California State University, Fullerton

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Student Uses Bras to Help Thwart Human Trafficking

Dec. 1, 2014

Last year, Nancy Truong, a student in the master of social work program, was looking for an internship or job where she could work toward ending human trafficking.

That's when she came across the Free The Girls project. The international campaign collects gently used bras for distribution to young women in the southeast African country of Mozambique — women recently rescued from rings that force girls into sex work.

Truong started by donating a few of her own bras, then in 2013 she held her first drive. She recently concluded her second effort, collecting 313 bras. She writes about her efforts in the Free The Girls 2014 blog:

"As a human services (B.A. human services '12) student, I learned about human trafficking for the first time, and I did a project for a class," she said. "This is where I started my passion for fighting human trafficking."

Truong, who attends the part-time social work program at the CSUF Irvine Campus, said survivors can earn a living selling second-hand clothing, like bras, while going to school, getting healthy and caring for their families. Women in the program receive their starting inventory as a donation, and are then able to buy additional inventory from Free The Girls for below wholesale value to help maintain their competitive edge in the marketplace. 

During this year's drive, Truong was assisted by fellow master of social work major Nicole Macias, who helped with the collection at the Fullerton campus. The Department of Social Work supported the drive by providing a collection location and promoting the effort.

David Chenot, chair and associate professor of social work, said Truong's efforts exemplify the dedication of students in the program.

"Efforts like this really demonstrate that Nancy has ‘the heart of a social worker,’" Chenot said. "Our students tend to care deeply about the most vulnerable people in society, even those who are a world away. Most importantly, they demonstrate their caring attitudes through what we call 'practice.'"

Truong, who is planning another drive next year, says she is grateful for the support she has received and how her education has helped her find her passion.

"I am just so thankful for the community that CSUF has provided me with and for the support that came from the Social Work Department and the Master of Social Work Association, as well as my human services degree, for leading me to human trafficking," she said.


Tags:  Community