An Oral History of Efforts to Address Human Trafficking
Voices of Freedom, a collaborative initiative between the Office on Trafficking in Persons (OTIP), the Administration for Native Americans (ANA), and StoryCorps Visit disclaimer page , records, preserves, and shares the stories of survivors of trafficking and allied professionals. As an ongoing archive of nearly 100 recorded discussions, Voices of Freedom commemorates the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) by collecting oral histories through conversations with those who have informed, shaped, and contributed to the successes of anti-trafficking efforts over the past two decades.
In these personal and powerful stories, participants share some of the moments that shaped them, the lessons they have learned, and their hopes for the future of the anti-trafficking field. Each story serves as a reminder of the importance of remembering history and will be used to inform future work in the fight to end human trafficking.
Voices of Freedom is just one element of the Administration for Children and Families' (ACF) comprehensive efforts to prevent human trafficking, but it is an important one. The conversations memorialized in the Voices of Freedom archive allow us to witness the remarkable impact of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and the diverse stories challenge us to reexamine the past to ensure the voices of those who experience trafficking in the present are heard. On behalf of ACF, I want to send our heartfelt thanks to all who shared their personal memories, experiences, and perspectives, which will help inform anti-human trafficking efforts both in our country and around the globe.
- JooYeun Chang, ACF Acting Assistant Secretary
Voices of Freedom demonstrates the power of conversation and storytelling, showing how oral history is crucial to public service and public record keeping. The archive shares reflections from a diverse range of lived experiences, contributes to the democratization of historical records, and emphasizes the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the development of anti-human trafficking programs and initiatives. These firsthand accounts of how survivors' experiences have changed over the past 20 years will be preserved at the American Folklife Center Visit disclaimer page at the Library of Congress.
Creating social change on entrenched issues like human trafficking takes decades and often requires sustained vigilance across generations. Our collaboration with StoryCorps provides a platform for survivors and allied professionals to pause, reflect, and share their personal journeys towards progress over the last 20 years. Just as legacies of historical injustices contribute to human trafficking today, these stories reveal the influences and lessons learned from intergenerational struggles for justice.
- Katherine Chon, Director of the Office on Trafficking in Persons
How the Archive Came Together
StoryCorps hosted customized training sessions on StoryCorps’ methods, the power of storytelling, and how to create a culture of listening at any organization. Participants, including both individuals who have experienced trafficking and allied professionals, selected partner(s) and recorded approximately 40 minutes of conversation. Each pair or trio structured their sessions in ways that were best suited to share their thoughts, memories, and perspectives on the past, present, and future of the anti-trafficking movement.
Add Your Voice to the Archive
Just as the work to address human trafficking is ongoing, hearing from survivors and allied professionals is a continuing priority. Each conversation will be used to document changes in how we identify, protect, and assist victims of human trafficking and inform our next steps in the anti-human trafficking field. Interested in adding your voice to the archive? Check out the resources below to get started:
- Starter Guide (PDF) - step-by-step instructions on how to set up, record, and archive your conversation through StoryCorps Connect (don't forget to tag the conversations with the keyword "FreedomVoices" for inclusion in the archive).
- Conversation Guide (PDF) - sample conversation starters and tips for preparing for your interview.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (PDF)
- 10 Conversation Tips (PDF)
- At-Home Recording Recommendations (PDF)
- Keywording 101 (PDF)
- Archiving 101 (PDF)
We want to hear from you. Your story, the moments that shaped who you are and how you show up to do this work, the lessons you’ve learned along the way, your hopes for the future… are reflections only you can share. We look forward to hearing your story!