HERvoices: Survivors of Contemporary Slavery
Who They Are and Choose to Be, In Boston, Massachusetts

Recommended for ages 14+

HERvoices: Survivors of Contemporary Slavery is a layered and intimate multimedia program of three women's life journeys, one of which is read aloud by seven female audience members in the room. This participatory presentation includes recounts of enslavement, however emphasizes who the women are, as real, live people, in their own words, and as they choose to be and represent themselves.

Prior to the first passing of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act in 2000 and the Sudan Peace Act in 2002, as well as the Darfur Crisis in 2005, little was known - publicly and globally - about modern slavery. Since, however, society has become more aware of and engaged with the problem of modern slavery. This presentation responds to and adds to this rising awareness by encouraging audience members to listen for, and learn to hear, the voices beyond the headlines -- the people most often only written for and spoken about.

Abuk's story is presented in recorded video clips: She was born in Southern Sudan, and was then abducted as a child and enslaved in Northern Sudan for ten years. She tells stories of her Grandfather and her home village, and of her life now in the U.S. T is a Nurse's Assistant and tells her story through recorded audio and still photographs. She was born in Ethiopia, enslaved in the United Arab Emirates when she accepted a 'job' there, and escaped when the family she worked for visited the U.S. She tells stories of adjusting to Boston, including working at her first job at Dunkin' Donuts. K's testimony is read by seven female audience members and shares a beautiful, complex and poignant story about her childhood, losing her mother, her dreams for the future, and more. Her story is complete, except she chooses not to share her identity.

The immediacy and candidness of the presentation evokes an in-person meeting between the audience and the profiled women, reminding us all of our universal connection and shared humanity. The presentation is not so much about misfortune, enslavement and horror -- but rather about resiliency, stamina and the beauty of life.

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