A voice for a bereaved Russian father

Avaaz, which means "voice" in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages, was launched in January 2007 with a simple democratic mission: organize citizens everywhere to help close the gap between the world we have and the world most people want.

It holds regular on-line campaigns to fight for justice for people throughout the world. These campaigns range from climate change and environmental issues to human rights concerns.

I have just received an e-mail from the organisation highlighting the plight of a young Russian woman (whose father is a member of the Avaaz community) who was tricked by unscrupulous men into leaving her homeland to follow her dream of becoming a translator/interpreter.

This is part of her father's appeal to the Avaaz community.

"My daughter Oxana was a beautiful, wonderful girl, gifted in languages. She left our home when she was 20 to take her dream job as a translator in Europe. We were so happy for her. Three weeks later, the police told us she died falling from a 5th story window, trying to escape men who fooled her about the job and forced her into a sex club. I died when she died. Now I live only to stop this from happening to other girls. Please, help me."

Avaaz states: Oxana was killed by a brutal and growing global industry - the rape trade. A major part of this trade is girls taken in Russia and sent to Europe and the US where they face an awful future of daily rape and brutality.

Oxana's father Nikolai is appealing to Russian Prime Minister Putin to sign a powerful new convention requires strong laws to stop the rape trade. If you would like to sign a petition to encourage Mr Putin to sign the convention, then please click this link to visit Avaaz's website. And give Oxana's father and young women like Oxana a voice. 


Excellent to cover this type of horrific event on your blog. Thanks for bringing it to our attention! Is there any action that linguists worldwide can take to show solidarity with other lingusts whose human rights are threatened? Does anyone out there know of this type of group?

It is upsetting to think that anyone, no matter what their passion in life, can be exploited in such a way. Some linguists work in some extremely dangerous circumstances (war zones, natural disaster zones, etc.) but I don't recall ever having read about a specific organisation such as you suggest, Susannah. Perhaps someone else may know of one?

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