Through my semester internship with Richmond Justice Initiative, I am learning about the importance of educating others. It seems like such a simple notion, but when it comes to the issue of human trafficking, many people are unaware of how prevalent it has become in our modern world, and they believe instead that slavery is completely obsolete.
Personally, when I saw “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls” a year and a half ago, I was completely naive to the existence of human trafficking. I had no way of foreseeing how the film would alter not only my career goals, but my life passions as well. I now value the importance of knowledge on these significant issues more than I ever have before, which is why one of my primary objectives as a Richmond Justice Initiative intern is to educate my fellow peers.
I chose to show the documentary “Sex + Money: A National Search for Human Worth” as an awareness event on the University of Richmond campus. The documentary focuses on the mission of photojournalists traveling across the United States in hopes of understanding how the sexual exploitation of children has become such a growing form of organized crime and such a despicable human rights violation.
I collaborated with three student organizations, as well as various professors to promote the event. The event turned out to be extremely successful, with over sixty guests attending. The documentary event was even featured in our Collegian Newspaper. As a next step for viewers to take action, I announced the upcoming national campaign event “Stand for Freedom” on the University of Richmond campus, which I am helping to organize with former RJI intern Joell Maisano, and President of S.S.T.O.P Bethany Marcelle. We hope to have the same turn out as we did for this documentary event and even greater!
My internship experience with the Richmond Justice Initiative has been extremely rewarding. I have enjoyed dedicating my time to planning events on the University of Richmond’s Campus, assisting at RJI hosted events, as well as becoming overall more informed on the prevalence of human trafficking. Richmond Justice Initiative is truly a remarkable organization to be a part of, and I am honored that I have had the opportunity to work with such a sincere group of individuals.
Cara Mikkelson, Junior at University of Richmond