Job Creation to Combat Trafficking

Posted by Kaylee K on Thursday, September 21, 2017 Under: Response
This is an interview with John after we spent three months in Europe focused on collaboration and partnership building with refugee ministries and individuals.

Q, When you headed to Europe, what did you know about the impact of trafficking on unaccompanied refugee youth?
A. When we started our journey in May,
I sensed that trauma and the vulnerability to being trafficked were the issues I should focus on and learn about over the summer. I had contacted some global anti-trafficking organizations and learned that trafficking happens in different ways and that there is no manual for prevention. There are similarities within global regions, but each community is different and to be successful, prevention and rescue efforts are best when done by local people who understand their community contexts.

Q. What did you learn about the experiences of refugee youth this summer? What impacted you most?
A. What surprised me the most, was learning that some refugees understand the risks of being trafficked, but resort to taking risks when faced with no alternative to earning income to eat and live. That realization broke my heart and led me to investigate how to help refugees start businesses using the skills they bring with them.

Another surprise I encountered was that governments tend to care for separated children until they turn 18. However, once someone turns 18 they are suddenly treated as an adult and lose protections and support. This was a primary driver for me to investigate avenues for refugees to start businesses to support themselves.

Q. What do you feel could help this situation? How?

A. I’ve met organizations in Paris and London (and learned of one in Berlin) that are helping refugees incubate new start-ups; similar to a traditional business incubator. I also researched micro-enterprise (which is different from microlending, and microbusiness) and am working with an organization on a model that could work in Europe.

Learning about the travels of these youth, I grew to appreciate their resourcefulness and resiliency. Hopefully, this is something employers will also learn to appreciate.  Wouldn’t you want to hire someone with the courage to cross the desert and the sea, the persistence to not quit, and the resourcefulness to survive?

Q. What are your next steps? What do you hope to accomplish?
A. Later this month I’ll have my next conversation with the organization I would like to partner with for micro-enterprise. I can learn a lot from them and envision doing great things with them. I will also continue dialogues with organizations in London and Paris who are actively pursuing similar goals. I would like to be able to work with people who have synergy rather than create something from scratch. We also visited a center in Wales that has developed a lot of solid programs for refugees, including those in the age group we’re focused on. We are exploring an opportunity to work with them for a time in the new year as we can learn a lot from each other and, potentially, launch some programs together.

In : Response 

Tags: trafficking  asylum-seekers  jobs  europe 

Blog Authors

John and Kaylee Kolditz Kaylee founded Refugee Connect in 2008. John joined the work in 2011 as we investigated the refugee situation in Europe. But our faith and cross-cultural journeys have been a work-in-progress for many years. Much of this blog reflects that. ************************************************ We met in Austin, TX, while volunteering at a serving event at Gateway Church and have been married since 2002. Marriage, parenting and ministry all require a great deal of intentionality, humility and true reliance on God for strength, wisdom, and grace. It is a journey we are grateful to be on together. Ultimately, what matters to us is building into meaningful relationships in ways that, to the best of our ability and by God's grace, demonstrate the love and hope Jesus freely offers to us all. ************************************************ We bring both business and ministry backgrounds into our current work. John started a business in his 20's and helped build several other businesses. He has also served with churches in a variety of roles including as an assistant pastor, director of community development, and missions board member. Kaylee left her marketing career to become the global missions director for our home church in Austin, TX, then founded a local refugee ministry, and became TEFL certified (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) in order to prepare for our work overseas. We have led short-term teams domestically and internationally, and served with a variety of cross-cultural ministries. In 2008, we sensed a call to build into the church in Europe, which was also around the time when God broke Kaylee’s heart for refugees. Since then, God has continued to weave together this heart for refugees, desire to serve alongside the church, and focus on His call to Europe.

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