For more than two decades, Vital Voices Global Partnership has invested in women leaders working to improve our world. They do this by partnering with women leaders who are defending human rights, fostering economic growth and safeguarding political freedoms. Their work is centered on the key belief that investing in women leaders is the most efficient way to transform lives and to accelerate peace and prosperity in communities. Over 20 years of work they have learned that deep, strategic investments in individual women leaders, with a bold idea and a commitment to fighting inequality, makes the most sustainable impact and large scale progress and is the most effective way to make lasting change across the globe.
Specifically, through its human rights programming, Vital Voices supports women leaders addressing all forms of gender-based violence, such as domestic violence, harmful traditional practices and human trafficking. Anti-trafficking work is the focus of Vital Voice’s annual Global Freedom Exchange (GFE), during which a cohort of between 15-25 women confronting human trafficking in their home countries convene in the United States for a two-week interactive learning and networking experience. This year’s cohort will tour three cities – Dallas, Naples and the District of Columbia – to learn the successes and challenges of various anti-trafficking initiatives operating in the U.S.
While in the District, GFE participants will also have the opportunity to create a Golden Door to Freedom – ArtWorks for Freedom’s participatory art project that turns abandoned doors into beautiful work of arts, bringing a communal focus on human trafficking. Cindy Dyer, Vital Voice’s Vice President for Human Rights, says Golden Doors to Freedom will provide a powerful experience for the women leaders participating in GFE that is also relatable to their everyday work.
“Each year, we try to find activities for our GFE members that will vary their experience and give them something enjoyable and expressive to participate in. We’ve worked with graffiti artists in the past to create art awareness, and we’re excited to partner with ArtWorks for Freedom and the Golden Doors to Freedom project,” Dyer says. “We’re also really committed to the role that survivor advocates play in anti-trafficking work, and we think the Golden Doors to Freedom project is something that our leaders can use in their home countries with the survivors they work with.”
ArtWorks for Freedom and Vital Voices also share a similar belief in the power of art and culture to change perceptions. Women leaders creating a Golden Door will not only create a tangible art piece that raises awareness of human trafficking, but will also speak to the power of women leaders taking on trafficking around the world.