Delegate Spotlight | Economically Speaking: Maria's Passion for Economics and How it Can Combat Human Trafficking
by Zachary Thomas
“My thesis may not provide the solution to end this human sacrilege, but at least it can contribute to the fight and hopefully provide the possibility of getting a step closer to its culmination, however small that step may be.” Maria Bora knows one thing for sure: that she has a passion that she wants to act on.
Maria is a rising senior at Boston College where she pursues a degree in economics. She has been involved on campus with small events that have a global aid oriented mission such as Fuego del Corazon, a Latin dance group that has performed at events to raise awareness such as one put on by Global Zero, which raised awareness against nuclear warfare, and that has won awards and donated the prize money to foundations such as the Veronica Robles Cultural Center, which aims to promote Latin American culture and provide children with bilingual education. Yet, for Maria, there was something missing. She wanted to do more, to have a substantial impact. “I have always wanted to form some type of club or organization on campus in order to combat human trafficking or help rescued victims. Since human trafficking is something that truly gets under my skin and since I have not yet gotten around to making my own organization, I decided that I could start helping out by writing my senior thesis on human trafficking and linking it to economics. At the end of the day, human trafficking is a business with an intense amount of demand and supply growing each day. I hope that I will be able to identify a specific problem in human trafficking that I can analyze and solve with the help of economics." Maria takes the issue of human trafficking and uses her field of economics to grasp the focal points of the issue and formulate a plan to combat it.
She decided to delve further into human trafficking, a complicated issue that claims thousands of victims annually. “Human trafficking has always been something that has really affected me emotionally, for reasons that I myself do not really understand, [and] I thought it was worthwhile to pay closer attention to it. After seeing several Ted Talks and interviews on the matter, I came to the conclusion that human trafficking is not widely talked about much. Sure, we have all seen Liam Neeson kick some human trafficker butt, but I don’t believe we think about human trafficking as much as we should or as as big of an issue as it actually is. These are human beings that we are talking about, getting enslaved for the exploitation of their bodies; and this is happening in the year 2015!”
What really affects her is how the victims actually become victims. “Almost all the victims are promised false prospects in order to get them to voluntarily sign up for a life of slavery. When those living in major poverty are guaranteed a better life with new job possibilities elsewhere, they do not really have the sources to know nor do they have the luxury to believe that it is all scam. In desperate times, we as humans want to believe in the hope that escape is possible. Like this, human traffickers have taken advantage of millions of men, women and children all around the world.” After further investigation, Maria found that human trafficking is not something that only affects developing countries. About 100,000 children are trafficked in the United States and most of this happens at large events like the Super Bowl. Disturbed by this statistic, Maria has moved with swift resolve to get involved in helping end such an atrocity. “My goal is not to write a well-written, A+ thesis that regurgitates already existing data. That would just be plain useless and a waste of my time. I want my thesis to have meaning and to be useful. However in order to achieve that I need to know what is already known and what needs to be researched, what the right questions to be asked are and how to go about answering them.”
At the 7th Annual Millennium Campus Conference, Maria hopes to find inspiration from both the speakers and her fellow delegates. She strongly believes that collaborating with other delegates on how they can tackle these big issues will be where the best solutions will be generated. Not only will others’ knowledge increase her own awareness, but she hopes to be able to expand upon their ideas by adding her economics perspective. She has her goal, she has her resources and she knows that she wants to help the victims of trafficking; what she also hopes to find is a plan. “With any luck I will be able to recognize a specific problem in the human trafficking industry [because of these discussions] that needs a detailed attacking and thus be able to develop the base that I need.” Maria feels the power that she and her fellow delegates will have at this conference while they discuss issues of the global conscience. “Those of us who have the power to help should most definitely do so and that is why I applied to be a part of this conference in the first place. We are the future and we will one day lead the world to its next stage. Whether that is a livable, prospering world or a world where we can’t breathe our own air and where we are capable of trading and exploiting our own species for personal benefit is up to us.”
Maria is just one of the many amazing delegates already registered for the 7th annual Millennium Campus Conference the United Nations from August 11-15th where she, along with others from around the world, will come together to think, connect, and act to challenge the paradigms that perpetuate inequality and to redefine the world around us. Apply at mcc15.org/delegateapplication to join the movement and promote social change!