Written in partnership with Luke Lintz
Human trafficking has turned out to be one of the biggest crises plaguing modern society. It is a scourge that has become not only embarrassing but also startling to global leaders. The trend has continued for so long, despite concerted efforts by countries and international organizations to stem the tide. Bothered by these rising cases, Katya Karlova is lending her voice to the concerted call for an end to human trafficking.
Being a model and a professional career woman, whose family had migrated to the US when she was only a child, Karlova can’t help being bothered about the high rate of human trafficking going on around the world. It is even more worrisome to think that her home country of Moldova has one of the highest cases of human trafficking today.
“It’s a big issue in Moldova,” Karlova admits, concerned.
Katya Karlova, a first-generation immigrant to America, is an alumnus of UCLA where she earned her bachelor’s and received her master’s at the University College London. While studying at both schools, she conducted research on human trafficking and wrote her undergraduate and graduate thesis on the subject — specifically focusing on Eastern Europe and Moldova. She is also building her profile as a model, public speaker, brand influencer, and mental health advocate.
She hopes that being in the spotlight as a brand influencer and model will help her draw attention to the worrisome nightmare of traffic in humans. Modeling, according to Karlova, is not merely about being seen but about using that popularity efficiently as an advocate and a voice that helps people in society.
According to research, the Republic of Moldova happens to be one of the biggest countries for human trafficking. Victims of trafficking are usually children and women, most of who are sexually exploited for profit.
Facts reveal that a good percentage of victims of trafficking are people with social or economic vulnerability. They’re coming from a poverty-stricken environment with no hopes in sight, so the promise of a better life seems appealing. Previous abuse may also make victims susceptible to being trafficked. Unfortunately, the reality is far from the truth when these persons eventually are lured out of the safety of their homes or countries.
Many migrants are sweet-talked into moving abroad for a better life because they want to support their families from where they’re coming from. Governments of countries, therefore, have a vital role to play, not just in educating people but also in ensuring there are jobs for their people to do.
That is perhaps why Karlova says, after carrying out extensive research into the crisis of human trafficking she’s working on focusing on global governance and how it works. In the future, Karlova would like to use her extensive background on the subject to work more intensely with advocate efforts.
To checkmate trafficking activities around the world, UNICEF has been very vocal and proactive over the years, calling the attention of international bodies, governments, and politicians to the crisis of modern-day slavery and child exploitation.
Indeed, all hands must be on deck if the war against trafficking will be won. While we may not be certain when that will be, Karlova’s commitment to be an advocate and join the campaign to stop sexual assault and trafficking in person is unflinching. Her resolve runs deep, her involvement being birthed by her own peculiar experience and background.
However, Karlova may have to slow down a little when it comes to human trafficking advocacy. That’s because she’s aware that she may be dabbling in dangerous water. She recalls a time when two reporters were shot dead because they had been digging into human trafficking cases in that country that may have implicated highly placed government officials.
Aside from her interest in advocacy, Katya Karlova is also interested in helping people fix their mental health. In a recent interview, she offered counsel on the importance for people to check their mental health and give themselves a break if need be. However, it may sometimes be required for people to simply step out of their comfort zone, according to her, and exploit new territories.
In helping people go through challenges, Katya Karlova says she’s also shaping her success story. She’s stepping out of her comfort zone to do the things she loves modeling, public speaking, and having fun while at it.
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