All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don't. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.

Robert Kennedy

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Human Trafficking Awareness Festival 2013

In Romanian it was called: Festivalul Libertății
In Russian it was called: Фестиваль Свободы
In English we would call it the Liberty Festival. My organization along with the town of Cahul that I live in, was awarded a democracy grant from the U.S. Embassy. This grant was to fund a 10 month awareness campaign of human trafficking issues here in Moldova and the rest of the EU, Middle East and Asia. The Liberty Festival is a week of events to promote this awareness. It is the second annual such festival as we try and promote the dangers of human trafficking.
The week kicked off with a concert by Indian guitarist, Benny Prasad.
Benny is in the Guiness book of world records for traveling to all of the countries in the world in the shortest amount of time. He also plays his self-invented instrument which is a combination guitar/harp and bongo. 
Benny's one-of-a-kind guitar.
Benny has also traveled the world in promoting human trafficking awareness. 

Ross and I after the concert with Benny.
On Wednesday, visiting Psychiatrist Dr. Steve Critchlow of Belfast came to give a seminar discussing anxiety and PTSD in returned victims of human trafficking. Many social workers, psychologists and school nurses attended the seminar.
Dr. Steve Critchlow

Participants in the Anxiety/PTSD seminar.
Wednesday and Thursday, a local social theatre troupe called "Trust" traveled to local villages to perform a piece on Human Trafficking. 

My work partner, Vica, introduces the theatre troupe.

Typical Moldovan lunch break.

Some of the organizers with "Trust."

The theatre group was great. I will be sitting down with them later this week and interviewing them. Stay tuned...

Friday morning, we had a round table discussion with local NGO leaders, border patrol guards, local police, local politicians as well as the Peace Corps Director from Moldova and a representative from the U.S. Embassy.
Nicholae Dandish leads the discussion.

Michael Ball from the U.S. Embassy describes the current projects combating trafficking the Embassy is sponsoring.

The U.S. Peace Corps Country Director for Moldova, Janet Utecht with Marta Dunas, organizer and translator.

Ross and I with Janet, the country director.

And finally, after a long week, we ended with a concert from local band, AKORD and singer Cristina Croitoru.

Moldovan Band "Akord"

Singer Cristina Croitoru. (Check out her heels, she danced around like they were sneakers)

So, it was a long week, a lot of work and we are all exhausted. But it was successful. Lots of work still to do to combat this plague but at least there's a jumping off point.

Our T-Shirts. Stop human trafficking.

The organizers with the band Akord and singer Cristina Croitoru.

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