Free to Be Me: A Journey Out of Sex-Trafficking - 96five Family Radio

Free to Be Me: A Journey Out of Sex-Trafficking

'Free to Be Me' is an eye-opening, inspiring documentary following Nary Sok’s journey of rebuilding her life after escaping sex-trafficking.

By Jess DrummondThursday 18 Apr 2024Social JusticeReading Time: 3 minutes

Warning: The following article contains mentions of child sexual abuse. If you need support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au. If you have been impacted by sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. 


There are around 50 million people held in slavery today, but less than one per cent of trafficking victims receive the care and support they need to heal and flourish.

Human trafficking is not an easy thing to talk about, or even hear about. But awareness brings it from the darkness into the light, enabling it to be eradicated for good.

BloomAsia is an organisation dedicated to breaking the cycle of exploitation and journeying with survivors towards a life of empowerment, freedom, and wholeness. It’s shining a light on the challenges and successes of this work in a new documentary, “Free to Be Me”.

Free to Be Me is premiering online at 7pm on Tuesday 23rd April and tells the story of one woman’s journey, from being trafficked – to rebuilding a brand-new life as an empowered and free woman.

Ruth Larwill

Psychotherapist Ruth Larwill / Source: Supplied by Bloom Asia

Ruth Larwill is a Psychotherapist from Australia and is the Executive Producer of Free to Be Me and founder of Bloom Asia and has told 96five’s Jess Drummond, there are some misconceptions of what it really means to transform the lives of people who’ve been caught up in human trafficking.

“A lot of people think it’s about rescuing young girls out of brothels” Ruth said.

“What we’ve come to understand is that 80 per cent of girls will be re-trafficked by their families, who are in very vulnerable positions – which is why they were trafficked in the first place – if they don’t have a place like Bloom where they can do healing and find a vocation and employment”.

Ruth describes how these girls need to be nurtured towards the workforce in a safe, trauma-informed environment as they recover from the abuse they’ve experienced. Although it is a lengthy process, they graduate with a sense of empowerment that goes beyond their employability.

“It takes about on average two to three years to rewire somebody’s brain and for them to feel safe, so that’s [being worked on] as much as the job training and employment” Ruth said.

“They graduate with ‘I know who I am, I know that God created me for a plan and a purpose’, ‘I no longer have the identity of being a sex trafficking survivor’… [and] the beautiful thing is watching the girls go back into their villages with this truth. They are the ones who are right there amongst other vulnerable girls in the same situation, and they can be leaders within their community, breaking that cycle.”

Free to Be Me will premiere online at 7pm AEST on Tuesday 23rd April and the evening will include the documentary premiere as well as a panel discussion. It’s free to watch but registering is essential, and a recording will be available to watch for 48hours after the premier.

If you need support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au. If you have been impacted by sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. Or if you need someone to listen, care and pray with you, the 96five Careline is available 7 days a week, 9am-11pm, including public holidays. 2103 3195 (free to call).


All images supplied by Bloom Asia.