In MATp, which was introduced to us by the school,, a team of 5 people collaborated with the MISSING girls foundation to educate ourselves and spread awareness about the nature of sex trafficking.We attended sessions by the MISSING foundation and explored the resources provided to us to make online content and conduct awareness sessions about sex/ adolescent education, cyber safety and sex trafficking.We decided to do this as although we were aware about the gravity of this issue, we lacked any substantial knowledge about it and wanted to take on the challenge of educating ourselves and others on an important issue and attempt to make a difference.
This required a lot of dedication and commitment from my end as even though all of the meetings and sessions were in after school hours or non working days and hence, I changed my schedule to accommodate those accordingly, and a lot of additional research was done to ensure that we were producing factually accurate content was required as well. Additionally, continuous script writing within deadlines while trying to keep them interesting was mentally exhausting, but yet it was done within time. The time commitment averaged to about 2-3 hours per week. Preparing for engaging and informative sessions required rounds of feedback and rehearsals as well.
One of the benefits of a collaborative effort was the division of tasks equally and according to each person’s strengths/weaknesses and making consensual decisions.( I was the content writer)Additionally, feedback sessions on each piece of content produced were common and all feedback from everyone was considered. This made us produce the best possible work in minimal time and allowed everyone to contribute. We held regular update meetings to stay aware of the timeline and the current status of our work, which were on Mondays after school. This instilled a sense of responsibility in us, since we knew the work of others depended on us as well. Another end from where collaborative work was required was with the team leaders and teacher in charge, in order to organise awareness sessions and schedule sessions with the MATp team, according to everyone’s schedule.This continuous collaboration ensured smooth communication between the students/the MATp team and us, allowing us to prepare and organise ourselves well in advance for conducting and attending the sessions. Collaboration was essential from many ends for the success of this project and helped develop skills like, time management, conflict resolution, effective listening and speaking, constructive criticism and respect.
This experience allowed me to engage with a very prominent but often ignored global issue, i.e, human trafficking. It helped me realise how privileged and vulnerable I am simultaneously.One form of engagement included educating about the who,how, what, when, where and why of the issue through interactive sessions with the MATp team, establishing a cause and consequence relationship and also learning how can the issue be prevented at different levels -personal to global.The information in these sessions was eye opening. We engaged ourselves through creating social media content(youtube videos and instagram posts) on our learnings from the sessions and promoted the handles, this type of engagement, as we were actually responsible for dispensing the content allowed us to visualise the numerous scenarios in which trafficking could take place and how little we are doing of all we can do to prevent it.The last method was conducting sessions with younger students, which allowed us to realise how sensitive and stigmatized the issue can be . This inspired us to take action and play our part in the solution as we are also a part of the problem.
Ethical decision making was essential at every stage of the process, since this project consisted of conversations on sensitive topics like gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual exploitation etc. We needed to think about the impact of what we spoke/wrote/ created or posted, before actually doing so.There was a fine line between putting your opinion forward and acting disrespectful and inconsiderate.Ethics during sessions were essential as we had to respect different viewpoints, respect privacy and create a safe space without judgements. I contemplated on what choices I made(would they be ethical?) in terms of sharing opinions or information(outside of the session). While making content and conducting sessions, we had to make sure that we were using age appropriate language and not any triggering or explicit statements while still getting the message across, as the content could be consumed by any audience. Our content had to be ethical in terms of viewer’s sentiments and impact. Another ethical decision was to abide by copyright and avoid using something, if we are unsure about it’s permissions(audio and pictures) as our content was public, even if it meant some compromising, as it would be unethical to use work without correct citation. Before this I felt that it is not possible to have conversations regarding this issue, as it was too sensitive and taboo but now I believe that, if done correctly mindsets can be changed.
-Inquirer->I constantly wanted to dig deeper into information about the issue and what could be done as a solution
-Reflective->I always reflected back on the quality of my work and aimed to improve it based on my personal opinion and feedback
-Knowledgeable->I gained immense knowledge about an issue I was previously ignorant about and I used that knowledge to educate others and spread awareness.
Attending a cyber safety session by the MATp team
Conducting an awareness session about trafficking
One of our follow up meetings
Example of scripts I have written
Examples of chats