Alexandra Wolf
Inter­na­tional Rela­tions, 12’
Global co-​​op in Mae Sai, Thailand

For the last five months I have been working at the Devel­op­ment and Edu­ca­tion Pro­gramme for Daugh­ters and Com­mu­ni­ties Centre in Mae Sai, the north­ern­most city in Thai­land. The NGO was estab­lished in 1989 to work on the pre­ven­tion side of the traf­ficking of women and chil­dren into the sex industry or other exploita­tive child labor situations.

Working with the local com­mu­ni­ties in Northern Thai­land helped me realize that tack­ling human traf­ficking into the sex industry is absolutely crit­ical. Reading about human­i­tarian issues in books, in research jour­nals, and online is one thing—but nothing teaches you more than actu­ally going to live in a com­mu­nity where you can see the issues for yourself.

As part of my co-​​op, I have had the oppor­tu­nity to learn about the inner work­ings of an NGO from its direc­tors, staff and inter­na­tional vol­un­teers. I have also learned a great deal from the chil­dren and com­mu­nity mem­bers whom we work with, who have opened me up to an entirely new way of life.

My job respon­si­bil­i­ties include working on media aware­ness, writing grants, fund-​​raising, building rela­tion­ships with other national and inter­na­tional NGOs and teaching Eng­lish. In working along­side the Thai staff and other inter­na­tional vol­un­teers, I have par­tic­u­larly enjoyed spending time with the incred­ible youth of our Border Youth Lead­er­ship Training Pro­gramme, who I will soon get to see grad­uate as the organization’s next youth leaders.

Although my co-​​op will end in August when I return home to resume classes, this oppor­tu­nity has had a pro­found effect on me. Learning about the awful crimes of sex traf­ficking and child exploita­tion has rein­forced my interest in and com­mit­ment to working on the pre­ven­tion of human traf­ficking in Thai­land, South East Asia and around the world. I now know that this is an issue that I hope to ded­i­cate myself to throughout my career.