The International Department would like to introduce Aaron, who joined our organization in November and has shown a keen interest in applying his experiences to help develop DEPDC/GMS in a way which supports our mission statement and vision. Aaron brings with him the enthusiasm to work in several aspects of the organization such as grant writing, research and updating social media, among others. Over the last four weeks, Aaron has taken over the ‘Child Voice Radio’ show; an essential platform for disseminating information about human rights, health and the rest of the work undertaken here at DEPDC/GMS. He is also currently investigating how to generate podcasts of the show in order to reach a wider, global audience.
“My interest in human trafficking started during my role as a special constable in the Thames Valley Police force. I was always surrounded by vulnerable individuals but knew that I wouldn’t be able to identify a trafficked person if I had encountered one. So I took a few of the e-learning courses provided by the department and became familiar with the process in which the trade is conducted, those who are perpetrating the criminal act, the identification of potential victims and methods of prevention.
“I continued researching the topic in my spare time to include how criminal organizations were exploiting every possible avenue to traffic individuals. More surprisingly, to me at least, was how much of a growing health issue human trafficking has become. Having spent the last four years both studying and practicing Applied Biomedical Science; I thought that a hospital laboratory was about as far removed from the world of human trafficking as possible. I was wrong. Health care professionals are on the front line in the identification of potential victims and far too many trafficked individuals fall through the cracks in clinics worldwide.
“Apart from the identification of potential victims; health care professionals need to regard the trafficking of humans as a global health issue in respect to disease epidemiology. Communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis, to name a few, are endemic among trafficked persons, especially those involved in sex trafficking. Individuals who go unmonitored and untreated not only aid in the proliferation of these diseases but, a potential co-infection, for example with two different strains of HIV, provides a situation in which the virus can mutate. These issues therefore directly increase the health risk to the general public, but don’t even begin to cover the social impact of non-communicable disease, psychological distress or the escalation of organ harvesting.
“With so many aspects of my life being involved with potential cases of human trafficking, I figured it was time to have more direct involvement and was determined to volunteer with DEPDC/GMS. How better to tackle any problem than by working on the ground with those at risk, helping to prevent young individuals from becoming lost in the cycle, and even the possibility to help expand the work already undertaken here in Mae Sai and the other locations in which DEPDC/GMS operates.”