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Survivor Leadership in the Anti-Trafficking Movement

The modern civil society movement to end trafficking in persons in the United States began in the 1990’s, led by activists and attorneys who helped establish the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. However, the voices of those directly affected by human trafficking were not included in the early dialogue about solutions, and survivors of human trafficking began a movement of survivor leadership.  Survivors of human trafficking from a variety of labor sectors and national origins have emerged as lobbyists, educators, media spokespeople and non-profit leaders. Survivor leadership projects range from training initiatives at direct service providing organizations, to a national network of survivor advocates, to consultants hired to advise nonprofits, to spokesperson development and narrative change strategies, to community organizing among vulnerable populations, to an Advisory Council established by statute for the federal government. However, the work to support the survivor leadership movement is not without its challenges: survivors can be tokenized by non-profits and policy makers, are often not paid for their efforts, and diverse voices within the movement at times can create challenges in identifying best practices and policy solutions to trafficking. This webinar, coordinated by NEO Philanthropy and cosponsored by Ariadne and Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, will introduce some of the leaders and models of survivor leadership in the United States and open discussion about how best to support this movement.


  • Ima Matul, Survivor Leadership Program Coordinator, Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking
  • Jennifer Dillon, Communications Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance
  • Marzena Zukowska, Earned Media Strategist, National Domestic Workers Alliance
  • Renee Modesto-Jones, Administrative Coordinator, Anti-Trafficking Program, Safe Horizon

Moderated by: Sienna Baskin, Director, Anti-Trafficking Fund, NEO Philanthropy

Read The Atlantic’s Survivors of Human Trafficking, in Their Own Words from leaders in the National Domestic Workers Alliance’s Beyond Survival campaign.