Curiously Aware

Thursday I attended an event to support survivors of human trafficking, something that we all need to be aware of as travelers, especially as we embark on new adventures alone. I interviewed some incredible women with amazing stories tell, and I learned so much about the work they are doing to empower survivors.

Hailing from the beautiful island of Grenada, founder and CEO, Andrea D. Charles has combined her life experiences, her city girl lifestyle, her passion for make-up artistry, her savings and her commitment to making a difference to launch the City Girl Beauty Project. She spent years listening to stories of women as she prepped them for photo-shoots and runways allowing them to look beautiful on the outside even though they felt broken and defeated on the inside. She heard their stories and hid their marks, and for a moment the make-up and lights allowed them the shine and smile. With the City Girl Beauty Project she hopes to empower those who are survivors, so that they may feel beautiful and strong inside and out.

Andrea D. Charles

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Emmy Award -winning Journalist Cathleen Trigg-Jones, the event host for the night, shared with me the amazing work she has done covering and sharing the stories of women who are survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence. She has worked to cover stories to bring attention to modern day slavery as a result of human trafficking and assisted in passing the first Violence Against Women Act. Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence incidents are happening world wide and she informed me that New York City is actually one of the “hotspots” for those trying to lure people into human trafficking. Knowledge is power. The more you know, makes you more aware, and makes you strong.

Cathleen Trigg-Jones

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The event would not have been complete without wonderful make-up artists on hand to glam up attendees.From make-up to body paint Glitter Me NYC  did a phenomenal job! I couldn’t resist stopping by after my interviews to add a little sparkle and paint to my outfit. Check out the cool butterfly Melinda did! And its a perfect match to my dress :)

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The mission of CGBP is to inspire, and acknowledge heroism among survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking in the most beautiful, glamorous and honorable way possible. Proceeds from ticket sales and the silent auction are being invested into their Heroic Beauty Workshop.

The Heroic Beauty Workshop uses beauty & leadership to empower survivors. The objective is to empower and reconnect survivors with their inner beauty, self-worth, and leadership qualities to help them become leaders. The workshop is facilitated by using the power of colors, makeup artistry, beauty, character building, leadership, self-development skills and challenges.

The workshop runs from September to November annually and Girl Beauty Project partners with it’s allies – domestic violence and human trafficking organizations, shelters and outreach programs to select program participants. For complete details, workshop schedule, criteria and dates for the ‘Heroic Beauty Workshop, send an email to info@citygirlbeautyproject.org.

How to Prepare for Your Next Trip

  • Travel with contacts. Carry the number of your embassy in the country to which you are relocating. Inform your embassy when you arrive. Have a list of phone numbers of friends or contacts in the host country. Call them when you arrive.
  • Travel with an emergency plan. Provide your family members back home with all of your contact details. Call them and give them your new phone number and address when you arrive, as well as the phone number of your embassy and the local police. Should something go wrong and you lose contact with them, or they cannot reach you, have them call your embassy, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the local police on your behalf.
  • Know your rights. No one has the right to force you to do something or keep you against your will. If you are trafficked, you are the victim of a crime. You may have entered a country illegally, but you still have rights. You may be in “debt” to your trafficker, but this is not a legal debt. You do not have to honour it. If your human rights are being violated, you are the victim of a crime.

Before I travel I obtain U.S embassy, hospital, and local police information and provide my emergency contact with my itinerary, my hotel accommodations, and who I will be traveling with.Visit http://travel.state.gov for more information on travel advisories, how to obtain a visa, and information on embassy locations. How you do you prepare for a trip and remain aware during your travels?

You don’t have to live or travel in fear – enjoy the sites, the food, and the people. Just remember to always be curiously aware of your surrounding.

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Explore, Dream, Discover! Wishing you happy and safe travels!

Until next time -xo AGT

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