MIIS Students Found NGO:

One Less-Una Menos 

has proven itself as a Strong Human Trafficking Awareness Organization

Sheena Nayak, Alethia Jimenez, Michelle Gregory and Mindy Chiang

Alethia Jimenez, Sheena Nayak,  Michelle Gregory and Mindy Chiang

by Amy Beck

When I asked Mindy Chiang, one of the co-founders of One Less-Una Menos, about the most important lesson she has learned at MIIS, she told me that she learned not shy away from trying to do something big. And Mindy certainly has done something big. Along with four of her classmates, Mindy started an NGO, One Less-Una Menos, a human trafficking awareness organization. Mindy and the other founders, Alisha Ngyuen, Sheena Nayak, Michelle Gregory and Alethia Jimenez, were inspired to create One Less-Una Menos after their team project for their Data Analysis class. The project compared the degree of women’s empowerment to the incidence of human trafficking. They quickly found that there is not a lot of data on human trafficking, the main source being the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. One of their main conclusions was that, “the TIP report is not the most neutral take on Human Trafficking.”

So, they wanted to do something. Their first idea was to publish the paper and take it to a conference: get the word out and hopefully spark change. Instead, they took a longer, harder route: they founded One Less-Una Menos, to pursue the same goals.

One Less-Una Menos has already had a strong impact in its approximately yearlong life. Its mission is based on the Three Es: Educate the public about human trafficking; Empower victims; and Eradicate Human Trafficking. They partnered with university students and local government officials in Teluca, Mexico to hold a two-day awareness campaign.  Co-founder Alethia led the training program, focusing on education and human trafficking-related issues. The event was a success, and the local government invited One Less-Una Menos back to hold another awareness campaign. One Less-Una Menos is still looking for funding.

On MIIS’ campus, One LessUna Menos held a human trafficking awareness week in Fall 2008. The week-long campaign featured four main events. The first was a panel discussion with Sergeant John Vaneck, San Jose Policy Department Anti-Trafficking Task Force; Lynette Parker, J.D. Law Professor at Santa Clara University; Special Agent Alex Kosanetz, San Jose FBI; and Sister Sheila Novak, co-director of the Salvatorian Anti-Human Trafficking Project. The panel discussed what Human Trafficking is, the current reality of human trafficking in California, and what the government is doing about it.

The second event was a week-long campaign of letter writing to local congress people to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, which guarantees funding for domestic and international awareness programs, promotes measures to prevent Human Trafficking, and mandates the annual TIP report. They are happy to report that the Act was reauthorized.


Alisha Ngyuen, Alethia Jimenez, and Michelle Gregory at the Letter Writing Campaign


The third event was a film screening of, “Trade,” a dramatization “inspired by Peter Landesman’s chilling NY Times Magazine story on the U.S. sex trade, “The Girls Next Door,” TRADE is a thrilling story of courage and a devastating expose of one of the world’s most heinous crimes.” http://www.tradethemovie.com/synopsis.html The final event was a women’s self-defense class with a karate instructor.

Una Menos hopes to hold a project similar to the Mexico awareness campaign in India this year alongside the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in Kerela, India. This time, the workshop will have a more participatory approach. They will work with trafficking victims from Nepal and other neighboring countries into India to do a vulnerability assessment. Una Menos will analyze what the women need and write grant proposals for possible joint initiatives with SEWA.

They also plan to hold another Human Trafficking awareness week on campus. Raising awareness in the United States is one of their fundamental goals. They are currently in the process of applying for tax exemption to be a 501(3)(c) organization.

If you want to support One Less-Una Menos, Mindy and the other founders encourage you to attend their events. If you’re passionate about the cause, get involved! Do something! Tell your family and friends about Human Trafficking. Be part of the awareness campaign: help One Less-Una Menos spread the word one person at a time. If you want to know more about One Less-Una Menos, get involved or join them, contact Mindy (mindy.chiang@miis.edu).


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