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 network for survivors of human trafficking who are engaged in or preparing for leadership in the anti-trafficking movement. In February 2011, CAST launched the NSN to foster connections between survivors of diverse forms of human trafficking and to build a national anti-trafficking movement in which survivors are at the forefront and recognized as leaders. Members of the NSN include survivors with various backgrounds and origins spanning 24 countries, including Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippine, Republic of Dominican, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Kingdom, and United States. Active members currently reside in over 40 states including Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington D.C. The NSN’s diverse membership makes it uniquely representative of the myriad of situations experienced by survivors of human trafficking. By empowering survivors across the country in their movement leadership, the NSN supports survivors to realize and develop their own skills and fosters collaboration with others who value their insight and expertise in the field.
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 survivor 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.
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.