Megan McGinnity (’03) won Arizona State University’s prestigious Circumnavigators Scholarship to travel around the world studying the economics of human trafficking.
The Circumnavigators Scholarship, which is sponsored by the Phoenix chapter of the International Circumnavigators Club, underwrites a summer’s study-travel program that requires a student undertake work on at least three continents. The scholarship is awarded on alternating years to one ASU student.
McGinnity’s project will research human trafficking, examine which organizations are effective in prevention, and learn about what policies work and which fail.
“Ultimately I hope first and foremost to hear the untold stories of victims of trafficking and to contribute in some small way to their future by exploring which NGOs provide the most effective and sustainable assistance programs,” she says.
At the end of the summer she will produce a policy research paper that Gannon Sims at the U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Office (TIP) has expressed interesting in reading.
McGinnity is currently spending a year studying in Iasi, Romania. Once her study abroad program is completed, she will begin her summer sojourn in Washington, D.C. There she will visit a number of NGO anti-trafficking headquarters and meet with experts on human-trafficking prevention. She is also hoping to schedule meetings with Rep. Jeff Flake and Sen. Jon Kyl.
After Washington, D.C., McGinnity will travel to Brussels, Belgium to compare European Union and U.S. approaches to trafficking. She plans to meet with representatives from European governments and non-profit organizations.
McGinnity will leave the Western world upon finishing her interviews in Brussels and depart for Ghana. In Ghana small and large NGOs collaborate to address the issue of child slavery in fisheries.
Her next stop after Ghana will be Kigali, Rwanda, which will serve as a case study of government programs for street children and the emergence of NGOs after a history of genocide. From Rwanda she will fly to Uttar Pradesh, India, to observe small-village prevention and microcredit programs. After that, it is on to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Cambodia is well known for having a major sex-trafficking industry. In Phnom Penh, McGinnity will examine nonprofit social enterprises to investigate attempts to prevent sex trafficking and rehabilitate its victims.
McGinnity’s last step is in San Jose, Costa Rica, where she will examine the illegal-migration aspect of human trafficking.