We kicked off the #FreedomTour with an amazing press conference on September 11th in Bucharest, Romania.
All of our partners were in attendance and together we sent a strong message that we must prevent human trafficking in Romania.
Here are a few quotes from that morning…
”We are all responsible to find ways of supporting the victims and fight those who exploit them” Charge d’Affairs in Romania, US Embassy Bucharest,
”We are glad to be here alongside our partners, to mark the beginning of
the tour, symbolically called #FREEDOMTOUR, which will bring prevention messages throughout the country, using the voice of young volunteers. We want human trafficking to stop making victims amongst the youth and ANITP will try to find the most innovative solutions to prevent and inform about the existing risks.” Deputy Director, ANITP, Marius Cătălin DRAGOTĂ
”Bancpost’s support in the fight against Human Trafficking is our way of stating that once we know, we choose not to ignore, but rather to do something about it. Our involvement in the fight
against human trafficking is something that has no end and goes beyond us and the individuals involved. It is a project that we will launch to be continued by anyone who wants to help and carry it forward. The ultimate goal? To protect and save from hardship even one single person. Think about it! Is it worth it?” Executive President and CEO of Bancpost, Anthony C. HASSIOTIS
Our first city on the tour was Ploiesti, Romania. When we arrived in town, we went straight to AFI Palace mall where we handed out flyers and gave people the opportunity to get their photos taken with the “I am a free person” signs.
Some of our team went off to a local NGO who works with vulnerable young people. We were able to share not only about human trafficking, but how they can protect themselves from traffickers looking to take advantage of their situation. We finished the full day in Ploiesti with a visit to a local church (Biserica SOS) where we screened the film Nefarious and did an interview on their radio station.
The second city was Pitesti, Romania. We arrived on Sunday night to an event for young children in the Razboieni neighborhood. We were encouraged to find a wonderful local church who has dedicated themselves to the families in the neighborhood. They shared stories of numerous families/young people who were affected by human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Monday was the first day of school in Romania. The regional staff of ANITP (National Agency Against Human Trafficking in Romania) we able to attain permission for us to pull the #FreedomTour van right into the pedestrian-only area in the center of the city. It was strategically located in between a few different schools. We were able to collect 100s of our “Freedom Fighter” declarations and pictures with the “I am a free person” campaign. After our time doing the street campaign, we were able to meet up with Iana Matei from Reaching Out Romania. Iana has been one of the women leading the fight against human trafficking in Romania for well over a decade! She has literally worked with 100s of girls who are survivors of human trafficking. After our long day in Pitesti, we drove onto Craiova, Romania.
We had two full days in Craiova. On Tuesday afternoon, we had an event with the American Corner of the local library. We owe a HUGE thanks to our partners at the US Embassy in Bucharest and the help of the American Corners in the local libraries! High school students ended their second day of school with a presentation on human trafficking and how they can help prevent it.
On Wednesday, we met with the local ANITP representative and headed to a community on the border of Romania & Bulgaria. Calafat is a town of around 16,000 people. We were able to meet with the Chief of Police and then headed over to the local high school for a prevention class. Many of the students joined the fight against human trafficking by becoming a “Freedom Fighter.” In the afternoon, we drove back to Craiova and were able to split into two groups and do interviews on television. It’s been great to connect with the local media across the country. We’re thrilled to be able to continue bringing the issue of human trafficking in Romania into the light! We ended the day with a screening of Nefarious at a local church, Biserica Baptistă Alfa şi Omega. Many people told us that local churches would not be willing to talk about the issue of human trafficking. However, in each community we’ve found pastors who are unafraid to discuss what’s happening in our culture. They are unafraid of taking a stand against the injustices of this world. They are not afraid to lead their congregations in loving people!
We’ve prepared a video of highlights from Part 1 of the #FreedomTour. We hope you enjoy!