January 11, 2010 - 12:00am
A graduate of Middlebury College's Chinese language degree program, Valkyrie Anderson (IPS '09) came to Monterey two years ago with dreams of becoming a translator or interpreter. Inspired by a commitment to social justice, however, she questioned this path. She chose the policy program instead, applying her language abilities in the development and human trafficking fields.
Valkyrie first became aware of human trafficking issues while studying abroad in China. The plight of young girls selling flowers on the street in Beijing sparked her empathy and intellectual curiosity, leading her to study these issues further.
Last summer she traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam and interned for the United Nations Inter-Agency Project (UNIAP) on Human Trafficking, which connects and coordinates regional counter-trafficking efforts among governments, UN partners, and NGOs. Valkyrie conducted research on bride trafficking between Vietnam and Taiwan.
Valkyrie also fell in love with the Vietnamese people. Through friendships, she explored the issues facing young students, who often migrate to Hanoi and struggle to afford their studies. These personal connections shape her work: "Empathy will be important for my future work in anti-human trafficking - listening to stories and transferring that empathy to an audience who might not be able to relate otherwise."
Valkyrie continued her research fall semester through a directed study on "Bride Price and Human Trafficking in Vietnam" with professor Nuket Kardam. After graduation, she hopes to find a job in the anti-human trafficking field. Visit Valkyrie's blog.