Ask the media to tell survivors’ stories with dignity -

My Story, My Dignity Pledge

Jeremy Abrahams, Unhidden Project

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Why we need to pledge to protect survivors’ dignity

The anti-modern slavery sector relies on strong stories and eye-catching images when writing about modern slavery. Raising awareness of the issues and the prevalence of modern slavery is essential, but so often, as survivors of modern slavery tell us, the images and language used to tell these stories do not reflect them accurately or in a dignified way.

All too often, disempowering language and images are used to drive the narratives around modern slavery and extreme exploitation, sensationalizing the experience of modern slavery today. Sensationalist images and language can unintentionally create or reinforce stereotypes or negative prejudices.

What do I do?

You can help change this by adopting the My Story, My Dignity Pledge as an individual or on behalf of an organization, company, or institution that publicly shares human trafficking and modern slavery information and cases. By adhering to the pledge, you can help ensure accurate and respectful representations, so that we are all better informed on the realities of modern slavery and better equipped to end it. The anti-modern slavery movement must create the space for leadership from lived experience, helping identify lasting solutions.

The My Story, My Dignity Pledge principles:

  1. Choose respectful images that are representative of the issue. Choose stock images carefully.
  2. Select text that accurately represents the story. Be careful to avoid sensationalist language.
  3. Respect survivors’ right to privacy and dignity.
  4. Obtain prior consent to using a personal story, and be transparent and accurate about the process and how it will be used.

Read Freedom United’s content guidelines to see how we live by the pledge.

  • July 4, 2023: Success! The Telegraph has issued a correction after it published inaccurate figures on modern slavery claims last year.

    Freedom United supporters, together with After Exploitation and Anti-Slavery International, wrote to the UK’s independent newspaper regulator IPSO requesting a correction be issued – and they listened! Read IPSO’s ruling in full here.

  • October 15, 2020: The West Midlands Anti-Slavery Network ran a workshop based on the My Story, My Dignity workshop content – we’re proud to see the workshop being used by partners in the anti-modern slavery sector! We encourage more organizations to sign up the pledge and implement the guidelines.

  • September 18, 2020: We’re proud to have the UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner’s office as a signatory on the pledge and to see the pledge mentioned in her annual report published today. How we communicate on modern slavery and people’s experiences of it is crucial in dismantling disempowering, retraumatizing and victimizing narratives of modern slavery.

  • September 15, 2020: That’s a wrap! Thank you to everyone who attended our final #MyStoryMyDignity online workshop today hosted in partnership with the fantastic Dr. Hannah Lewis at the University of Sheffield. We’re grateful for the participation of so many organizations discussing ethical representations of modern slavery. We’re developing a briefing to share with the wider anti-modern slavery community. More updates on that to come soon!

  • Nov 09, 2017: Campaign Launches

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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Linda Duffy
Linda Duffy
2 years ago

Just like the devil doesn’t always show up red and wearing horns and infsct can come in a beautiful image ! ! Well Not all slaves have chains and shackles . Slavery has been live and present in our world for centuries , sure its portrayed to have been abolished blah blah blah , what happens is its just dressed up in other ways, and just like the bourgeoisie have always done they’re protected by their own laws. Slavery has now gone global, like the pandemic its spread let’s stamp it out !

Peter Blackmore
Peter Blackmore
2 years ago

Slavery has still not been eradicated, but the majority of people do not realise this. They still think that slavery was abolished with the American Civil War, and have no concept of modern slavery.
They have no idea that it happens in this country, with people smugglers and gang bosses, bringing mainly East Europeans, to work on farms or as domestics. More could be done by the media, to bring this problem to the publics attention.

Roy Mittins
Roy Mittins
9 months ago

Everybody should be treated with equal dignity and respect. Slavery treats people like animals. It is her abhorrent.

Alena Adámková
Alena Adámková
2 years ago

Help innocent people.

Ask the media to tell survivors’ stories with dignity

Dear Editor,

As a leading English-language media house, can you adopt the My Story, My Dignity pledge when reporting on modern slavery and trafficking within your publications’ style guide?

Disempowering language and images used to drive the narratives around modern slavery and extreme exploitation sensationalize the experience of modern slavery today.

You can be a powerful ally in setting a standard for communicating the realities of slavery. Please consider signing up to the pledge today:

Yours sincerely,
[Insert name]

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