Monica Bailey, 3L
I cannot believe I have less than two weeks left in Manchester. It has gone by so quickly, it doesn’t seem possible that this amazing internship is almost over.
Have I happened to say how incredible the staff is here? My favorite time with the team is morning prayer. We write the requests on a window with a white board marker, then everyone stands up and away we go. As each person prays, others in the room can be heard saying “Yeah, God. Come on God.” They have such faith that the Lord has already gone before us and is working in all the details of our lives, the lives of the trafficked people being rescued, the lives of law enforcement and social services. We spend a lot of time thanking Him first, then we ask. It is a really moving and inspiring time. I will never forget it.
Last week I was blessed to be able to attend a meeting in a nearby city for a labor trafficked man from eastern Europe. *Joel’s situation was classic. Lured by the promise of a decent job and living accommodations, he left his village and ended up in a cycle of abuse; the traffickers stole his documents, locked Joel into a house every night, gave him meager portions of food and paid him a tiny sum for many months of work. Joel was in a country where he did not speak the language, could not prove who he was, and had no means to get back home. Thankfully, Hope for Justice had trained some outreach programs in the area on how to spot signs of forced labor. Someone in Joel’s community took him to a place where the staff contacted Hope for Justice, whose legal team was able to take him to the proper authorities where his statement was taken and he was classified as a labor trafficking victim. Through the hours we spent with Joel, he maintained a stoic composure. When, at the direction of the police, the interpreter asked Joel if he felt traumatized by his situation, Joel’s eyes welled up with tears. Even strong men can find themselves in a humiliating and helpless situation under the skilled manipulation of a trafficker. We are looking forward to seeing justice for Joel and the prosecution of the group of people who have been abusing many others like Joel.
Last night several of the office staff went out to the Curry Mile, an area in Manchester with a diverse and vibrant Asian and Middle Eastern population. We went to an amazing restaurant where I tried Pakistani food for the first time. So many different flavors and smells. It was colorful, beautiful and delicious! The weather was good and it doesn’t get dark here until after 10:00 pm, so the cafes were open and many people were out enjoying dinner or a hooka pipe. England was playing Ukraine and you could hear shouts along the street as the game went on. The Brits REALLY love their soccer. It was a great evening!
I will really miss being a part of the team of Hope for Justice. It will be good to get back to life in Va. Beach, but it has been equally good to be a Mancunian for a bit!
Many thanks to all those who gave so that I could be here. I am hopeful that the research I have done will be helpful in allowing Hope for Justice to build partnerships in our country and gain even more understanding of the scope and effects of human trafficking in the United States and other parts of the world.
*Joel’s name has been changed to protect his privacy and the investigation
– Monica Bailey, 6/21/12