“I want to be a part of something bigger than myself and I want to do this for my own personal reasons. I think its passion and being invested in an issue that is important to you that is going to drive anyone’s desire to work in this space but also really understand what this work means.”
Interviewee: Dhakir Warren
Interviewers: Grace A. and Jillian M., Grade 12
Interview Date: March 7, 2017
Interview Location: Demand Abolition, Cambridge, MA
In our interview, we talked a lot about fighting the source of sex trafficking and ways that we, as students, can help. An ideal way would be to change the way people think and stop our culture from objectifying women. Of course, this is an oversimplified solution. At Demand Abolition, they tackle the source of the sex trade, which is the men who are willing to pay for sex. The culture that we live in normalizes prostitution and sex trafficking because women are seen as objects, not humans. We also discussed the rewarding parts of his job, like seeing the innovative ways that other parts of the company find to combat the trade or influencing important legislation. On the other hand, we discussed the challenges that Demand Abolition and all non-profits face; time and money. Some days it may feel like nothing is happening and that their efforts are for nothing. But knowing that they are at least trying can be rewarding in itself.
Walking into Demand Abolition felt like I was walking into a National Geographic office, with its lobby full of beautiful portraits of people in foreign countries. The work environment there felt productive and worthwhile; I instantly knew why people were drawn to work there. When I sat down to conduct the interview, I didn’t know what to expect. But what I found was that organizations like Demand Abolition encourage all people to be part of the social justice movement to combat problems plaguing our state, country, and world. I found that there are so many ways for teenagers and young adults to fight sex trafficking in our own cities and towns. This experience inspired me to want to invoke change in our negative misogynistic culture because I knew that my effort would be valuable to Demand Abolition. (Grace A.)
In the interview, I learned a lot about human trafficking in general. I learned how individuals typically become involved and about the transition back into society after experiencing human trafficking. I also learned about what laws are in place to help demand reduction, as well as different ways in which individuals can personally take action to help stop human trafficking. Mr. Warren spoke to us about challenges, such as time and money, as well as some of the tough situations he has been faced with. He also told us about what inspires, drives and pushes him to continue to work for social change.
This year in particular I feel especially called to social change. In Catholic Social Teaching in Action, the course this project is run through, I have learned a lot about what it means to be a compassionate person and to value your own needs as much as the needs of others. I have learned to recognize my ability to use what I am given to help those who are desperate. Visiting Demand Abolition only strengthened that call to social justice. It was interesting to hear personal stories and perspectives of those who are immersed in this challenge. It also gave me a look at what kind of career opportunities are available to those seeking social change and what qualities are required in order to succeed at it. (Jillian M.)