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UAE-based activist fights human trafficking through sports

‘The Enthusiastic’ volleyball teams raises funds to combat human trafficking

Shounaz Meky

Published: Updated:

A UAE-based social activist uses sports to combat human trafficking through her charity centered volleyball team.
Isabelle Le Bon-Poonoosamy decided to employ her favorite pastime to fight against a heart breaking phenomena she says “‘is all around us.”

The eight year charity worker organized a volleyball team with three of her friends to raise money for Ewa’a Shelters, a charity that supports the victims of human trafficking in the United Arab Emirates.

"The message we are trying to convey is that human trafficking is around all us and as women we need to be aware of this," Isabelle told Al Arabiya News.

The sports enthusiast thought using sports to help the cause was meaningful because supporting women and children also “is a concept that translates into team [work].”

Ewa'a Shelters provide a safe refuge for women and children who are victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Established in 2008, the shelters operate under the auspices of the UAE Red Crescent Authority.

The charity's website includes a hotline and encourages victims to seek help, rather than stay quiet about the crimes they are experiencing.

Isabelle says she hopes her efforts will “raise awareness and collect funds" to support the much needed shelters.

The team recently branched out to organize additional activities to raise money for its cause.

"In December 2013, we decided to organize a gala dinner for Ewa'a to spread awareness and get people on board... we managed to raise one million dirham in that night," Isabelle said.

Her team, named "The Enthusiastic" will be organizing a women’s international volleyball charity tournament at the Sorbonne University in Abu Dhabi in March where Isabelle says she expects “at least 16 teams to participate.”