The International Association of Sex Trafficking/Prostitution Survivors United is holding their inaugural board meeting in Washington, DC between October 17-21, 2012. This historic meeting of some of the most experienced and effective survivor leaders in the Western Hemisphere and Europe will launch an unprecedented collaborative effort among sex trafficking/prostitution survivors worldwide. Flying into the US capital from Canada, the USA, and Ireland to attend are:
Trisha Baptie, EVE, Educating Voices, Vancouver, BC
Vednita Carter, Breaking Free, Minneapolis, MN
Kristy Childs, Veronica’s Voice, Kansas City, MO and KS
Tina Frundt, Courtney’s House, Washington, DC
FreeIrishWoman, writer and activist, Dublin, Ireland
Cherie Jimenez, The EVA Center/Kim’s Project, Boston, MA
Stella Marr, Survivors Connect Network, Houston, TX
Bridget Perrier, http://www.sextrade101.com, Toronto, ON
Christine Stark, acclaimed writer and artist, Minneapolis, MN
For various reasons, most survivors have been working in relative isolation within the anti-trafficking movement. We believe the time is right for us to join forces as survivor-activists to lend our expertise, our voices, our trauma-focused and empowerment aftercare programs, our stories of transformation, and our passion for social change to the larger work of creating a world free of sex trafficking, which is another word for prostitution. Making distinctions between sex trafficking and prostitution is harmful and misleading. It marginalize those that are trapped and suffering.
Our organization will raise funds for survivor-led programs helping women exit prostitution and recover from the extensive trauma. We will continue educating the public on the reality of sex trafficking/prostitution from those who not only have survived it but are on the front lines with those that are still trapped and still not being recognized as victims. Additionally, we will urge anti-trafficking organizations to empower survivors by opening doors and funding opportunities, recognizing the expertise that we bring to this movement, and hiring survivor leaders. Our work will connect survivors, strengthen our voices and put us at the heart of the anti-trafficking movement where we belong.
We’ll also advocate for funds for services to help the victims of trafficking/prostitution and continue to grow our survivors network, while developing a speakers and writers group to help get more survivor voices into the public consciousness. This combination of raising funds, networking survivors and expanding the voices of survivors will lead to more survivor empowerment, and ultimately more resources to help girls and women exit and recover.
About the International Association of Sex Trafficking/Prostitution Survivors Survivors United
The International Association of Sex Trafficking/Prostitution Survivors United is a fledgling soon-to-be nonprofit organization dedicated to uniting the energy, efforts and voices of sex trafficking/prostitution survivors everywhere while making their work sustainable so we can end sex trafficking/prostitution in our lifetime. We believe when empowered survivors that have had extensive time in “the Life” understand their experiences and are speaking the truth, along with those that support survivors, the sex trade will truly begin to be dismantled.
Already with 60 members, 25 of whom are running their own effective nonprofit organizations, our coalition provides more services to victims while educating the public than any single anti-sex trafficking NGO in the USA and Canada. Additionally, we operate a private network that provides community and support for survivors. All members of our organization are abolitionists who agree that to end trafficking/prostitution we must address demand and focus on providing more choices and empowering recovery services for the victims.
The International Association of Sex Trafficking/Prostitution Survivors United has grown out of Survivors Connect Network. We hope to take our activism to the next level of empowerment by seeking funding for survivor-led programs that meet our best practices criteria as a coalition and creating a speakers group where we advocate that survivors are paid for speaking engagements so their activism is sustainable. The network will remain as important as ever.