Rachel Tovey is your average 21-year-old, working hard to save for her OE.

"I think I've been ready for a while, in terms of my soul and my mind and my emotions."

Ready, that is, to leave Napier and fight the war on human trafficking. Not exactly your average OE.

The young humanitarian has been accepted by anti-trafficking agencies which she will learn from and work with to help reintegrate victims back into society.


She will attend a three week Freedom Encounter course in Kolkata and West Bengal before travelling to Greece to intern with A21 anti-trafficking organisation. The last leg of her trip will be the longest - spent on the streets of Cambodia.

Miss Tovey's passion for anti-trafficking was ignited after reading a book about a victim who she could draw parallels of her own life with.

"It was about a young girl, at about 13, and she was in a similar socio-economic to me... she got tricked by a guy who made her think that he really loved her and cared about her... eventually they sold her to older men who ran brothels... and so she ended up just prostituting herself on the streets."

Millions of people are trafficked around the world each year, often to become slaves or prostitutes.

"It hit me that it could so easily be me, or it could so easily be one of my best friends," Miss Tovey says.

She was Head of Community Welfare at high school and has always been a staunch supporter of World Vision - to her, using her OE as a chance to volunteer is the natural next step.

"It just became a growing passion and a burning fire to just change this because if it's not me, who does the changing and who contributes to changing this injustice... who's going to do it?"

Miss Tovey's mentor, Adele Jones, says it's exciting to see the dream come to fruition.


"Her passion for this work is unwavering."

"It's not every day that you come across someone like Rachel who's really quite young and yet is so willing to put herself out and travel on the other side of the world to put herself in situations where she doesn't really know how it's going to turn out, all because she's passionate about other people," Mrs Jones says.

"[Human trafficking is] literally the fastest growing industry in the world," Miss Tovey says.

But the work doesn't come without risk.

Her mother, Liz Tovey, says: "I just hope that she makes very sensible decisions and I have to trust her in that, I realise there is an element of risk."

Mrs Tovey says she is grateful to be living in an age of technology where Skype will allow her to easily keep in contact with her daughter.


The trip has a $20,000 price tag - Rachel's already hit the halfway mark but has just over two months to raise the rest before she leaves.


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