The Freedom Hub

    2018 Grant Recipient

    Shining a light on the insidious nature of modern day slavery

    Modern day slavery, which includes forced labour, forced marriage, sexual servitude and trafficking, is an insidious and significant problem worldwide. The Global Slavery Index estimates that on any given day in 2016, there were 15,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Australia. The majority of these victims identified by authorities are women from Asia who were exploited within the sex industry. The actual numbers of victims may well be much higher as it is a hidden crime and few come forward due to fear and threats to their safety. Without specialised support, slavery survivors risk being re-victimized or are unable to gain a positive identity and live life to their full potential.

    Survivor’s needs are varied and complex: support is limited

    While other programs exist to assist survivors to deal with immediate trauma, they are short term. However, for the past four years The Freedom Hub has operated a “Survivor School” in Sydney – the only long-term program that is integrated with law enforcement and community services to help women rebuild their lives. A team of specialised support workers and community volunteers working with law enforcement and social sector partners has already empowered 40 women to reach goals in areas related to English language, health, education and employment.

    To enable The Freedom Hub to respond to an identified need for services in Queensland, 100 Women provided $29,880 towards the establishment of a Survivor School in Brisbane, which will offer long term, specialised support for 10 women in its first year.

    The program will develop the women’s knowledge and confidence as they face a complex combination of challenges, focusing on improving their life skills, physical and mental health. Women will attend both group classes and individualized mentoring support sessions between 10-30 hours a week depending on their individual circumstances. They will have opportunities to gain education and work experience so they can become financially independent. A cadre of volunteers will be trained to help integrate survivors into the community. The success and impact of the program will be measured with support from Queensland University of Technology, enabling best practice to be identified and shared across the sector to best address survivor needs into the future.

    Summary
    Modern day slavery is a hidden and insidious problem worldwide.
    In Australia alone, over 15,000 people are held in conditions of modern slavery in 2016, many of whom are female victims of sex trafficking.
    Limited services are available to support the complex needs of slavery survivors.
    The Freedom Hub’s Survivor School in Sydney is the only long-term rehabilitation program in Australia, which helps women achieve goals in English language, mental and physical health, employment, and education.
    Support from 100 Women will enable the establishment of a 2nd Survivor School in Queensland, reaching 10 women in the first year alone.
    Impact will be measured according to best practice and ethical guidelines and communicated broadly across the sector to improve service provision in the future.

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