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Faces of Human Trafficking Video 9: Now That We Are Free

This video features survivors of human trafficking who are resilient, thriving members of their communities. They share insight on the support systems, services, and personal journeys that helped them persevere, with words of encouragement for others who were or may still be in situations of human trafficking.

Faces of Human Trafficking: Now That We Are Free TRANSCRIPT

Suamhirs, Survivor Advocate: Being a survivor is a continuous thing. We need to provide them with tools, coping skills to continue working on themselves. We really need to help people, in that transition time, find themselves, and that’s when people come into their lives and say, "Well, can I help you? Can I walk the walk with you and help you find out who you are again? What do you want to do in life? What do you want to be in life, now that you’re free, that you own your body?"

Amy, Survivor Advocate: Having a long‐term support system of people who have been there, now, for years, has been why I’ve been able to do as well as I’ve done. It’s that long term that’s important.

Ronny, Survivor Advocate: Services are so necessary, especially when you’re trying to come out of that situation, because you don’t have anything. Those services, in my case, helped me a lot.

Jeri Williams, Co‐founder, Survivor 2 Survivor: Art therapy works as a non‐traditional therapy that helps Native Americans through culturally connecting to your traditional ways. And the biggest piece that’s helped me was my spiritual piece. I had to have my spirit back. The biggest part of that was getting to know who I was. I went to becoming an organizer and fighting for people’s rights. Now I manage grants that go out to—in capacity building—to communities of color and immigrant refugee communities. My children are grown. I have nine grandchildren. I have seven grandsons and two granddaughters. My life is incredible and I feel good about myself. I know who I am.

Niko, Survivor Advocate: The biggest thing that I went through was therapy and acceptance. Acceptance that the abuse that I went through, I didn’t deserve; that I didn’t bring that on myself. I relocated out to Los Angeles for graduate school in psychology. I wanted to work with, not just the victim, but the whole victim support network—family members, friends, whoever is in their support network.

Marq, Survivor Advocate: Being a male survivor, that’s what’s needed: support. Being able to understand that it happens to everybody, you know, not just the male or the female, but to everybody. If others can see that there are male survivors, and that’s it’s okay to tell, then maybe we can get additional help out and get the word out that we’re here to help.

Victor, Survivor Advocate: [speaking Spanish] As humans and as people, we should give each other, like, a moral value and say that we are important. We are as important as them. If you have documents or if you don’t have documents, here in the United States, we have rights and there institutions that will support and help us. And so don’t stay quiet. Reach out; speak out about any kind of mistreatment or abuse. Try to communicate with those people, because if you can’t communicate, then nobody knows what is happening.

Linda, Survivor Advocate: I was a victim of human trafficking. I’m happy that I got good guidance. I work in a bank. I’m currently the operation supervisor branch manager. I created a very simple program all about banking. I was able to help these people that didn’t know the basics of banking. They felt that I helped them a lot, and that was a good experience for me.

Lydia: Hi! [speaking Filipino]

Lydia, Survivor Advocate: I want to help my community.

Lydia: Get paid for the overtime. So us at Damayan community...

Lydia: I came out from the darkness. I think that’s very powerful to meet the workers, to encourage them to really to know their rights and to be part of this community.

Amy: I never thought that what I went through would be useful. The courts have found, when they have taken any cases... Now I’m in my last year of law school and enjoying being a mom and helping train law enforcement and using negative experiences that I’ve been through to put it to something useful.

Bukola, Survivor Advocate: As a journalist, I am just one the few people who not only can write but can actually put their experiences together in a book, because writing the book was both therapeutic and challenging. I’m glad to have a second chance, and that is why I have dedicated my life to these efforts to help other victims. If you have not walked in their shoes, you have no idea what they are going through.

Suamhirs: We need to focus on the person first, because once they have a reason to be survivors, that’s when they love themselves again. They have self‐worth, and then they’re resilient and they continue—they want to continue with life.

Ronny: For a person that have been through human trafficking situation, I recommend: think about what you want, what you want to do in life. There are a lot of things out there for you. It’s never late. It’s never late. There will be a lot of people out there to help you.

Date Created: May 5, 2020