Sharing stories, changing lives
At Sassy Mama HQ, we all know the power of a person’s story. We love highlighting individuals from mums, to dads, to organisations and give them a platform to share more about themselves. From their ups and downs to the lessons they’ve learned – there is always something to take away from their experiences. Beyond the stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, we also love organisations that bring to light stories of individuals who may not get the opportunity to have their voices heard.
Enter 100storiesHK, a platform where redemptive personal stories of people being trafficked and how they’ve overcome are shared. The hope of the team behind 100storiesHK is not only to create awareness on the issue of human trafficking in Hong Kong but to personalise it as well. We chatted to Janice Ma from 100storiesHK so find out more about the valuable work that’s being done in our city. Read more and see how you can get involved to support this platform.
Tell us about how 100storiesHK came to life.
100storiesHK was borne out of the simple idea that stories are powerful, and sharing personal experiences can really help others have a more personal connection and understanding of a complicated issue like human trafficking. One of our partners started sharing stories on their website about 2 years ago, and over time, they saw that there was a lot of potential to collaborate with other organisations on the ground working with affected populations. So, 100storiesHK came about with a vision to give these stories its own platform, with the support and collaboration of several frontline NGOs.
What do you hope to achieve by sharing these personal stories online?
Our main goal is to bring these stories to light and help the wider community in Hong Kong understand how trafficking affects real lives, including lives that might be living right next door to them. With more awareness, hopefully, will come more motivation and action to help change the landscape of human trafficking in Hong Kong.
What has been one of the most redemptive stories you’ve received so far?
One of the most hopeful stories I’ve seen is that of ‘Malika’ (not her real name). When she first escaped her abusive employer, she showed severe signs of trauma and had frequent psychological breakdowns. She was assisted by one of our partner organisations, connected with a safe shelter, slowly got access to the treatment she needed, and bravely brought her case to the attention of the authorities with the help of a human rights law firm. Nearly 2 years later, she is now healthy enough to start work again soon. Although she still requires proper management of some of her medical conditions, she has regained hope and sees a future for herself.
However, I must say that “redemption” is a very long and winding road for trafficking survivors. The effects of trauma are long-lasting and messy. The majority of the stories we see are from labour trafficking, especially that of migrant domestic workers. Because of this, every step is an uphill battle and momentum is only just starting to pick up because of the amazing work of several frontline organisations and human rights law firms. This is why we hope 100storiesHK can have a greater impact on society and move people to join in the movement against trafficking.
What is one thing you wish Hong Kongers knew about survivors of human trafficking?
That they are strong and resilient and have so much to offer as individuals. Because no one wants this huge negative thing to define them, we hope that as a society we can be more inclusive of people with different backgrounds, cultures and experiences, and support those who have gone through traumatic experiences.
How can we get involved and support 100storiesHK?
There is so much you can do! Actually, the easiest thing that everyone can do right now is sign a petition that’s going around called the ‘Hong Kong Against Human Trafficking Petition’, which is urging the government to make legislative reforms. There are also many frontline organisations and grassroots groups in Hong Kong on board with addressing the issue of human trafficking amongst their target populations that don’t get a lot of publicity.
I’m sure all of them would love volunteers to help with various aspects of their work (for example, interpreting languages like Bahasa, Sinhalese, Thai or Russian)! Look for groups that work with domestic workers, sex workers or ethnic minorities, because these are the most vulnerable populations to be trafficked. And of course, share our stories on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!