Combatting human trafficking: 1st Winner of Michiel Brandt Memorial Prize Announced

Elena Kokhanovski, a first year MPA student, has been awarded the $1500 cash prize to support her internship in the anti-human trafficking field. Elena is undertaking academic and non-academic activities focused on this issues, according to the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS).

The award is given in honor of the late Michiel Brandt, a former MIIS student from Japan who died of leukemia while preparing for a career in this field and received her MA in International Policy Studies posthumously in December 2012. Michiel-chan aka Mimi-Chan (ミミちゃん) was one of the founders of this blog and my BFF.

The prize is made possible by generous gifts from Michiel’s family and friends in Japan and the United States. This award is designed to encourage students with professional aspirations to work in this field with the hopes of eradicating and/or preventing human trafficking.

Amy Sands, Provost of Monterey Institute of International Studies and the staff of Japan Subculture Research Center wish to extend congratulations to Elena on receiving this prize and good luck as she begins to pursue her career and fights the good fight.

Michiel wrote a very eloquent and heartfelt essay on why she wanted to work to stop sexual slavery. From 2006-2007, when I was working on a US State Department sponsored study of human trafficking in Japan, including the supply side and the traffickers–Michiel was an invaluable research assistant and translator. The essay is below.

On Modern Slavery: Thoughts on Human Trafficking by Michiel Brandt

Michiel Brandt in 2008, after a day doing research.

Michiel Brandt in 2008, after a day of fact-checking early drafts of Tokyo Vice.

 

Michiel Brandt was a good friend and a comrade in arms in the fight against human trafficking. (November 2011). She was a very brave woman. It's good to see her remembered.)

Michiel Brandt was my closest friend and a comrade in arms in the fight against human trafficking. (Photo/November 2011. Saint Marianna University School of Medicine Hospital). She was a very brave woman. It’s good to see her remembered.

Michiel and Hanami

 

 

 

 

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