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The OPS LENS (Leadership, Education, Networking and Support) Project is a pilot program focused on promoting survivor advocacy within the movement to end Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE). This program bridges the gap between advocacy and activism and is geared toward giving survivors the skills they need to fight for the rights and protections of survivors of CSE on a local and national level.

History:

The LENS Project was conceived by two survivors of CSE during their participation in the Vital Voices Hilton Worldwide Global Freedom Exchange Fellowship. As the only two survivors of CSE participating in the fellowship (which brought together 23 emerging women leaders working against child sex trafficking from 17 different countries) they were asked over and over again by participants “How do you involve survivors within the movement?” On completing the fellowship the two survivors, one being an OPS board member, took a deep dive into their own experiences and the experiences of other survivors within the movement and pinpointed 11 program areas which they believed could assist survivors in amplifying their voice within the movement to end CSE. We believe in a movement that is not only survivor informed, but survivor led.

After the fellowship the two survivors under the auspice of OPS applied for and received a small grant which has given them the opportunity to pilot this cutting edge programming to 12 survivors of CSE across the country. We would be honored if you would join us on this learning process.

What you will get from the program:

This program will give you foundational knowledge in the following 11 program areas:

  • Policy Approaches to CSE
  • Gender and Gender Based Violence (Her Story, Our Story)
  • Women’s Movements for Sustainable Change
  • Public Speaking and Speech Writing
  • Utilizing and Interacting with Media
  • Networking for Activists and Advocates
  • Sisterhood and Leadership
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Self-Care

On completion of the program, you will receive a certificate of completion, a handbook summarizing the course with accompanying recommended reading and a stipend in the form of a Visa Gift Card for $120 to thank you for your participation.

These program areas have been identified as some of the most important areas of knowledge for skill building to become effective advocates and agents of social change. It is important to note that this program is not based around contract development or fee negotiation. Rather, we are focusing on hard skills which will allow you to build your ability to advocate for others not only yourself. We believe that contract building and storytelling are essential to individual sustainability, however, this program will give you the skills to build your reputation for being an effective advocate within the movement for those who have not yet broken free.

What are the prerequisites for applying?

There are only three prerequisites for application

  1. Be a survivor of Commercial Sexual Exploitation (which includes all forms of CSE including but not limited to prostitution, sex trafficking, or pornography)
  2. Be capable of actively attending 12 1 ½ – 2 hour webinars over a 6 month period
  3. Either already be or have an interest in becoming active within advocacy/activism in the movement to end CSE

Ready to apply? Click Here!

Have more questions? Email Alisa at alisa.bernard@seattleops.org