UMW Alumna’s Research is “Eye-Opening” Experience

Shirin Afsous (right) is assisting Leila Asadi with human rights research

For Shirin Afsous, the problem of sex trafficking in the Middle East hits home. The 2012 graduate of the University of Mary Washington was born in Iran and grew up making occasional visits to the country with her family. When Afsous learned that human rights activist Leila Asadi wanted help with research on gender and sexuality issues, Afsous jumped at the opportunity. Asadi is visiting professor at UMW this semester, where she’s continuing the research she began in the Middle East. Although hundreds of UMW students study abroad every year, undergraduate research like Afsous’ work with Asadi provides a way for students to make global connections without ever leaving the Fredericksburg campus. In Iran and other Middle Eastern countries, Afsous explained, research has shown that, in some cases, girls as young as 12 years old are engaged in prostitution rings. Some girls may see it as their only way out of poverty. Asadi, herself, fled Iran after one of her friends was … [Read more...]