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27 August 2013
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Trainee Portrait: Navjot Sanghera
"Adventurous, unpredictable and rewarding", says Canadian student Navjot Sanghera about her internship at Payoke. She is currently doing her Masters in Political Science and History at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and works in a shelter for victims of sexual violence. "This internship expanded my view on exploitation," says Navjot. "Human trafficking is more than just prostitution."
Navjot is an ambitious young lady who already has experience in caring and supporting victims of sexual exploitation. Every Friday after school hours she heads to the shelter in Vancouver and then works through to Saturday. "It's not always easy work, but very interesting. I eat with the victims and I am on call in case a crisis situation occurs."
"In the shelter I met some victims of trafficking. I wanted to know more about the subject and therefore applied for an internship at Payoke. Along with intern Lucile Smith I worked on a manual for doctors in order to involve them in the identification of victims. I also assisted victims of trafficking when they visited their embassy in Belgium. I was an eyewitness to the degrading discrimination that many victims have to endure."
"The cultural differences sometimes made it difficult to help the victims, especially the language could be a barrier. Some English words or phrases do not exist in other languages. Also the emotional aspect was not always obvious. There is a great difference between performing administrative tasks and actually working with victims. I think the latter will never be routine for me. Sometimes I get too attached to people. That can be an obstacle."
"The marginalization of victims of trafficking interests me. It is not easy for them to go through the Belgian integration procedure. They come from the other side of the world, speak different languages and have lived all their lives in another system. Then they suddenly have to learn a lot in a short amount of time. I understand why language and integration courses are important, but they also put a lot of pressure on someone who is psychologically and physically exploited."
"Thanks to my internship at Payoke I now have a broader look on human trafficking. My knowledge of trafficking was previously limited to the sexual exploitation of women. I am a feminist and suspected that there would be a gender dimension to trafficking. But men are trafficked as well. I still recognize the importance of gender in sexual exploitation, but trafficking is more than just prostitution."