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“We may not be able to change the world, but we can make a world of change to the people around us,” said US Senator Cory A. Booker. “Just a smile, just a kind act, just a note of encouragement can transform the spirit of another person on their journey.”

Senior nursing students at United Nations

Senior nursing students and the faculty in the general assembly of the United Nations.

Twenty nine senior nursing students and five faculty visited the United Nations with Rev. Sherry Karasik, the college chaplain to attend seminars about the issue of human trafficking in the world. They were given a private tour of the United Nations building and spent the afternoon with Carol Smolenski of ECPAT which is a worldwide organization devoted to ending human trafficking in all areas of society.

The nursing students learned about the different types of trafficking, the causes, such as poverty, kidnapping, and false promises of a better life; and how to recognize and report victims of trafficking. Often times in very impoverished areas, parents will give up their children for slave labor, many thinking that they are on their way to something better. Sometimes, it is just a matter of one less mouth to feed. Some may be kidnapped and forced into the sex trades or brought to the US to work as housekeepers, sweat shops, salons, or the sex trade thinking that they will eventually be able to pay back their passage and gain their freedom. What is not understood is that they are undocumented and will never be able to pay back the debt. The problem is so widespread that there is a world-wide effort to train people to identify the enslaved, especially children. There have been efforts in the hotel industry to sign agreements to not hire enslaved workers and hotlines are available to report suspected abuse (888-373-7888).

Programs for recovery and education relieve the enslaved and help them return home and begin a new life. The nursing students were very interested in the plight of the trafficked victims through learning about identification and reporting. Chaplain Sherry Karasik will be taking another group to the UN on February 20, 2013. The trips are funded by the Office of the Chaplain and the Co-Curricular Grant Fund.