Hearing the Survivors Voice
This year’s theme for the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. The aim is to “highlight the importance of listening to and learning from survivors of human trafficking. Survivors are key actors in the fight against human trafficking. Because they play a crucial role in establishing effective measures to prevent this crime. And identify and rescue victims, and support them on their road to rehabilitation.
Many victims of human trafficking have experienced ignorance. Or misunderstanding in their attempts to get help. They have had traumatic post-rescue experiences during identification interviews and legal proceedings. Some have faced revictimization and punishment for crimes they were forced to commit by their traffickers. Others have been subjected to stigmatization or received inadequate support.
Learning from victims’ voices and turning their suggestions into concrete actions, will lead to a more victim-centered and effective approach in combating human trafficking. ” Read more from the UN here.
How the Freedom Hub is Responding
For many years we have wrestled with this tension: Protecting survivor’s privacy and safety. And helping raise awareness through the research needed to inform policy. Then there is the general lack of awareness in Australia. Slavery happens here and survivors’ voices will help raise that awareness. We are bombarded with requests. Almost weekly we are asked to provide a survivor for an interview. Or for public speaking, or a media story.
Many survivors of slavery don’t want their past traumatic experiences to define who they are now. They don’t want their workplace, new friends, and often their own family to know about their past. They don’t want to be seen as a victim. And they certainly don’t want to be pitied. Then there is the issue of re-telling their story. Taking them back to a place they would rather forget. Many survivors want to be seen as successful, strong, and highly capable people. Who they are today is very important to them. They know how much they have had to conquer to be here.
On the other hand research, statistics, and survivor voices are important. Because the survivor’s voice informs good policy writing. In turn, this helps government response, funding the work of identification, restoration, and recovery.
As a result, the Freedom Hub needed a solution for the voice of freedom. And we believe our solution is the best option for both the survivors and the world…..
The Freedom Hub Survivor Advisory Board
In 2021 we have launched this Survivor Advisory Board to give survivors a place to have a voice, without being public.
In the safety of the group, survivors can:
- answer any researcher’s interview questions,
- comment on government policy,
- have their say on Australia’s National Action Plan to Combat slavery,
- provide feedback,
- have an influence on how to help recovery within the Freedom Hub Survivor School.
“We have gathered a group of survivors who want their voices heard, not to share their past but to see a better future for others. These voices will help provide the changes needed to make the world a better place.” Sally Irwin – Founder
It has taken us a long time to find those voices. They are not in The Freedom Hub Survivor School. These survivors experienced their slavery long before we were established. They are from varied nationalities and ages. Importantly they represent all the main areas of modern-day slavery. For example, forced labour, forced marriage, sex trafficking, etc. And most importantly, they are living successful, fulfilling lives, in the community, living in freedom. All of them have experienced slavery in Australia.
Accessing the Voice of Freedom
Do you need to do some research or want survivor commentary on policy or media? You can contact us here.
Things to keep in mind before asking:
- We expect a survivor to be paid for their time. Just like everyone else in the world, time is valuable and so is their knowledge.
- We will provide the group your questions and will provide you their unedited responses.
- If you request an interview, know that it will be anonymous. It will not be in person but on a phone. The Freedom Hub will mediate the day and time. Questions must be sent ahead. The survivor can choose to back out of the interview at any time, even mid-interview.
- The Survivor Advisory Board only meets quarterly, so plenty of notice is required if you seek advice from the survivors.
The Freedom Hub and the Survivor Advisory Board are excited about the impact we can have to see the change we want in the world