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  • Writer's pictureJamila Aisha

Freedom Network USA : Human Trafficking Conference recap

Updated: Apr 29


Last week, Freedom Network USA held its annual Human Trafficking Conference, bringing together experts, advocates, and survivors to discuss the ongoing fight against modern-day slavery. The conference covered a wide range of topics related to human trafficking, from prevention and victim identification to survivor support and policy advocacy.


Thanks to a generous invitation from Freedom Network USA, I was able to attend AND present at the conference this year. Here are my few takeaways:


The importance of collaboration:

Human trafficking is a complex crime that spans across borders and industries. To effectively combat it, government agencies, non-profit organizations, law enforcement, and civil society must work together towards a COMMON goal. Through sharing resources, expertise, and best practices, we can ensure a more coordinated and effective response to human trafficking.


The importance of primary prevention strategies:

Another important takeaway from the conference was the need for more primary prevention strategies. Most of the current approaches to addressing human trafficking fail to address prevention and often do more harm by promoting and disseminating misinformation. Survivors of trafficking often face numerous challenges, from physical and psychological trauma to legal and social barriers. It is essential for service providers and advocates to prioritize the needs and well-being of survivors in their work by offering much-needed victim-centered services while also exploring solutions that address root causes. This can include raising awareness by providing accurate information and education and eliminating vulnerabilities and risk factors, such as poverty, discrimination, and lack of access to resources.


Lastly, the importance of sex work advocacy in the fight against trafficking:

Sex workers play a key role in challenging harmful stereotypes and misconceptions about the sex industry. By speaking out about their own experiences and advocating for the rights of all individuals in the sex trade, sex workers help shift public attitudes and policies that perpetuate exploitation and trafficking. Sex workers have been integral in identifying and aiding trafficking victims as well as advocating for policies that protect vulnerable individuals. While sex work and sex trafficking are often conflated, the reality of the connection is much more complex. It is important to recognize the expertise and contributions of sex workers as activists encouraging reducing harms in the sex industry and fighting against human trafficking.

Overall, the conference provided a platform for meaningful dialogue, networking, and collaboration within the anti-trafficking movement.

 

About Who’s Up For the T.A.S.K?

Who’s Up For the T.A.S.K? is the presentation I designed for the conference emphasizing comprehensive sex education {CSE} as a primary prevention strategy for sex trafficking. I also introduced project: Ask the T.A.S.K. Team to the audience. During the presentation, I was able to address harmful myths that perpetuate stigmas and discuss how CSE provides education on increasing protective factors. These protective factors help increase self-awareness skills and body anatomy education AND help reduce the likelihood of perpetrating sexual violence.  The audience was then grouped and provided activities that discussed various CSE topics including, dealing with rejection, understanding consent, increasing self-esteem, and emotional intelligence. The session ended with each group providing feedback about their topic.



I want to give special thanks to New Moon Network for providing insight for my presentation and mini-grant funding.

 

 


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