One Nashville researcher has won a million dollar grant to determine which strategies make a difference in ending human trafficking and forced labor around the world. By some estimates, more than 200-million people, including children, are forced into labor under dire conditions.
Last week, at a hearing of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Tennessee Republican Bob Corker said this nation has to be a leader in ending the international problem of modern day slavery. He said the federal government can use its clout to insist on change and to shine light on the issue. "One of the easy to produce outcomes is to make sure people are more fully aware and that parents understand what is happening in various countries with their young ones."
That’s where Cecilia Mo comes in. She’s a political scientist at Vanderbilt. Mo recently won a grant from the US Labor Department for her efforts to figure out what kind of public awareness campaigns actually make a difference, especially in China and Nepal. But she admits the root problem goes deeper than a lack of information.
It is heartbreaking to see those families where they know about human trafficking. They know that their daughter could be taken away but they also know that their daughter could end up, make money, potentially be abused, but make more money than they could make in their community, so they take that chance.
In addition to Mo’s grant, federal money is also going to international groups that attempt to intervene directly.