One of the most important challenges for the anti-slavery movement is to ensure that survivors receive the support they need to reclaim their dignity and restart their lives. And to do that, it’s vital that the people who know slavery best – trafficking survivors themselves – help guide the work.
One such leader is Timea Nagy, who received a Free the Slaves Freedom Award last Friday at the “Stolen Lives” anti-trafficking conference at Quinnipiac University. FTS Executive Director Maurice Middleberg presented Timea with her award during an emotional closing event that featured the premiere of a video minidocumentary of Timea’s ordeal in slavery.
Timea was working as a television producer in Hungary, and flew to Canada to earn some quick cash to finish a TV show. The job offer was a trick; she was trapped in sex slavery in Toronto.
Since her escape, Timea has become a leader in Canada’s anti-trafficking movement. She created the country’s first mobile hotline and safe house for sex trafficking victims. Her team at Walk With Me has received more than 800 calls for help and has sheltered more than 250 survivors. Timea trains police to recognize that women and girls in forced prostitution are victims and not criminals. She frequently raises awareness in the media that modern-day slavery exists in Canada. Her book is called Memoirs of a Sex Slave Surviror.
Our congratulations to Timea on receiving her Freedom Award. FTS periodically awards heroes like Timea for their courage and determination. It’s a way to shine a light on what some of the best anti-slavery work in the world looks like, and to underscore that slavery can be overcome through the kind of courage, innovation and determination that Timea exemplifies. Thank you, Timea!
And our thanks to Quinnipiac University for inviting Timea to present her first-person perspective on slavery’s psychosocial impacts to a prestigious gathering of 200 anti-slavery activists, academic researchers, government policymakers and health care professionals.