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CREC Metropolitan Learning Center for Global and International Studies to Host Fair to Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking

(Bloomfield, Conn.) Sydni Naylor, a student at CREC Metropolitan Learning Center for Global and International Studies (MLC), Bloomfield, joined the school’s Student Abolitionists Stopping Slavery (SASS) club because she wanted to help raise community awareness about modern-day human trafficking. “It was such a strange experience to disassociate from myself and think what it’s like for someone so unfortunate to have such a fate bestowed on them,” said the 14-year-old. It is estimated that nearly 40 million people are enslaved today, with many being trafficked right in Connecticut.

Naylor hopes the public will want to learn more about this issue by attending MLC’s 13th annual Abolitionist Fair: The Struggle for Freedom on March 15 from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The goal is to raise awareness about human trafficking and other human rights issues that contribute to it, such as poverty, conflict, and discrimination.

“This will be the largest fair ever,” said Matthew Carrier, 15, SASS co-president and an Enfield sophomore. He noted that more than 15 organizations and schools have already signed on and include the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, the International Institute of Connecticut Inc. (Project Rescue), and Heifer International®. An assembly will also feature Gordon Ramsay of the Connecticut Underground, an organization that brings attention to sex trafficking and exploitation. Ramsay recently worked with the Department of Children and Families to create a school-wide curriculum to reduce trafficking in the state, which has become a growing problem among young people. A panel of experts, who will take audience questions about trafficking, will follow his presentation.

The students will also take a creative approach to raising awareness through music, art, displays, movies, interactive educational games, and skits. Among the highlights will be the Walk to Freedom, a museum exhibit with more than 50 displays that students created to explain the historical struggle for freedom from the 1600s to the present.

A popular game every year is the Human Board Game. Students walk a life-size board and encounter setbacks as they advance to the final winning space called “freedom.” The fair will also feature a new game focused on the millions of girls worldwide who are enslaved as child brides.

“This fair matters because it raises awareness, especially for young kids these days,” said Alexander Santiago, 17, of East Hartford and SASS co-president. “It’s left as something for older people to address and attack, but younger people are the ones to create change for the future.”

Schools, community groups, and the public are welcome to attend the fair at 1551 Blue Hills Ave. For more information, contact Nancy Geffken at ngeffken@crec.org or 860-242-7834.


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