A RECAP OF THE SECOND #DSBCHAT
Following on from our successful inaugural #DSBChat exploring responsible communication in the anti-trafficking movement, the second installment of this ongoing series of tweet chat’s explored another topic that is crucial to our cause:
- What does successful survivor support look like, and how can the movement better facilitate survivor leadership?
We started by asking what an ideal survivor support program would look like.
Survivor Support or Survivor Leadership?
Rachel Lloyd of GEMS Girls weighed in with the observation that ownership is a big part of the puzzle:
LCHT argued that while allies play a crucial role in survivor support, organizations not lead by survivors should be pro-active in seeking (and listening to) input from survivors:
Survivors As Whole People
Touching on a common theme brought up in the previous communication chat, Rachel argued that this should result in a more inclusive, empowering, dignified and holistic role for survivors than has so far been presented in much of the movement:
Not For Sale echoed this notion, suggesting that restoration of survivors’ dignity is a much broader challenge than is often recognized - sharing how this insight is put into practice in their programs.
Structuring Programs to Prioritize Empowerment
For GEMS too, it was clear that the conceptualization and structure of the program is key to shaping how it actually meets its goals.
We asked Rachel to share the organization’s core values:
Another theme that reemerged from the previous chat was the desire for survivors to be adequately compensated for their work.
Re-Exploiting the Exploited?
There is a feeling among many that survivors are sometimes re-exploitedin terms of a lack of compensation:
This exploitation also extends to how survivors are sometimes “used” simply for their stories, argued Alex Sajben and Holly Smith:
Practical Support is Crucial
Access to health care, education and (appropriate) mental health services were also key priorities for many, as well as the need to expunge criminal records that are a result of survivors being trafficked:
Domestic Versus International/Labor Trafficking
There was also some discussion of the challenges that are presented by the split between addressing domestic sex trafficking and other forms, such as international sex trafficking and/or labor trafficking:
Sustainable Long-Term Funding
The discussion moved to a consensus that there is not enough funding for survivor support, and the survivor support that does exist focuses too much on “rescue”, and not enough on long-term, strategic support and empowerment:
Reframing the Movement
Part of the challenge, suggested Rachel, is in reframing the very nature of what the movement is and does:
A Survivor Track at Conferences?
Finally, the discussion concluded with a concrete suggestion our Executive Director which seemed to strike a nerve:
Stay tuned for the next #DSBChat topic, and if anyone is interested in pursuing the idea of survivor tracks at conferences, please do reach out.