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  • Writer's pictureKim Westfall, Founder

The Key Abilities of an Anti-Trafficking Advocate

The ever-growing Freedom Highway is an alliance of people across Europe who are committed to working to prevent trafficking and to identify and support survivors of human trafficking.

Each member of the Freedom Highway needs the knowledge and confidence to know the signs of trafficking and how to respond.

1. Recognize Trafficking

The first key ability these anti-trafficking advocates need is the ability to recognize trafficking. For prevention, this means they know what common schemes a trafficker will use to lure vulnerable people into a situation they cannot escape. For freeing a survivor, this means they need to know the tell-tale signs of a person caught in trafficking.

What do you think some of the signs are? Would you know what to look for?

2. Aide in Escape

We hope that building a strong, knowledgeable network of people across Europe and around the world will help us prevent trafficking before it even begins. We never want another person to experience the trauma of trafficking, so we are equipping people with knowledge to recognize situations of trafficking and stop traffickers.

This happened when members of our team recognized an unsafe situation at a Romanian airport and prevented a trafficker from taking two girls out of the country!

Yet, we know this huge evil will not be stopped overnight and millions of survivors need to find freedom and total transformation!

So, the second key ability members of The Freedom Highway need is to aid a survivor in escaping when a situation of trafficking is identified.

How do you think you could position yourself as a safe person that a traumatized survivor could trust? If you said, “I don’t know,” you’re not alone. That’s why we need to train anti-trafficking advocates to know what to do and how to help!

3. Connect to Safety

Once a human trafficking survivor has escaped from her trafficker, this is not the end of the journey. It is the beginning of a long road to healing.

Survivors are in danger of their trafficker coming for them. They are seen as a valuable revenue stream and these criminals will often try to lure them. First of all, survivors need a safe place. We wish we could bring every Romanian survivor out there straight to the Sanctuary, but this is not possible. Many are in other countries and don’t have the proper paperwork to travel.

That’s why the Freedom Highway goes far beyond Romania. We know that Eastern Europe is the epicenter of human trafficking. 78% of those in slavery across Europe are from Romania!

We are helping members of the Freedom Highway across Europe understand how to connect survivors to a safe house. Survivors are at high risk for being re-victimized and we must make sure they stay safe!

4. Journey to the Sanctuary

All of the pieces come together to form a powerful anti-trafficking advocate when they know how to recognize trafficking, aid a survivor, connect her to safety, and journey with her.

Someone who has just escaped from human trafficking has big needs. She is likely battered and injured. She will need medical care. She hasn’t had consistent nutrition and she needs rest, food, and medicine for her body to begin to heal.

Her heart and soul are just as injured. She has experienced fear and pain at the hands of her trafficker and those who bought her “services.” She needs to feel safe and remain stable before she can come to The Sanctuary, a host family, or another place of safety.

When we train people to be a part of the Freedom Highway, it is important that they know trauma-informed methods so they don’t further wound a traumatized survivor.

When these pieces all come together, we have a powerful member of an alliance all across Europe working together to keep survivors safe and on the road to freedom!

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