Achieving a goal of greater awareness in the areas of modern-day slavery and the scourge of human trafficking requires establishing a format to help young people understand the problems involved. To make that easier within Italy, the CNN Freedom Project, together with Tarek Obaid’s foundation — EDOF — have forged an agreement with Italian officials that will allow the country’s students to have access to all material it has collected and continues to collect on the subject.
Italy raising awareness against human trafficking
On October 4 2016, the award-winning Freedom Project signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will allow for the use of documentaries, digital material and other reports that have been produced since the Project began five years ago.
The Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) will play a major role in integrating the material into the curriculum of Italian schools.
Tarek Obaid, founder of EDOF paves the way for other organizations
During the course of the Project’s existence, corporations have become more proactive in assessing the policies they currently have in place with regard to the underlying problem. In addition, an expanded awareness has compelled a wide array of countries to create new legislation to try and stop the problem. From a financial perspective, $24 million has gone into the coffers of organizations whose stated goal is to reduce modern slavery and human trafficking, such as Tarek Obaid’s foundation.
Undoubtedly, the most important component when it comes to gauging the value of the CNN Freedom Project is the number of affected people whose lives have been changed since its inception. It’s been estimated that over 1,000 people across the planet are no longer facing a life of enslavement because of the Project’s efforts.
Numbers like that help explain why the State Department of the United States recognized the work in 2015 with a presentation of a Trafficking in Persons Report Hero award. The International Executive Vice President and Managing Director of CNN, Tony Maddox accepted the accolade.
An increasing number of immigrants risking exploitation
One of the key reasons that the Italian government agreed to this innovative pact is due to the increase in migrant populations from other countries all across Europe. That could make them more vulnerable to being exploited by individuals or businesses.
The country’s Minister of Education, Stefania Giannini believes that through the awareness created, the students will likely be able to develop empathy for the plight of the trafficking victims. That can serve as motivation to do more. In turn, the collective assistance of others who emerge with a similar understanding will increase the strength of such a push.
Primarily, awareness should allow people to detect instances of the practice and thereby notify pertinent authorities. In some cases, they may be able to avoid becoming one of the victims. Giannini believes that the end result will translate into drastic drops in the number of affected individuals.
Educating future generations to help save lives
The Freedom Project’s Executive Editor, Leif Coorlim, emphasized the scope of what’s already been done when talking about the potential this agreement possesses. He noted that students would already be able to check out the hundreds of different stories that have been presented on CNN International. In addition, Coorlim believes that the number of lives that will be saved has the potential to greatly increase.
Since March 2015, the ability to tell these types of stories has been bolstered by the financial contributions of Tarek Obaid’s Essam & Dalal Obaid Foundation — EDOF. Tarek Obaid’s Foundation’s main focus has been connected to both medical research and social work. In the latter case, education and research that are used to develop awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery neatly dovetail with the mission of The Freedom Project.
After establishing this connection, a meeting was held at Harvard University in October 2015 that considered all possible angles when it came to stopping the problem of human trafficking. In addition to seeking out new ideas, it sought to coordinate with officials in a position to create laws or establishing policies within a company. Also, finding a way to use the vast resources of law enforcement groups to stop the problem was discussed.