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This fundraiser ended on 06/30/10

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I will be spending six months researching push/pull vulnerability factors which increase the risk of human trafficking for the Roma (Gypsy) of Eastern Europe. I will be working with the European Roma Rights Centre in Budapest and Bulgaria.

As part of my work with the Human Trafficking Clinic, I was recently offered a fellowship opportunity with the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), the world's leading Roma rights organization, in Budapest, Hungary. I will spend approximately three months working in the organization's main office in Budapest researching instances of Romani human trafficking in the media and preparing a report which will be included in the ERRC's comprehensive human trafficking report to be disseminated at a conference on December 10, 2010. 

Following my work in Budapest I will spend three months in Bulgaria doing field work and research for a policy paper to be co-published by the Human Trafficking Clinic and ERRC. The research aims to explore the push/pull vulnerability factors which increase the risk of human trafficking for young Romani women. In order to conduct this research I will be working in Romani neighborhoods in Sofia, Plovdiv, Pazardzhik and Bratsigovo.

As most of you know, I have been actively involved in Roma rights and anti-human trafficking work since my time in the Peace Corps. One of the most disturbing trends which I found in Eastern Europe is the incredibly high levels of racism and discrimination directed at the Roma by majority populations. While living in Bratsigovo I became incredibly close with the Romani community and found them to be some of the kindest, most generous people I have ever come across. Despite this, approximately 10 million Roma across Europe live in abject poverty with incredibly high levels of unemployment and illiteracy stemming from a vicious cycle of racism and discrimination. Due to their marginalized position, the Roma are at an extremely high risk of human trafficking. Although many studies have superficially stated that trafficking of Roma is a growing problem, very little in-depth research has been conducted on the matter. The results of my research will be groundbreaking in both the human trafficking and Roma rights fields. 

I consider myself incredibly lucky to have this opportunity to combine two of my passions while contributing to efforts to ameliorate the situation of Roma across Europe and abolish modern slavery and human trafficking. Unfortunately, due to the specialized nature of this project very little funds are available to support me in my research. Although I will be contributing a significant amount of my personal funds to this project, I still have a way to go in order to reach my goal. 

Without your help, my fellowship and research will not be possible. The money I raise will help support me for my six months abroad while I serve as an unpaid researcher. It will be used to cover housing, living and research expenses.

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