Survivors of human trafficking who choose to join the advocacy world are blazing a trail for survivors like them to live their lives to the fullest, dream big dreams, and achieve anything they set their minds to. Below are 10 Survivor-Led Initiatives empowering survivors to do just that.
1. Rebecca Bender
In addition to being an author, consultant, and advocate, Rebecca Bender is the founder of Elevate Academy. Elevate Academy is the largest online school for survivors of human trafficking and provides survivors with classes, mentorship, cohort groups, and a number of additional resources to empower them to engage with their future and live their lives to the fullest.
2. Coco Berthmann
The Coco Berthmann Scholarship Fund is an initiative led by survivor leader, Coco Berthmann. Her dream is to empower survivors of human trafficking through higher education, allowing them to break free from a cycle of abuse, look toward their future, and embrace a life of freedom and hope.
3. Kendall Alaimo
This year, Kendall Alaimo founded and created the worlds first The University Alliance on Human Trafficking, mailing a collection of red chairs to universities across the globe in an art performance piece encouraging and challenging universities to save a seat for survivors.
4. Shanna Parker
Shanna Parker, in addition to running her own organization, participating in advocacy, and serving as a consultant on state, local, and federal levels, is the developer of the Parker HT Classification System, a tool meant to help professionals working with human trafficking survivors. This classification system will be a life-change for survivors across the United States.
5. Ria Story
Ria Story is a survivor leader, showcasing what it means to truly live free and embrace the path you want to take in your life. Ria is a published author, leadership coach, and keynote speaker, empowering not only survivors, but women across the country.
6. Jose Alfaro
Jose Alfaro shared his story with Polaris Project, one step in his journey of advocacy for using inclusive language in trafficking awareness to include male survivors, and to shed light on the added vulnerability of LGBTQ+ youth to be targeted by traffickers. Jose's courage to speak out about his own trafficking experience is paving the way for other male survivors to bust down walls that prevent them from getting the services and support they deserve.