My name is Grace Kalekye, and I am a passionate advocate against Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery. In 2022, I had the honor of being elected as the most impactful Survivor Advocate by the Elkes Impact Award and Free the Slaves. I was recognized for exposing the hidden sex trafficking trade that was occurring in India, affecting not only myself but also many other young women from Africa. Through the support of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), I was able to share my story and shed light on this issue, which ultimately led to my return to my home country. You can watch the documentary that includes my story here: https://youtu.be/0vDe6rUFs90
My journey began when I left my country to pursue my dreams of becoming a dancer in India. However, I found myself trapped in a world of sex trafficking, forced into a life I never imagined. With the help of a friend from the BBC, I reached out for assistance, and together we worked tirelessly to ensure my safe return. This experience ignited a fire within me to fight against human trafficking and to protect others from falling victim to this cruel trade.
As survivors, we have a unique perspective and voice that can bring about meaningful change. It is our responsibility to use our expertise and personal experiences to educate and empower our communities. We must share our stories, raise awareness, and provide guidance for a better future.
Through my advocacy work, I have had the privilege of becoming the Freedom from Slavery Forum ambassador. This role has allowed me to participate in important forums and programs focused on social change. Recently, I attended a conference in the Dominican Republic where the discussions revolved around finding solutions to end human trafficking and modern slavery. One crucial aspect highlighted was the inclusion of survivors in these efforts. I am thrilled to see survivors being given opportunities to work with organizations, serving as examples of resilience and empowerment, ensuring that they are not lured back into the cycle of trafficking. I am incredibly grateful for the support and engagement I have received from Free the Slaves, as I continue my journey into my second year as their forum ambassador and intern. The knowledge and skills I have gained through this organization have been invaluable.
Looking ahead, my vision as a survivor advocate leader is to continue collaborating with organizations in the fight against human trafficking. I aim to break down stigmas and ensure that survivors are respected and not judged for their past experiences. My ultimate goal is to see justice served and for every survivor of human trafficking to live a life of freedom. Together, with collective efforts, we can bring an end to Human Trafficking.