. And these are only our first steps!


Summer camp activity. 


Some people say that global problems cannot be solved as it is impossible to change the whole world. Indeed, it’s very difficult to stop human trafficking as it is a crime that brings a lot of money for traffickers. It will take time. However, I believe in our success because we will make it together. By uniting our efforts and supporting each other’s initiatives, we won’t let anyone get into trouble, we will help and we will make our world better.

You can view a video from the summer camp here.

Maria is a facilitator at a school in a small town called Zhodino close to Minsk in Belarus. She likes traveling, rock and roll, learning new languages and making post cards. 

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