We’ve seen the headlines on modern slavery around the world, but what do survivors do after they escape or are rescued? How do they rebuild their lives?
Seeing that survivors of trafficking need opportunities, companies and charities are stepping up to provide them with jobs, from catering to coding. Thomson Reuters Foundation explains that these employment prospects often help prevent people from being re-trafficked:
Help must go beyond just shelter and counselling, according to Hasina Kharbhih, founder of the anti-trafficking charity Impulse NGO Network, based in northeastern India.
Impulse helps girls and women trafficked from India to reintegrate into society by equipping them with the skills needed to enter the local job market or set up businesses.
“If you don’t provide rescued girls with skills and opportunities right away, they get frustrated and may end up being re-trafficked,” Kharbhih said ahead of speaking at the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s annual two-day Trust Conference.
Many NGOs and campaigners note that getting a job is the first step to reintegration and that this journey isn’t easy, especially as many survivors suffer from trauma and stigma. Some have trouble accessing housing, counseling, and healthcare.
Phill Clayton of the British charity City Hearts, which partners with British supermarket Co-op to offer jobs to 30 victims of trafficking and slavery, added “Some people are at first very overwhelmed at work . . . they may have panic attacks or mental health issues and have to take a break and seek help.”
Other organizations have higher aspirations for survivors. General Assembly, a U.S. organization offers coding and data courses, has provided about 500 scholarships since 2015 to disadvantaged people including refugees and former prisoners, and plans to include survivors of slavery in the future.