Sex slave trade fo­cus of trip to Europe

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By RHI­AN­NON MCCON­NELL

The re­al­i­sa­tion that life wasn’t all about her led a 21-year-old med­i­cal stu­dent to take a break from her stud­ies to vol­un­teer at an or­gan­i­sa­tion res­cu­ing women from slave labour.

Kate Fitz­mau­rice has com­pleted three out of six years of her study to­wards be­com­ing a doc­tor but from April will be work­ing as an op­er­a­tional in­tern in Thes­sa­loniki, Greece, with the A21 Cam­paign.

‘‘This one night I just could not sleep. I kept think­ing about wak­ing up and re­al­is­ing how my life was all about me and how I’d missed the point.

‘‘We grew up with the motto of ‘to whom much is given, much will be re­quired’. I want to live my life like that. I pretty much de­cided that night,’’ she said.

Fitz­mau­rice will be work­ing with vic­tims of hu­man trafficking in an af­ter­care shel­ter for girls who have es­caped or been res­cued from sex slav­ery.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion takes only three in­terns per in­take and has hun­dreds of ap­pli­cants.

‘‘I wasn’t re­ally ex­pect­ing to get it.

‘‘I’m su­per-ex­cited, but I also don’t know how to feel be­cause I don’t know what it will be like un­til I get there.’’

The Tawa res­i­dent said she be­came aware of how big of a prob­lem hu­man trafficking was after read­ing a book on it last year.

‘‘A year ago I hardly knew any­thing about it. Not many peo­ple have a grasp on how big it is.

‘‘We think we have got over the slav­ery thing, but it’s at the worst it’s ever been.’’

Upon her re­turn at the end of the year, she will fin­ish her de­gree.

‘‘I am hop­ing one day medicine will take me back to peo­ple over­seas like th­ese girls.’’

Photo: RHI­AN­NON MCCON­NELL

Good heart: Kate Fitz­mau­rice, 21, is tak­ing a year off her study to help res­cue women from sex trafficking.

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