We are so pleased to release such an inspiring conversation for our last working from home conversation. Our co-founders, HRH Princess Eugenie of York and Julia de Boinville, are joined by the incredible Minh Dang, co-founder and Executive Director of Survivor Alliance. Minh is also a PhD student and member of the Rights Lab at the University of Nottingham, studying the wellbeing of survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking.
Survivor Alliance are developing a global network of survivor leaders, who can effectively inform the anti-slavery movement through sharing their expertise. Survivor input to policy, protocols and research is essential to ending modern slavery. Survivor input opportunities also empower survivors, both personally and economically.
In addition to encouraging these consulting roles, Minh is delighted to tell us that Survivor Alliance have hired one of their original UK members. Minh knows how important a job like this is post-enslavement and is proud to have built an organisation that can launch the economic freedom of others.
Minh explains how her PhD research into survivor wellbeing has found that there is not enough emphasis on helping survivors build a prosperous life in freedom, in spite of the long-term mental health consequences of enslavement. Recognising this gap, she has created a community for survivors through the Survivor Alliance. Members of the network are inspired by their united voices and shared experiences and supported to develop community-based, sustainable solutions to everyday challenges.
As Minh says, she is “creating the world that I want for myself, but, then of course, sharing that and knowing that I am not the only one who wants that world.”
Launched just over two years ago, Survivor Alliance is an international NGO with the mission to unite and empower survivors around the world to be leaders in their communities and advocate on their own behalf. Their vision is a world where survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking are thriving members of society. They focus on building sustainble communities with, by, of, and for survivors of slavery and human trafficking. They are a global community of 230 members. The members are survivors of all types of trafficking and slavery.
Find out more about Survivor Alliance on their website.
Survivor Alliance seeks to amplify the voices of those who wish to share their stories to impact change by creating consulting opportunities for their members. These opportunities both economically empower the members and strengthen the anti-slavery movement by ensuring that survivors’ expertise and opinions are considered within anti-slavery policies, service provider protocols, and research efforts.
“It is imperative that our movement integrate survivors as equal members of our community. We are here to build with you. When we knock on your doors, please invite us in. We do not want our words to continue to fall on deaf ears, but rest assured, we will not be silent.”Minh Dang, Global Slavery Index 2018
Survivor Alliance is planning their Survivor World Congress, the first collective meeting of survivors. The event will convene and empower survivors from all over the world, building a worldwide community and uplifting emerging survivor advocates. The first half will be survivor-only, creating a safe space for survivors to share their stories and inspire each other. The event will also bring survivors and allies together to bridge divides, educate allies and start a real conversation that listens to the priorities of survivors.
The World Congress has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we look forward to sponsoring this event next year.
Run for Freedom
As Minh mentions, Survivor Alliance are official sponsors of the Robin Hood Half Marathon in Nottingham on 27th September. Their Run for Freedom is another way that Survivor Alliance seeks to enhance the wellbeing of survivors. As their sponsorship page says,
“Survivors cope with heightened levels of traumatic stress, complex relationships with our bodies, and for some people, physical disabilities and injuries. Also, many survivors are used to being trapped in rooms or places without the freedom to move about. Running (and or walking) as a community allows us to remember – we are alive, we have allies, and we can reclaim our health and wellbeing.”
If you are looking for a challenge to set yourself, why not start training and run with and for them? Alternatively, if running doesn’t appeal to you, sponsor those who are!
Minh is the co-founder and Executive Director of Survivor Alliance. She is also a PhD student at the University of Nottingham’s School of Politics and International Relations, and a member of the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab, studying the wellbeing of survivors of human trafficking and slavery. Prior to returning to academia, Minh was Team Manager at Linde Group and Co-Principal Investigator for a community-based research study funded by the U.S. National Institute of Justice, evaluating an anti-trafficking task force in San Francisco, CA.
Minh’s public service career includes serving as a Presidential Appointee to the first ever U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking and an Advisory Board member for AnnieCannons, an organization training survivors of human trafficking to become software developers. She is also an independent consultant, trainer, and speaker on issues of human trafficking, child abuse, leadership development, and social justice.
From 2005 to 2011, she worked at the UC Berkeley Public Service Center, coordinate student leadership and service-learning programs, including the Bonner Leaders AmeriCorps Program. She has served on the non-profit Boards of Youth, Engagement, Advocacy, Housing (YEAH!) and The Morris Center for Healing from Child Abuse. In 2013, she was one of fifteen Asian Pacific Islander Women named a Champion of Change by President Barack Obama for her work to empower survivors of slavery and human trafficking.
Although Minh is now in the UK, she was born and bred in California, USA, and a two-time alum of the University of California, Berkeley. She earned a Bachelors in Sociology and Masters in Social Welfare, with an emphasis on Community Mental Health. She is a fan of stationery and farmers’ markets, loves to sing, and Yosemite National Park is her favorite place on the planet.