iSanctuary’s own Wendy Hicks had the amazing privilege of attending the 2010 Freedom Awards put on and hosted by Free The Slaves, an organization at the forefront of the anti-slavery and trafficking movement. The night consisted of an incredible event that brought together people from all over the world, including some well known Hollywood A-listers to pay tribute to those working hard to rid the world of modern day slavery. Award recipients included a variety of individuals from different backgrounds and countries, including a survivor of sex trafficking. Wendy described the night as beautiful and inspiring and felt nothing but sincere gratitude at being a part of recognizing some wonderful human beings for their work around the world.
Tina is a survivor of sex trafficking and has an incredible story to tell. Trafficked at the age of 14, Tina was subjected to unimaginable abuse as she was forced into a life of sex trafficking and given no way out or sense of hope. She escaped her situation by going to jail and thus began a rough and painful recovery. Tina used her deeply painful past to propel her into a future in which she began an anti-slavery non-profit and now reaches out to women in the same situation she herself was forced into.
JEEVIKA is a grassroots organization in India that seeks to help slaves understand their rights and free themselves from bondage. By learning to stand up for themselves against landowners, public officials, and other powerful oppressors, slaves are finding their freedom. They target Dalit people, those in India in the lowest caste who are considered untouchables and outcasts from society. The Dalits fall victim to bonded labor and slavery at a high rate due to their extreme poverty and lack of resources. The Dalits come from a long history of oppression, abuse, and injustice and are finally being given a voice and empowered by groups like JEEVIKA.
Being an intelligent, educated person with a drive to figure things out, Roger set out on a mission to take a census of the world’s slaves. He has spent much of his time gathering together government officials and politicians to raise awareness to the problem of modern day slavery in hopes of finding a lasting solution. He began a special task force as part of the UN and has continued to work toward rallying world governments in the fight against slavery.
Anne is a remarkable young woman who has harnessed the power of social media to help raise awareness for anti-slavery movements. She believes that victims of human trafficking can be empowered by the use of the internet and potential access to the rest of the world. Given victims a voice through powerful social media avenues will make their circumstances more mainstream and much less hidden from the rest of the world. Educating people and offering them useful tools to be proactive can work to make lasting changes.
Please also check out the following link to a past Freedom Award’s winner who is doing some awesome work: http://www.challengingheights.org/