Media

Black Women Against the Sex Trade

Webinar: 27th Nov 2020

SPACE International is hosting an online event in Dublin, Ireland, on Friday, 27th November.

Hear from international survivors about their experiences of prostitution, their thoughts on how Ireland can continue to combat sexual exploitation, and why they seek to replicate Irish-style legislation in their own nations.

The event will feature four speakers from across the globe: 

  • Marian Hatcher from Chicago, USA, is a survivor of sex trafficking and domestic violence. She has worked with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office for the past 13 years, where she is the Senior Project Manager for the Office of Public Policy, as well as the Human Trafficking Coordinator. In 2016, she was awarded a Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service by President Barack Obama.
  • Roëlla Lieveld from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Roëlla is the founder and director of Share Network, which creates opportunities for survivors of human trafficking to thrive. For the past decade, she has dedicated her time to assisting victims of sexual abuse and human trafficking, working with local judges, aftercare placements, police detectives and social workers to ensure survivors receive proper advocacy. 
  • Mickey Meji from Cape Town, South Africa, is a survivor of the sex trade and a leading human rights activist. She has served as Africa Delegate for the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board NGO Delegation, and as Sector Leader for the South African National AIDS Council. Her vison of a world where no woman or girl is bought, sold or exploited has led her to found the first ever survivor movement in Africa, the Survivor Empowerment and Support Programme
  • Vednita Carter from St. Paul, USA, is the founder of Breaking Free, a non-profit organisation that helps women escape sex trafficking and prostitution. She has received numerous awards for her work, including the Norma Hotaling Award; the Path Breaker Award for Shared Hope International; and a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama. She has also been named a ‘CNN Hero’ for her work to end the sexual exploitation of women and girls in the USA. 

Salome Mbugua will moderate the event. Salome is a gender equality activist and human rights advocate. She is the founder of AkiDwA, the migrant women’s network in Ireland, and a member of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

Event Details

Date: Friday, 27th November 2020
Time: 1pm to 2pm
Format: Webinar

Attendance is free, but advance registration is required.
Register now at: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/space-international-webinar-tickets-129019194885

  • "Remembering friend’s I have lost along the way, and taking a glance at all the violence, rape and inhumane activities, I just can’t help but recognize my luck to alive today."
    - Mickey Meji, Cape Town, South Africa
  • "When New Zealand passed full decriminalisation, things changed in unexpected ways and I came to understand that the myths of legal protection, autonomy, increased choice and greater community acceptance were unfounded.. The myth of health being better was proved false in less than 6 months of the law reform. Women were kissing and risking herpes, doing oral sex without condoms with the risk of throat warts, doing rougher and riskier practices just to get the jobs.. I dealt with punters changing expectations. I had no choice but to fight against this model ever spreading to another country."
    - Sabrinna Valisce, Melbourne, Australia
  • "What I know today is that women are victimised by the system of prostitution by innumerable perpetrators, and at the same time victimised by a society which is not only allowing but encouraging prostitution by accepting it as a 'job like any other'. We are victims of a society blind in one eye, advancing the wealth of a privileged few over the suffering of an incalculable number of women and children."
    - Marie Merklinger, Stuttgart, Germany
  • "For me, sexual abuse was a direct route into prostitution. The same kind of destructive abuse chosen by myself, because I knew this feeling and recognised myself in this situation, even though the situation traumatised me over and over again."
    - Tanja Rahm, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • "I was able to exit prostitution and rebuild my life, and with that my education became a tool. I was recognized for my tenacity and my strength and have been able now to be an asset to my community and to my people."
    - Bridget Perrier, Toronto, Canada
  • "It might surprise you, but it can happen to anyone. No you’re not exempt. I wasn’t."
    - Marian Hatcher, Chicago, USA
  • "Just because dancing (stripping) is legal does not mean it’s not violence against women - Stripping and prostitution go hand in hand."
    - Vednita Carter, St Paul, USA
  • "Many people ask me, how did I get into prostitution, was I “trafficked” or was I a willing participant? What many don’t understand is - however we entered - what the act of prostitution does to us; how it slowly strips us of any semblance of ourselves, as we try to sell part of our bodies, while keeping our soul intact. Prostitution preys on the most vulnerable; it takes us places we never intended to go, all driven by those who feel entitled to pay for our bodies. "
    - Cherie Jimenez, Boston, USA
  • "At the tender age of fifteen I was coerced into the brutal world of prostitution, I immediately lost my identity. I liken my day to day life to being on the front lines of a battlefield. I spent the next eleven years shut down and disassociated. I supressed feelings of shame and disgust constantly, by telling myself that this was a job like any other."
    - Fiona Broadfoot, Bradford, UK
  • "When I look back now I see that prostitutuion lured and consumed those of us who were already marginalised in society. If you were poor, if you were disadvantaged, if you had come from a broken home or had vulnerabilities connected to prior cycles of abuse, especially sexual abuse, prostitution was there waiting for you. Prostitution is a trap, and it’s not a coincidence that all over the world it ensnares those who are already struggling to survive."
    - Rachel Moran, Dublin, Ireland
  • "My body, mind, and spirit survived so many things for so many years. The sexual exploitation and violence I endured was almost like something that happened to someone else. If I had told myself the truth about what was being done to me, my psyche would have splintered into a million pieces."
    - Autumn Burris, Denver, USA
Read more testimonials
"At the tender age of fifteen I was coerced into the brutal world of prostitution, I immediately lost my identity. I liken my day to day life to being on the front lines of a battlefield. I spent the next eleven years shut down and disassociated. I supressed feelings of shame and disgust constantly, by telling myself that this was a job like any other."
- Fiona Broadfoot, Bradford, UK
Read more testimonials