When I received the official invitation to join 19 other survivors of human trafficking across the United States, to participate in a Survivors Forum and Listening Session, I did not know exactly what to expect in actual fact. I had a mixed feeling – I was happy on one hand to have been selected for this prestigious assignment; on the other hand, however, I was anxious. I was anxious to know whether the federal government really meant what it said about engaging survivors to provide expert opinions on how to better serve victims and survivors of human trafficking in the United States. The session was organized by the Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVCTTAC) of the Department of Justice.
Well, I was not disappointed. The session was great. The government officials did as promised. They listened to us speak. We bare our hearts to these people, who showed great concern for change for the better for victims and survivors in the United States. They were willing to consider every suggestion and paid attention to every detail we provided.
In fact, there were white sheets of paper on the wall, where we were supposed to post our written
suggestions on sticky notes. I was surprised that they even had a paper on the wall called, “The parking lot.” The Parking Lot was for posting ideas that were not mentioned in the discussion but burning on our minds. The moderator said, “We are going to look and read every suggestions out there.”
Another gesture from these passionate agencies’ representatives was the fact that they thought about survivors who could not make it to the session. They even asked us to tell them what some survivors had told us that we could share, because the government is thinking about all survivors and victims at large. That gesture showed me that there is hope for victims and survivors of human trafficking in the United States. It was also interesting to know that the department of labor was represented in this discussion, in order to provide jobs for survivors.
Overall, it was a great forum and listening session. I hope to bring you more in bits.
Please, feel free to leave your comments or ask questions below.
Bye for now, until next time.