This past summer my internship at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) in Washington, D.C., was funded by the SPIL Stipend. NCOSE is a non-partisan nonprofit dedicated to exposing and opposing sexual exploitation in all its forms, including trafficking, prostitution, and pornography. My role this summer focused on prostitution research and advocacy, particularly in D.C. where a bill to legalize prostitution had just been introduced. I had the opportunity to write educational memos for NCOSE staff, D.C. Councilpeople, and the general public. A large portion of my time was spent reaching out to community leaders, especially faith-based groups, churches, and youth centers, to raise opposition against the bill. I also helped coordinate partnerships with organizations with similar ideologies and participated in coalition meetings on the subject. Our team increased the community’s engagement with their representatives by educating the public about the bill and keeping them updated on its progress, including inviting folks to the hearing to speak and show their opposition in person.
The staff at NCOSE were inspiring with their passion in defending people from and preventing sexual exploitation. They showed me how grassroots movements and educational efforts can be effective and not just noise. At NCOSE, I learned more about sexual exploitation through hands-on research, and I got an in-depth look at local government procedures and the policymaking process, which reaffirmed my career goals to work in policy advocacy after graduation. This would not have happened without the SPIL Stipend.