Vednita Carter

St Paul, USA

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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”.

Cherie Jimenez

Boston, USA

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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.

Agnete Strøm

Bergen, Norway

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Agnete Strøm is a feminist activist. She has been active in the global campaign to end violence towards women and children since 1972, and in that time has held pornography, prostitution, trafficking, female genital mutilation and reproductive health and rights as her main topics of focus.

Agnete is a founding member (1972) of Kvinnefronten, the Women’s Front of Norway, a radical feminist organisation. Agnete is a member of the Kvinnefronten board, with special responsibility for international relations.

In the paper A glimpse of 30 years of struggle against prostitution by the women’s liberation movement in Norway, she describes the period from 1977 till 2009, when the law that criminalises the purchasing of a sexual act came into effect.

Rachel Moran

Dublin, Ireland

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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.

Julie Bindel

London, UK

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Julie Bindel is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and researcher. She has been active in the global campaign to end violence towards women and children since 1979 and has written extensively on surrogacy, rape, domestic violence, sexually motivated murder, prostitution and trafficking, child sexual exploitation, stalking, and the rise of religious fundamentalism and its harm to women and girls.

Julie has authored over 30 book chapters and academic reports on a range of topics pertaining to gender inequality and abuse, and writes regularly for The Guardian newspaper, the New Statesman, Truthdig, and Standpoint Magazine, and appears regularly on the BBC and Sky News. Julie produces radio documentaries on various aspects of violence and exploitation of women and girls.

She was Visiting Journalist at Brunel University (2013 - 2014) and is now on the advisory board of Byline. Julie’s book on the state of the lesbian and gay movement in the UK, Straight Expectations: What Does it Mean to be Gay Today? (Guardian books, 2014) has been praised for being thought-provoking and challenging. Julie has also co-authored Exiting Prostitution: A Study on female desistance (2014) and The Map of My Life: The Story of Emma Humphreys (2003) and is the author of The Pimping of Prostitution: Abolishing the Sex Work Myth (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)

Charlotte Ørnemark

Malmö, Sweden

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Charlotte Ørnemark is an independent consultant working globally on tracking and communicating evidence for social change. This has included bridging data and information gaps between different interest groups and setting up mechanisms for dialogue. She has a long track record of working with learning-oriented monitoring and evaluation.

This work has spanned from leading large-scale global evaluations to working closely with individual organisations and their leadership teams to nurture organisational learning and strategic thinking. Much of the work has been in the field of gender equality, democratic governance, transparency, accountability and civic engagement e.g. for the UN, World Bank and as an individual contractor for various think tanks and non-profit groups.

Lately, she has also engaged with the international donor and philanthropic community on how to enhance the delivery of aid through better use of citizen feedback.