In 2013 the decision was taken to expand the group internationally, and to take on representatives from all corners of the globe. All of the representatives of SPACE International have lived experience of the sex trade, and many of them have extensive experience of front-line work in combatting prostitution and offering exit services to prostituted women and girls. All of its members are outspoken public abolitionist activists, pressing for the Abolitionist (Nordic) Model of prostitution legislation in their own regions of the world.
Since 2012 Marie Merklinger has been a national activist and advocate for the Abolitionist (Nordic) Model. She offers her testimony about the reality of the sex trade in Germany, where prostitution was completely legalised in 2002. She also works with several networks and groups in Germany and internationally to fight for the Abolitionist Model.
Marie joined SPACE in 2013 and has since delivered her personal testimony in Westminster Palace in London and the United Nations Plaza in New York. She calls for the complete reversal of the German model of legalised prostitution, which she knows through personal experience to be a devastating system of legitimised trauma for women and girls. She now fights to overturn this system and replace it with the Abolitionist Model, in Germany and worldwide.
Cherie Jimenez, an activist and survivor, has devoted many years to political activism. She was first engaged in the feminist movement of the 1970’s prior to her complete descent into sexual exploitation and drug addiction. It was in 1976 that she co-founded one of the first domestic violence shelters in the US as a result of her own experiences as a teen mother. She was also one of the organizers of the Women Support Women March; one of the first marches and rallies in Boston addressing violence against women, held at City Hall plaza during the summer of 1976. She remembers, during this time, when prostitution was presented as a celebratory and legitimate form of work, soon realizing later on how it served to not only sustain women’s unequal status but masked the horrific harm and violence that is endemic to it.
Ms. Jimenez eventually exited prostitution in 1990, furthering her education and eventually acquiring a degree in Management from U Mass Boston, which provided the skills and a better foundation to return to social activism. She founded the EVA Center (Education, Vision and Advocacy), a specialized exit program for trafficked and prostituted women. Having survived the sex trade herself, Cherie knows first hand the inherent violence and harms of prostitution and the barriers to getting out. She has also worked to identify Boston’s most vulnerable population and how some of the failed policies and accelerated inequality in the US is contributing to a large domestic sex trade.
Since its inception in 2006, the EVA Center has expanded to include an emergency housing program designed and staffed primarily by survivors. The center also includes programs for leadership development in order to support organizing, creating awareness and understanding, joining alliances and networks locally and internationally to adopt Nordic type legislation to eventually end systems of prostitution and ensure access to opportunities for our most vulnerable populations. Ms. Jimenez is a board member of SPACE International and has spoken and presented at various conferences nationally and internationally and consulted on numerous projects and social justice initiatives.
Vednita Carter is the Founder of Breaking Free, a non-profit organization based in St. Paul Minnesota in 1996, whose mission is to end all forms of prostitution and sex-trafficking. Ms. Carter is also an author, sought-after speaker, trainer and award-winning pioneer in the abolitionist movement. She has extensive experience in developing, planning, and implementing programs for sex trafficked women and girls and training law enforcement/FBI. She was awarded the prestigious Norma Hotaling Award for her life-long service to victims of sex trafficking.
She has traveled to many countries within Europe, South East Asia and South America to educate service providers and community members on Breaking Free’s pioneering work and to offer assistance in helping them to create similar programs. In 2014, Vednita was awarded the Path Breaker Award from Shared Hope International for her tireless efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex. She was named a CNN Hero for her work in ending sexual exploitation of women and girls in the United States, and attended President Obama's State of Union address as the guest of Representative Erik Paulsen.
In 2015 Vednita Carter graduated from the CICA International University and Seminary and received an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity, Ambassador-at-Large and Chaplaincy. This school is the first and only full gospel organization with special status with the United Nations. In 2016 Ms. Carter received ‘The Life Time Achievement Award’ from President Obama for the outstanding work she has done over the last twenty-five years to end the sex trafficking of women and girls. Ms. Carter states that she has been called by God to bring education and knowledge about the harms of prostitution and sex-trafficking, in Minnesota, the Nation and Around the World – and to ultimately “set the captives free”.
Tanja Rahm (born in 1977) was in prostitution for three years in different Danish brothels. After several attempts to get out of it, she finally managed to extricate herself from prostitution and drugs when she was 23 years old. Though suffering from anxiety, suicidal thoughts, depression and what was later recognized as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, she still managed to educate as a therapist, sexologist and as a lecturer. Her book “A-Z Love and Sexuality” was published in Denmark in 2010. In 2014 she got a degree in social education at University Sjaelland.
Tanja wasn’t physically forced into prostitution. She didn’t have a pimp and used to say that her choice was made by her, and her alone. She actually knew, when she was 14 years old, that she would end up selling sex. After a long journey with intense therapy, and a few visits to psychiatric hospitals she discovered that her route into prostitution had been psychologically coerced because of a dysfunctional childhood with alcohol and violence, a youth littered with sexual assaults, a resulting low self-esteem and a lack of confidence in her surroundings. The first time she was sexually assaulted by a pedophile, she was 10 years old. When the pedophile was done assaulting her, he gave her money to shut her up, and the link between Tanja´s sexuality and the fact that she could use it to earn money, was made.
Tanja Rahm now teaches students about sexuality and boundaries and speaks loudly against prostitution and the glamourising of ‘sugar-dating', ‘escorting' and prostitution. She is a political activist and has spoken at hearings in Denmark and worldwide against prostitution. As a writer, she has written lots of articles about the negative efforts of prostitution and about the complex violence in prostitution. The most well-known article is the one she wrote to the buyers back in 2014 “For you who buy sex”, and was directly written to the johns to let them know how she felt about them and their actions. The letter was translated into more than eight languages and published in countries all around the world.
In 2014 she founded a community in Denmark for women who have been in prostitution and now recommend the Nordic model. The community now has a board and more than 50 members and are often referred to in the public debate and involved in the media when prostitution is a topic.
Mickey Meji (Nomonde Mihlali Meji) is a South African survivor of the sex trade and leading human and women’s rights activist and advocate in South Africa. Mickey has presented at both national and international conferences including the 5th South African AIDS Conference, as well as presenting the findings of her own research at the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA). She has experience in speaking and writing for traditional media and social media, representing an advocacy strategy to change legislation and behaviour in this aspect of human rights.
Mickey has sat as a representative on national, regional and international policy making bodies and spaces including the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board NGO Delegation (Africa Delegate) and the South African National AIDS Council SANAC (Sector Leader), has also represented and presented at national, regional and international conferences.
Mickey is passionate about the rights of women and girls in prostitution and strives to abolish prostitution in South Africa, Africa, and the world. She works with women and young people to raise an awareness on the dangers of prostitution in a bid to prevent others from experiencing what she has experienced.
It is this passion that has seen Mickey collaborating with other survivors in forming the first ever survivor movement in Africa, and the formation of her newly founded organisation Survivor Empowerment & Support Programme. She has a vision of a world where no woman or girl is bought, sold and exploited. Her values are Freedom, Justice & Equality.
Fiona Broadfoot is a sex trade survivor, having been trafficked into prostitution at the age of fifteen. Fiona spent 11 years entrenched in the violent world of prostitution. Her exit from the sex trade was prompted by the murder of her 17-year-old cousin (who had been groomed into prostitution at the age of 14) who was killed by a sex buyer in 1995.
She was a close friend and fellow campaigner of Irene Ivison, they co-founded Parents Against Child Exploitation (PACE - formerly known as Coalition for the removal of Pimping, CROP) in 1996, and Street EXIT, which was formed to offer support to women exiting prostitution. Fiona travelled the country with Irene, campaigning, speaking about her own experiences at conferences and on television, challenging the public and professional perception that prostitution is a job and that most girls and young women involved had chosen that ‘lifestyle’. Irene sadly died in 2000, but Fiona had the strength and commitment to carry on the fight alone.
Fiona went on to become involved in training professionals and working with young people at risk of, or currently being sexually exploited and abused in prostitution. She could speak directly to young people, using the credibility of her own personal experience.
She has also continued to campaign on the issue of violence against women and girls. She has spoken at many national and International conferences and has advised government policy in both Ireland and Scotland. She is a fierce proponent of the Abolitionist (Nordic) model. She is an inspirational communicator, who can change attitudes through the power and passion of her public speaking. She is also selfless in telling her own story, sometimes at much personal cost, to demonstrate the reality of being a victim and survivor of prostitution abuse. She can communicate effortlessly and effectively with victims, survivors, professionals and politicians.
Fiona recently achieved a place on the highly competitive Lloyds School for Social Entrepreneurs and has now started her own social enterprise called the ‘Build a Girl Project’. The Project is firmly based on survivor led perspectives and is deeply committed to supporting and empowering victims and survivors of sexual exploitation and prostitution abuse and challenging the normalisation of sexism and misogyny that girls and young women are often faced with and constrained by.
Ne’cole Daniels is an expert in combatting sexual exploitation and addressing the root causes of trafficking within various marginalized communities. This has been her passion and work for the past 15 years.
As the co-founder of Innovations HTC Ne’cole is directly responsible for client service programs and the CSE Survivor Support and Empowerment Program. Innovations HTC provides training and technical assistance support to agencies/organizations that serve those who have been effected by commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking. She also leads a team to develop curriculum and training content. I serve as a training facilitator and organizational PR contact.
She also is a co-founder of World without Exploitation and a representative of SPACE International. Ne’cole knows firsthand the personal impact of sexual exploitation and human trafficking, being a survivor of sexual exploitation herself, having spent nine years trapped in the sex trade through multi-generational familial trafficking.
Ne’cole is an anti-trafficking expert and skilled in creating system change through training, partnerships, advocacy and policy. This advocacy includes speaking at the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations Plaza in New York and providing expert testimony at the British Parliament on the topic of racially marginalized women in prostitution. She also provided testimony that supported the passage of the Sexual Offences Act in the Republic of Ireland. In addition Ne’cole provides trainings to first responders, community providers, law enforcement and the Juvenile justice system.
Ms. Daniels has vast professional experience including working as the Director of programs for safe housing and supportive services for commercially sexually exploited minors. In this role Ne’cole managed a staff of twelve which included case management, mentor programs, and a drop-in center.
Ms. Daniels recently relocated to Washington State and is the proud mother of four children.
Autumn Burris is a dedicated and passionate leading subject matter expert with over twenty years experience combating sexual exploitation. As the Founding Director of Survivors for Solutions, an international speaker and a survivor of sexual exploitation and multiple forms of violence against women, Ms. Burris utilizes her lived experiences and expertise as an influential and invaluable force in effectuating public policy reform, delivering training and presentations and fostering positive change and social recognition to exploited individuals.
Ms. Burris holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science/Public Policy with minor Human Rights from the University of California, San Diego. As a policy expert and survivor of sexual exploitation, Autumn’s advocacy experience includes the United Nations, British Parliament, and legislative advocacy at the federal level, including testifying on California legislation and providing expert testimony in federal trafficking cases.
In 2012, Ms. Burris was invited by UN Women to participate as panelist at the Stakeholders’ Forum on Preventing and Eliminating Violence Against Women in preparation for the 57th session of Commission on the Status of Women. As a panelist, she highlighted the gaps between existing global norms and standards and policy implementation within systems of sexual exploitation.
Ms. Burris co-authored the article Been There Done That: SAGE - A Peer Leadership Model Among Prostitution Survivors, also featured in the book Prostitution, Trafficking and Traumatic Stress. She authored a chapter entitled, No Life for a Human Being, in Prostitution Narratives: Stories of Survival in the Sex Trade.
Autumn trains multi-disciplinary audiences including law enforcement, attorneys, licensed professionals, service providers, educators and survivors. Ms. Burris has experience educating sex buyers and traffickers. Her primary focus is on cutting through the complexities and establishing critical policies for abolishing the sex trade in all its forms, including human trafficking.
She is currently an Expert Consultant with the Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center, a Peer Reviewer with the Office of Justice Programs and a member of Survivors of Prostitution Abuse Calling for Enlightenment (SPACE) International.
Marian Hatcher has been with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) for 13 years where she is the Senior Project Manager for the Office of Public Policy as well as the Human Trafficking Coordinator. She coordinates several of CCSO’s anti-trafficking efforts such as the “National Johns Suppression Initiative,” a nationwide effort with approximately 100 arresting agencies and more than 200 law enforcement partners targeting the buyers of sex as the driving force of sex trafficking and prostitution.
Ms. Hatcher is a national expert on combating the demand for commercial sex. In addition to sitting on numerous boards, she has facilitated important training on trafficking and prostitution for various law enforcement groups including the F.B.I. and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She has traveled the country speaking at various events and conferences, shedding light on the prevalent issue of trafficking and telling her own story as a survivor of sex trafficking and domestic violence.
She is a recipient of numerous awards including DePaul University’s Helen F. McGillicuddy Award for her work in the Advancement of Women and Gender Rights and Shared Hope International’s Path Breaker Award, presented to individuals who have dedicated themselves to tackling the demand that drives domestic minor sex trafficking. Most recently, Ms. Hatcher was awarded the 2016 Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service from President Obama.
Ms. Hatcher received her BS from Loyola University in 1985 concentrating on Finance. Her previous experiences include working at three major corporations. On August 2015, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity, Ambassador- At-Large and Chaplaincy from CICA International University & Seminary, an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, (ECOSOC).
Sabrinna Valisce experienced prohibition and full decriminalisation in New Zealand. She also experienced partial legalisation in Queensland and partial decriminalisation in Sydney, Australia. During this time she volunteered with the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) on and off for over two decades until she came to the conclusion that decriminalisation was unable to fix the problems in the sex trade.
Within the collective, Sabrinna struggled with the resistance she saw toward Exit Services and the acceptance of serious issues under the new full decriminalisation model. Issues that once would have been fought were barely being acknowledged. This prompted her to do her own research on the Nordic Model, which decriminalises people in prostitution while criminalising third party profiteers and punters. She slowly discovered that the views previously taught to her were a false narrative where abolitionists were presented as religiously motivated extremists rather than the truthful representation of them as activists, many of whom were sex trade survivors. She left the red umbrella’s and spent the next two years discovering for herself a far more nuanced understanding of the issue from independent sources. She began speaking online and meeting many people with strong views on all sides of the political divide.
Her first speaking engagement happened quite by accident when another speaker failed to show for 2016 World’s Oldest Oppression Conference in Melbourne. She went from audience member to speaker just fifteen minutes before the conference began. Here she met Rachel Moran and Julie Bindel. Since that meeting her activism took off and she found herself on the other side of the world speaking in the Westminster Parliament in London only three months later. Since then she has spoken in the Brisbane Parliament for the first Australian Summit Against Sexual Exploitation, International Women’s Day in Melbourne, for Radio New Zealand and Women’s Hour BBC in London amongst others.
She joined the strategy meetings for implementation of the Nordic Model in Victoria where she works alongside frontline services and organisations, MP’s, Police officers and researchers. She also joined the activist group Sister Survivor where women can write to journalists, media and politicians anonymously and can have input toward policies without having to go public. Sabrinna is one of their few public members and she gives voice to their concerns on their behalf. As of November 2017 Sabrinna will be joining the board of frontline service Herspace; a unique Trauma Informed service for women harmed by sexual exploitation.
Rachel Moran (Ireland) is the founding member of SPACE International and author of the bestselling ‘Paid For - My Journey Through Prostitution,’ regarded by legal scholar Catharine MacKinnon as “the best work by anyone on prostitution ever.” Her work has also been endorsed by Jane Fonda, U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Gloria Steinem, Robin Morgan and many others.
“Paid For” has been published in eight countries and numerous languages with French and Korean translations currently underway. Ms. Moran was prostituted for seven years in Dublin and across Ireland, beginning when she was 15 years old. Ms. Moran later completed her education and received a degree in Journalism from Dublin City University and a Masters in Creative Writing from University College Dublin. She first addressed a crowd in 2011, which gathered at the launch of the Turn Off The Red Light campaign urging Ireland to adopt the Nordic model.
As an abolitionist, Ms. Moran was instrumental in bringing the Abolitionist (Nordic) Model to Ireland in two separate processes on either side of the Irish border, and works centrally within the international survivors movement, which calls for the implementation of the Abolitionist Model worldwide. She speaks regularly at the United Nations, the European Parliament and other global institutions.
Bridget Perrier is a First Nations woman. Her spirit name is Wasaya Kwe, meaning Women of Light. Bridget was born to a Ojibaway woman who lovingly placed Bridget up for adoption so that she would have a better life, and so she was rasied in a large, loving, non-native family. When Bridget was 8 years old she was sexually abused by a family friend, the pain that she felt burdened her, and by 12 years old Bridget had been lured and debased into prostitution. She was bought and sold in brothels all over Canada.
At the age of 16 she became pregnant, to her joy gave birth to a beautiful baby boy who she named Tanner. At 9 months Tanner was diagnosed with Leukemia and bravely battled it for the next five years but through it Bridget remained on the streets and continued to struggle in and out of prostitution. Five years later Tanner tragically passed away from his cancer in Bridget’s arms, but Tanner made a death bed request: for his mom to straighten up her life and do good. Tanner’s death impacted Bridget so much that she started her healing journey and exited the sex industry completely.
Bridget found healing within Toronto’s First Nations community, eventually went back to school and got into George Brown college, where she graduated The Community Worker Program. Bridget also was a recipient of the YWCA Woman of Distinction Turning Point award in 2006.
Bridget as a First Nations woman has made it her mission to educate everyone about the real truths and stories that dispels the myths that Prostitution is a Choice. Bridget has gotten a second chance at motherhood and has been blessed with three beautiful daughters, and one special needs grandson, her daughters are active role models in the social justice movement. Recently Bridget accompanied her oldest daughter to the Missing Women’s Inquiry in Vancouver so that her daughter could speak about the loss of her Birth mother Brenda Wolfe. Bridget speaks from a First Nations perspective and feels that Prostitution truly effects and places Canada’s First Nations women in harms way and at risk.