Our Principles

As an organisation created by and designed for youth, we are responsible for providing reliable, high-quality, and appropriate information, resources, tools, and opportunities. Today’s mainstream anti-modern slavery movement needs to be challenged and questioned in order to move forward. We are asking ‘Who are anti-slavery efforts working for?’ not just ‘Are they working?’. Stolen Dreams is built on a forward looking agenda and inclusive narrative – one that has been guided and shaped by experts in the field who are looking to drive real, tangible, concrete and bold action. Below are our guiding principles, including our core views, outlooks and stances on controversies within the movement and beyond. Stolen Dreams values tolerance and so we are very much open to you contacting us and sharing your thoughts about our guiding principles; healthy and respectful conversations are always welcome.

Guiding Principles:

  • We believe that all anti-modern slavery efforts should be developed and delivered with or by survivors (people with lived experiences). We commit to including survivor voices at all relevant stages of our current and future projects.
  • We commit to promoting the meaningful inclusion of youth. This involves youth having access to decision making spaces and being the co-creators, co-leaders and co-owners of anti-modern slavery efforts.
  • We recognise that exploitation has been embedded and rooted in the socio-economic fabrics of our societies and systems. Chronic structural/systemic inequalities and problems, most notably the lack of viable economic opportunities (choices), fuel exploitation.
  • We acknowledge that we have a lot to learn from history and historic abolitionism. We are proactively using history to inform our projects, views and thought processes.
  • We commit to pushing for the political will to act against modern slavery. We recognise that policies and government actions must include accountability measures, address the root causes enabling exploitation and must not ignore the ways that ethnicity, gender and sexuality shape vulnerability.
  • We commit to upholding our duty of internal and external accountability. Internally, we will hold each other as youth to account. Externally we commit to holding all perpetrators of modern slavery in all its forms to account. We also commit to holding people, organisations, companies, governments and institutions to account for publishing / developing / promoting policies, efforts, procedures, comments etc. that are harmful, damaging and / or inaccurate.
  • We recognise that international definitions of modern slavery and human trafficking are vague and that there is a need for them to be negotiated and clarified.
  • We take the appropriate stance on immigration-related issues; human trafficking is not the same as people smuggling.
  • We commit to recognising and including intersectionalities with other global issues wherever necessary.
  • We take the appropriate stance on prosecutions and embrace the view that the non-punishment principle (human-rights based approach) must be adopted. This will ensure that survivors are not wrongfully prosecuted and that traffickers are appropriately prosecuted.
  • We recognise that the current anti-modern slavery movement has weak data collection. There is a lack of high-quality and reliable baseline estimates of modern slavery. We are self-critical of the (weak) data we are currently using, recognising their flaws and understanding that these are only estimates. We understand that there is a need to invest in obtaining reliable, high-quality, baseline estimates demonstrating changes over time. This would allow for the movement to assess the effectiveness of prevailing attempts to fight exploitation.
  • We understand that differences of opinion within the anti-modern slavery movement do exist. As youth, we want to support the resolution of such conflicts. We commit to bringing differences of opinion within the movement out into the open, to understanding them and to support any navigation through them. We commit to having a sensitivity and awareness of these controversies and the histories that underpin them and working to find ways to move forward together.