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2014 Korea-Michigan Human Rights Research Fellow

Jennifer Arnold, BA Public Policy; minor, Business Administration ‘16
Research Focus:
Sex Trafficking Market in South Korea

Through the Korea-Michigan Human Rights Research Fellowship sponsored by the University of Michigan International Institute's Human Rights Initiative and Social Science Korea Human Rights at Sungkyunkwan University, I spent the summer of 2014 researching sex trafficking market in South Korea. My research was focused on prostitution and sex trafficking history, national culture and perception, and work of local NGOs. 

Studying in South Korea allowed me to study the effects of human rights violations more in depth and with a singular focus on Korea. It helped me to see the importance of civil and political rights versus social and economic rights and how to advocate for these in my future career. I was able to see the ripple effects of human rights violations in different areas: South Korean perceptions of the North Korean government and people, their views on international human rights norms, and their opinions on the importance of each type of right.

In Seoul, I exited my western-oriented bubble. Instead of focusing on U.S. interests, I focused on advancing human rights and learned first-hand the tradeoffs between states’ rights and human rights—and how to integrate the two in my future work to make an impact on the world. Researching in Seoul helped me to shape my future career in policy, to learn more about the world, and to decide how I want to advance human rights.