The most important voice that must be heard in this conversation is that of survivors, those who have experienced trafficking and prostitution and know the reality of its impact on a person. The blog The Survivor’s View is a collection of powerful testimonies from myriad survivors and Equality Now also have a collection of survivors’ stories of trafficking and prostitution from all over the world.  

At IROKO we have been lucky enough to work alongside many survivors, both those who have sought our support in Italy, and those with whom we fight around the world for recognition of the violence that is prostitution. In late 2019 we interviewed Adelina, an Abanian woman trafficked into prostitution in Italy as a child, whose story you can find here: Adelina: the story of a survivor and activist

In 2020 we met Liliam Altuntas, a Brazilian survivor of trafficking and prostitution who has joined the abolitionist movement to make sure people know the truth of what it means to be in prostitution. Liliam’s story is told in the book I Girasoli di Liliam, which is currently only available in Italian, but here Liliam tells part of her story – which we have translated from Italian – and what it means to her to have come out the other side, as an activist for herself and for other women. 

In 2020 we co-hosted a series of webinars, including these video contributions from survivors from across Europe:

Marie Merklinger

Rosen Hicher

Sandra Norak, alongside psychologist and activist Dr Ingeborg Kraus

Below are some links to videos and articles containing more survivor voices. 

Radical Girlsss’ interview with Rachel Moran – survivor activist, author of Paid For: My Journey Through Prostitution and founding member of the survivor group SPACE International – to mark the EU anti-trafficking day 2020, and explain why trafficking for sexual exploitation and prostitution cannot be considered separate phenomena. 

SPACE International’s webinar The Wild West of Prostitution’, featuring survivors Mickey Meji, Cherie Jimenez, Fiona Broadfoot, Audrey Morrissey, and Rschel Moran.

Prostitution: Why sex-buyers should be criminalised by Mia de Faoite

Why I’m sick of calls for full decriminalisation of prostitution’, The left needs a reality check when it comes to so-called ‘sex work,’ says HUSCHKE MAU, survivor of 10 years in prostitution.

Should prostitution be legal? Let’s try listening to the real experts, by Rachel Moran. Survivors of prostitution reveal harsh realities of commercial sex industry and why legislation needs to criminalise the purchase of sex.

In this video, survivor Fiona Broadfoot of SPACE International and the Build a Girl Project talks about her experiences in prostitution, as well as her experience of being criminalised, and working with other survivors. She asks us, if prostitution is so empowering, then why are we not seeing large numbers of empowered women with good homes, good health, and not having to use substances in an attempt to erase the pain and memories of their experiences?”

This video shows Fiona Broadfoot, Rachel Moran, Marie Merklinger and Bridget Perrier, survivors of the sex trade and representatives of SPACE International, responding to the decision of Amnesty International to advocate decriminalising pimping and procuring in the global sex trade. For more information on Amnesty International’s decision and to understand how dangerous it was, read this article.

An open letter from survivors of the sex trade urging those drafting the Women’s March policy position to educate themselves, to alter their stance on this issue, to disavow the sex trade, and to move toward a position which puts the voices of sex trade survivors front and center.

Never Again! Surviving Liberalized Prostitution in Germany, an article by survivor Sandra Norak, alongside Trauma and Prostitution founder Ingeborg Kraus.

In this article entitled Working as a receptionist in a legal brothel proved to me that prostitution is anything but a normal job, Jacqueline Gwynne speaks from personal experience about the truth of working in a legal brothel in New Zealand. 

This blog includes articles about action to change attitudes and combat trafficking and prostitution, as well as survivor contributions such as these by Jewell Baraka.