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Integrity in Awareness Raising

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The stories we tell and the images we use make a difference in people’s understanding of social problems. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misleading images on the internet about modern slavery, showing it in sensational, hypersexualized or simply false manners. People may be represented as products through barcodes or shown tied up with ropes or chains. Sometimes these images try to show how people are treated like products or they connect back to historical slavery in an effort to stir emotion, but they present a false understanding of how slavery has actually changed over time. It’s possible victims of slavery could be locked away or in chains, but images like those distract from the fact that most victims today are lied to, coerced or emotionally manipulated into their enslavement. Although these sources may have good intentions, the result is a misunderstanding of slavery that dehumanizes victims and shows them as powerless. The victims and survivors of slavery are fellow humans, each one with strength and a story.

My Story, My Dignity is our campaign to ensure accurate and respectful representations of slavery, in order to build a movement that respects and supports survivors. Watch this video, in which several trafficking survivors discuss how to approach representing and telling stories of enslavement. If you haven’t already, you can take the My Story, My Dignity pledge here

Then take a look around the internet to find any news outlets that may be representing slavery poorly. If you find any, politely ask the media outlet or source to consider adopting the Guidance Note written by our partners at Chab Dai and Liberty Asia. (Full version here). You may also proactively send the guidance note to formal news outlets.

EXTRA CREDIT: The Survivor Alliance, which works to unite and empower survivors of human trafficking and slavery around the world, is launching this week! Check them out at or follow or join in their Twitter Chat Wednesday, April 25, 3-4 pm Eastern / 8-9 pm GMT by following #SurvivorAlliance and @empwrsurvivors

Discuss in the comments section how the media and activists can balance both respect and realism in portrayals of modern slavery.

Don’t forget to let us know you will take action by clicking or tapping the ACCEPT CHALLENGE button on this page. If you missed any of our previous Freedom Fortnight challenges you can still take action here.

Chip in and help end modern slavery once and for all.


Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

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6 years ago

We need so much voices against modern slavery in the world , it is important to help and follow all which work to stop all survivors of human trafficking

Suggest respectful guidelines to a news outlet

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I will send a polite letter/email with the MSMD guidelines to news outlets and/or online sources that are currently using inaccurate or disrespectful representations of slavery.

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