To develop, equip, and empower a community of survivors of human trafficking engaging in advocacy, education, peer-to-peer mentorship, prevention, and policy work using a public health framework and human rights approach.
The National Survivor Network (NSN) is a values-based, survivor-led professional membership community for survivors of human trafficking who are engaged in or preparing for leadership in the many movements to end violence, whether as professionals, activists, or community organizers.
Our leadership is made up of a full-time manager, a steering group, and working group co-facilitators. Working group co-facilitators serve 12-24 month staggered terms and can rotate through leadership on different working groups throughout their time in the NSN. The Learning and Training Working Group (LTWG) develops our skill sessions calendar and supports our training and educational programming. The Membership and Community Working Group (MCWG) oversees new applicant interviewing and onboarding and supports conflict resolution within the network. Current MCWG co-facilitators also serve on our Steering Group alongside its other members. The Steering Group’s primary task is providing guidance on major NSN decisions that impact members, as well as revising, clarifying, and creating foundational practices and documents that align with our non-carceral values. This includes our Expectations for How We Show Up (formerly “Code of Conduct”), safeguarding practices, grievance procedures, and disability justice framework.
We have been rolling out new working groups every 6 months or so, and hope to roll out additional ones soon. It is our vision that within 5 years we will have a poll of 12-20 members who have served on all working groups and are intimately familiar with the core functions of the network. This is in alignment with our grassroots, community-organizing lens: While we are a nonprofit program, we aim to do our work to build collective survivor power, rather than individual.
Our approach to ending and addressing human trafficking emphasizes survivors’ human rights – which were violated through their trafficking experience – most famously outlined in the 2000 United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons. Human rights considerations include recognition of the undeniable right to self-determination, safety, housing, education, and employment, as well as economic, social, political, medical, behavioral, and spiritual well-being. We cannot repair the harm of trafficking and empower survivors’ leadership without prioritizing these concerns.
Commitment to human rights aligns with proven prevention and resilience models. When survivors demonstrate particular vulnerabilities to re-trafficking or other forms of exploitation after their initial exit, ensuring holistic wellbeing through a human rights lens contributes to increased resilience. This process involves reducing risk factors and drivers for human trafficking, including poverty, social inequality, and lack of economic opportunities. Using a human rights lens through the spectrum of service delivery – including emergency services, needs and goals assessments, and long-term case management provision – increases the likelihood that survivors gain and sustain accomplishments, a sense of safety, and individual agency.
Using a human rights lens throughout our approach to survivor empowerment and policy work fosters survivor wellbeing and increases survivors’ effectiveness as advocates and leaders. A human rights approach also leads to policy and protocols that are inclusive, are less likely to have harmful impacts on already-marginalized communities, and that help survivors regain agency that was taken from them through trafficking.
Please see our full Values Statement for more information about how we approach our work.
View our 2022 Report here: LINK
The National Survivor Network is a program of CAST. Please consider a donation to the National Survivor Network. Be sure to indicate in the note line that the donation is for the NSN.