This summer I embarked upon a five-week internship to Omaha, Nebraska, USA.
As a Law student interested in gender and justice, and particularly the victimisation of sex workers, I spent much of my third year researching internship opportunities that reflected this interest.
After months of emails back and forth to organisations all over the world, I found an unlikely but perfect fit – an internship with “Rejuvenating Women” (RW) – a anti-sex trafficking organisation based in Omaha, Nebraska.
I have to concede I never imagined myself choosing to travel to Nebraska when 49 other, more commonly visited States beckoned. However, this internship was not about tourism or sightseeing – it was about gaining practical exposure to the anti-sex trafficking fight. This internship allowed me to practically assist in a number of ways:
- Reviewing programming and policy for the organisation to better serve victims and survivors of human trafficking.
- Speaking at the University of Nebraska and to the Omaha Legal Professional Association to educate others on trafficking in the U.K and in turn, an opportunity for me to learn more about U.S-specific issues
- Developing research documents to help the charity improve their publications.
- Trying to establish links between RW and agencies
- Giving tours of RW’s Restoration Home to officials and guests
My pre-departure concerns about the internship were numerous. I had to source my own accommodation in Nebraska. I found a host family to stay with for the duration of the internship and on reflection, my concerns were needless – I gained a second family and I am so grateful for their input during my free time.
I was also concerned about how I could assist an organisation like RW in such a short time – I didn’t want to be a burden. However, I was able to review the organisation’s policy in its entirety and do so efficiently and appropriately, using the knowledge gleaned from third year studies at Edinburgh University.
Post departure reflections:
To attempt to put into words what I have learned from my internship would be to do it an injustice. Instead, I can only summarise by saying that it afforded me first hand exposure to the broad problems in the fight against sex trafficking e.g. racial tensions, religious discrimination, sexuality-based discrimination. I gained life skills useful not just in the work place but in broader civic society.
I am grateful to RW for the opportunity. I am also indebted to the University of Edinburgh’s Principal’s Go Abroad Fund for providing me with the funds to make this life-changing opportunity a reality.
Pictured with a fellow intern outside the Nebraska State Capitol building after a day of speaking engagements and meetings