Alexa Price ’13 fights for human rights with Innocents at Risk
As Centre gears up for a new academic year to begin, students are wrapping up summer internships across the world. Alexa Price ’13 spent her summer making a difference with Innocents at Risk (IAR) in Washington, D.C., with help from a Centre Internship Plus scholarship.
“IAR is a nonprofit founded to fight child exploitation and human trafficking,” Price says. “The mission is to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking locally and globally.”
Price became interested in working against human trafficking—a crime that has become a $32-billion industry affecting two million women and children every year—in a class at Centre.
“The issue caught my attention after taking International Migration and Immigration last CentreTerm, one of my favorite classes I have taken at Centre,” says Price. “It focused heavily on forced migration and I was shocked to see how prevalent and lucrative trafficking in persons is today.”
Since its founding in 2005, IAR has worked directly with the Department of State as well as embassies and ambassadors from around the world, and in 2009 made a partnership with the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI. The organization is playing an aggressive role in ending human trafficking.
“Though IAR is a non-profit, it partnered with U.S. Customs and Borders Protection and the Department of Transportation to create the Blue Lightning Initiative, a program that teaches flight personnel to recognize and report signs of trafficking,” Price says. “Working with an organization that intersects government and nonprofit work provided me a unique understanding of the ways in which D.C. functions. Human trafficking is incredibly complex, so collaboration and approaching the issue from all sides is vital.”
Through her internship, Price was given opportunities to talk about her work and interact with important political figures on a daily basis.
“I attended a variety of congressional hearings and conferences, started a blog on IAR’s website to share my experiences, wrote articles to update supporters and worked with other nonprofit organizations, national authorities and foreign ambassadors for awareness events and benefits throughout the summer,” she says.
Several experiences stand out as highlights of her internship.
“I attended Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s release of the 2012 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report,” she says. “I also traveled with the director of IAR and fellow interns to the Dominican Republic to volunteer at Niños de Cristo, a permanent home for children, many of whom are trafficking survivors.”
Price thinks of the trip to the Dominican Republic as a capstone to her internship.
“IAR’s service trip to the orphanage was my favorite memory from the entire summer. It was an unforgettable experience because I had the opportunity the apply everything I believed in and learned throughout my internship,” she says. “Child trafficking has turned adoption into a dangerously lucrative industry and some of the children at Niños de Cristo have been victims of trafficking themselves. Niños de Cristo Orphanage possessed an incredible sense of community and we felt so welcome. I still email a few of the girls I met living at the orphanage.”
Seeing their work in action in the Dominican Republic proved to Price that IAR is making an international difference.
“The people involved with this organization are so dedicated and passionate and we received so much support for the trip,” she says. “It was a very special place and it’s great to feel like we can look back and see tangible results.”