Rachel Strobel is one of two students who had the chance to attend the Trust Women Conference after winning a contest that we ran at the Grace Hopper Women in Computing Conference. Here is her recap of the conference:
The cold crisp London air reminded me that I was really here; I was really in London. A little less than a month before, I never thought that I would get to visit London for a prestigious human rights conference with some of the most brilliant minds and icons in the field. I am only a simple graduate student and an aspiring activist. I could not believe that I was about to meet some of my heroes. When I opened the conference doors, I was expecting thousands of people but then I began to realize that the conference included a little over 300 people in attendance with 28 countries represented. It was an honor to be one of the few that could hear the words, stories, ideas, and experiences coming from the mouths of truly inspiring people that are changing the world.
The focus of the Trust Women Conference was to come up with tangible solutions for human trafficking, female genital mutilation, and women’s violence in the Arab Spring. I specifically research ways to counter human trafficking with technology so I was in my element at the conference and hanging on every word that was being spoken. My favorite panel focused on using business to counter human trafficking. I thought the ideas presented were excellent and I was able to hear from my heroes in the field like Lydia Cacho, Kevin Bales, and David Batstone. In addition to what I learned during the panels, I walked away from the conference with more questions than I came with.
The questions that have stayed in my mind drive me and have set the stage for this upcoming spring semester in graduate school. I am currently trying to build mobile applications for counter human trafficking specifically geared towards a foundation called Reintegra that works with survivors of human trafficking in Mexico City, Mexico. Attending this conference was a great encouragement to me in knowing that I am on the right track towards following my dreams and using my talents towards this issue. Thank you Thomson Reuters for all you do and especially for your Trust Law initiative; it is truly changing lives around the world.