Survivors Must Be Part of the Solution to Human Trafficking

I wrote in a previous blog post that, “Many anti-trafficking activists, passionate about our work and the people we want to protect and support, like to believe we are equipped with the information necessary to prevent and end modern slavery. But, the truth is, we lack a critical perspective.”

I was talking about the perspective of those individuals who have survived the horror of human trafficking.

ATEST is embarking on an exciting project that will help us shape a model for our policy advocacy that sustainably and transparently engages survivors and leverages their experiences, knowledge and voices to create and pass the most effective anti-trafficking policies.

I am pleased that we have been able to engage two members of the human trafficking survivor community in the United States – Holly Austin Smith and Evelyn Chumbow – to collaborate with us. Over the next several months, Evelyn and Holly will be talking with dozens of advocacy organizations in the United States and abroad that work on policy issues ranging from domestic violence and genocide prevention to anti-smoking and gun control. They will explore how survivors in various advocacy movements have helped to bring about positive policy changes, and what structures and practices have worked or failed to work.

We will use Holly and Evelyn’s findings to shape ATEST’s work with survivors of human trafficking. I look forward to sharing results of this effort, as we pursue our goal of working more deliberately and more effectively “With, Not For” trafficking survivors in the United States and around the world.


The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST) is a U.S. based coalition that advocates for solutions to prevent and end all forms of human trafficking and modern slavery around the world.

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