Human Trafficking 101: End of Internship
As I disembark from the metro, pass through the metal detectors, and make my way through the electronic gates, I realize that it is the last day of my internship at the United Nations in Vienna, and three months has passed. I wait for the elevator and listen to the chatter of languages being spoken around me: Arabic, French, Spanish, German, Russian and English; as it dawns on me, I am going to miss this place - and the reality that I should have learned more languages.
I will miss the gourmet lunches; the high-tech coffee machine with eighteen different options; the striking view of Vienna from my office; and the extensive international news and magazine selection - but really - I will miss my UN.GIFT colleagues and our international team.
I will remember the time I spent diving into the topic of human trafficking, sometimes head first and occasionally coming up for air to reflect and ask questions. The subject of human trafficking is not an easy one, but there has been progress made: greater awareness, increased legislation and convictions - although there is still a long way to go.
During my internship, I was fortunate to be able to attend the Fifth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The conference marked the tenth anniversary of the landmark Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
Only three years old, UN.GIFT has accomplished a lot: an array of publications and research; VITA tool; virtual knowledge hub; Vienna Forum; joint programmes; private sector engagement; small grants facility; awareness raising campaigns; public service announcements; art and photo exhibits; Business Leaders' Award; Luxor Forum; regional events; Women Leaders' Council; Global Report on Trafficking in Persons; Start Freedom for Youth; study exchanges; capacity development tools; and parliamentary outreach. And the most impressive feat of all is that UN.GIFT's activities have almost always involved multi-stakeholder collaboration.
It is time to pack my suitcase for Norway and carry with me all of the knowledge that I have gained - hoping soon to share it.
Ashley Allen started her internship with UN.GIFT in September 2010. She is a student at the University of Stavanger in Norway and permanently resides in Norway. She is working on a Master's in Migration and Intercultural Relations. She recently attended the 2010 International Summer School in Forced Migration at the University of Oxford, and conducted research on protracted refugee situations at the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford.
The Intern's blog section is an open space for discussions on human trafficking offered by the UN.GIFT.HUB.
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