On MARCH 14, 2017, students from the American University of Phnom Penh (AUPP) got together to commemorate Freedom Day by participating in the CNN initiated My Freedom Project to raise their voices against modern day slavery and human trafficking. The CNN Freedom Project is a year-long humanitarian news media campaign launched by CNN to end modern-day slavery and related illegal practices, including human trafficking. The project aims to shine a spotlight on the horrors of modern-day slavery and calls for an end to all such practices. The students at AUPP were committed to participate on this day to raise awareness and to express what freedom meant to them.
A few days before the 14 March Freedom Day, the students and faculty came together to create a video where they answered the question: “What does freedom mean to you?” The responses included, “Freedom means having the right to act and make decisions independently”, “to be able to choose without fear,” “to have the power to express oneself both physically and emotionally,” and “to be with one’s family and loved ones, and to exercise freewill without discrimination.” Students and faculty alike expressed that freedom means choice, the right to choose one’s future without any other influence.
See AUPP’s full #MYFREEDOMDAY video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGOFks5-JMY. The #MYFREEDOMDAY video was released on AUPP’s social media platforms and then aired by CNN on their global news network. Students, faculty and staff were excited to have the opportunity to stand in solidarity with the global community in the fight against modern-day slavery and represent AUPP on the internationally-known news channel
On 14th March, AUPP organized and held a My Freedom Day awareness program where students were invited to learn more about the issues surrounding human trafficking and slavery. The program started with the screening of a short film about the worldwide prevalence of human trafficking. Following the film, the event featured key-note speaker Ms. Lim Siv Hong who is the senior program officer at the Asia Foundation in Phnom Penh. Ms. Hong gave an insightful presentation where she engaged students with the issues surrounding human trafficking in Cambodia. Following Ms. Hong, the student government president Mr. Serey Rithiya shared his experience on a project related to human trafficking that he had worked on the previous year while studying at AUPP. The AUPP My Freedom Day program concluded with a Q&A session, which gave the students the chance to generate a meaningful dialogue with the two featured speakers. My Freedom Day garnered a lot of attention on campus and achieved the goal set out by CNN: to raise awareness and help students and faculty learn more about critical issues that face us as an international community. The students of AUPP proved that as the next generation of leaders, they are committed to joining the fight to end modern-day slavery and related illegal practices.
AUPP would like to extend our gratitude and thanks to all of the students, faculty, and staff involved in My Freedom Day at AUPP. Special thanks are extended to our key-note speaker Ms. Lim Siv Hong for visiting our campus and assisting our students to learn about important global issues.