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Happy Wednesday! We’d like to introduce you to a new feature on the No More Traffik blog: Volunteer Spotlight! There are some incredible world-changers doing incredible things around Northern Ireland, and we want to tell you their stories. First up, we have Rachel who has been volunteering in the No More Traffik office for the past few months.

Name?   Rachel McCluskey

Age?       22                              

Where do you volunteer? I’ve been working with Gemma, Pete & Carys in the office every Wednesday. I’ve been one of two volunteers in the office and most of my work has been within the realm of media and messaging. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself (school, college, work, hobbies and interests)? I’m going into my final year of university, studying for a bachelor’s degree in Community Development. I spent some time in America living and working with TWLOHA and I guess I’ve been spending the last while trying to figure out life here again. It’s taking a little longer than I thought. I love people, the ocean and telling stories. One day I hope to write a book, but right now I blog and take pictures.

How did you first hear about human trafficking? Honestly, I’m not entirely sure. There must have been one time when the reality first entered my periphery but it only started to resonate with me within the past couple of years.

Why is human trafficking something you are passionate about stopping? I am passionate about people and people knowing their worth. I stand up for women and I defend men. The power of communication is something that I hold tight to, and the thought that it is often stripped away from people deeply unsettles me. People are not meant to be bought, people aren’t meant to be sold, nor do they deserve to be abused. I believe that human trafficking can be stopped by activists and communities who are willing to champion and fight on behalf of those who have had their freedom stripped away at the hands of others. That’s the type of community I want to be a part of.

What made you want to get involved with your STOP THE TRAFFIK group/No More Traffik? My best friend leads the STT South Belfast Group and despite always being supportive of her fire and passion about the cause, I never thought that I could get involved too. However, we talked about it a bunch and the reality is if it matters to you, you have to act. In January I started my 3rd year university placement with No More Traffik, and I’ve been loving working with creative, and driven people passionate about seeing human trafficking end in their lifetime. 

What kinds of things have you been involved in with your STOP THE TRAFFIK group/No More Traffik? Like I said, I have been mostly focusing on NMT’s media and messaging presence, so that involves a lot of what we put out on the blog, our website and our social media platforms. I helped Gemma with our International Women’s Day campaign, which included organising a couple of events. In the office I work with Gemma, Pete and Carys and have recently spent some of time discussing what the next year looks like for NMT in terms of themes and events, how we can get the network actively involved and how we can educate more people in spotting the signs of human trafficking!