Lucy McCray,our new International Liaison, helps coordinate communication between our U.S. and Thailand based offices. Based in Chiang Rai, she first heard of trafficking issues in 2008, and started off volunteering with various anti-trafficking organizations soon after. In 2013 she did an internship with International Justice Mission at their headquarters in Washington, DC. Discovering how much she enjoyed working in this field, she pursued a Master’s in International Development, then applied for and was accepted into IJM’s Fellowship program. She moved to Chiang Mai in October 2015, where she worked there for almost two years, working on issues of citizenship rights abuse and child sexual assault in Northern Thailand. We are thrilled to have her on board, and would love to introduce you to her! Here is a brief interview, in which you can learn more about Lucy!
Where are you from originally?
I was born in the UK to American parents who had permanent residency there, lived in the UAE and Malaysia before moving back to the UK for a few more years. I moved to Virginia near Washington DC at the age of seven and lived there until I was 16, when I moved to London. So, mostly I just say I’m half American half British.
What in particular about anti-trafficking work drew you to it?
I first heard about anti-trafficking work in 2008 from Gary Haugen who started IJM. I think like most people I was devastated that there were people buying and selling other people, and felt very strongly that work should be done to combat this issue, and if I had any skills that could contribute I would love to be part of that work. The complexity of the issue has kept me rooted in anti-trafficking work. There are so many factors that contribute to vulnerability and that contribute to the perpetuation of the problem. There is a lot to be done, but a lot of good that can be done at the same time.
What is something that has been surprising or deeply affected you, in your line of work so far?
One major thing that has deeply affected me has been working alongside Thai nationals that are working to help Thai people. They work tirelessly year on year to make change, and even when that change is intangible or not as encouraging, are still incredibly hopeful and joyful in their work. Working on anti-trafficking work has been a great lesson in patience and in noticing the small changes and details. The things we hope for do not happen over night, and I’ve learned a lot about persistently working towards a goal no matter how long it takes.
What are you most looking forward to in working with The Freedom Story?
I am excited to join the team and be working on prevention. I love that everything our staff does helps improve the students’ lives and helps them have more opportunities in the future. The work we’re doing not just prevents trafficking, it helps set them up for better, brighter, more fulfilling lives in the future. They’re also really changing entire communities through their programs and presence in the students’ lives. I’m excited to play a small part in helping make that happen!
And finally, what’s something you wish everyone knew (but most probably don’t)?
Just because you do or don’t have an accent doesn’t mean you aren’t from somewhere! I sound American but have mostly lived outside of the US. 🙂 So that, and that I am really curious, and sometimes I think that comes off as nosey or weird, but really I just like to learn things and know about people!
Thank you so much Lucy for your commitment and efforts! We look forward to seeing what we can do together!
Dr. Jade Keller is the Thailand Program Advisor and Editor for The Freedom Story (formerly The SOLD Project). After receiving a PhD in Political Science from UC Santa Barbara, she moved with her family to northern Thailand in 2010 to work in child trafficking prevention, education, and helping to raise awareness.
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