twenTY someone: Alia El-Sawi

Hometown:Jonesboro, GA

College:Mercer University  Graduate: Boston University

Age: 29

Occupation: Victim Assistance Specialist for Homeland Security Investigations

1. Describe your job in three words: Fluid, overwhelming, fulfilling.

2. So, what exactly do you do? Assist victims of human trafficking, child sex tourism, child pornography and other violent crimes. I conduct interviews of survivors of these types of crimes and help link them to appropriate resources while my agency initiates federal investigations against the criminals. I help victims with trial prep and their victim impact statements during prosecution. I am also responsible for conducting outreach and trainings to law enforcement, attorneys, medical professionals, social service providers, students, and the general public about human trafficking. The trainings I give are on the local, state, regional, national, and international level. The purpose of these trainings is to give a basic understanding of human trafficking to each of the agencies that can assist this particular population. 

3. What can people do to help? Educate oneself and help promote awareness of the issue of human trafficking…look beneath the surface.

4. What keeps you going? Knowing that the individual I am assisting has a higher likelihood of striving and becoming self-sufficient and stable since they are removed from their victimization.

5. How has your upbringing influenced your work? I was raised by both parents who immigrated to the United States thirty years ago. I believe that because of their struggles and obstacles they faced in becoming acclimated to U.S. culture, I naturally gravitated towards wanting to assist the immigrant population. In my current position I work with undocumented, immigrant victims of federal crimes so I feel like I am, in a way, being the voice to the voiceless.

6. People take this for granted: Our freedom and ability to make choices freely.

7. Favorite book? Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy.

8. One thing you would change about the world? I wish that greed would be replaced by love.

9. You know this to be true: With every difficult situation that God presents to an individual, it is only an addition to the strength that is being built onto that individual…you are not given more than you are capable of handling. 

10. In ten years you will be…married with 3 healthy children and completing my work at Headquarters in DC before moving elsewhere to settle down.

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