FiLiA meets: Fiona Broadfoot


Fiona Broadfoot is a sex trade survivor, having been trafficked into prostitution at the age of 15. Fiona spent 11 years entrenched in the violent world of prostitution. she has since worked to raise awareness of the harm it causes to young people and their families. She was a close friend and fellow campaigner of Irene Ivison, the founder of PACE (formerly known as CROP), and was instrumental in the setting up of CROP in 1996, alongside her own organisation, EXIT, which was formed offer support to women exiting prostitution. Fiona travelled the country with Irene, campaigning, speaking about her own experiences, at conferences and on television, challenging the public and professional perception that young people involved in CSE were ‘prostitutes,’ who had chosen that ‘lifestyle’. Irene sadly, died in 2000, but Fiona had the strength and commitment to carry on the fight, alone. This was at a time when CSE was not recognised as a child abuse issue, but Fiona did not let this deter her.

She went on to become involved in training professionals and working with young people at risk of, or being, sexually exploited. She could speak directly to young people, using the credibility given to her by her own personal experience.  

Fiona has also continued to campaign on the issue of violence against women and girls. She has spoken at many national and international conferences, impressively for the last 3 years at the United Nations in New York and has advised government policy in both Ireland and Scotland. She is a fierce proponent of the Nordic model and is a member of SPACE International (Survivors of Prostitution Abuse Calling for Enlightenment). She is an inspirational communicator, who can change attitudes through the power and passion of her public speaking. She is also selfless in telling her own story, sometimes at much personal cost, to demonstrate the reality of being a victim and survivor of prostitution abuse. She can communicate effortlessly and effectively with victims, survivors, professionals and those in power. She has spent her life combatting sexual abuse and violence.

Fiona recently achieved a place on the highly competitive Lloyds School for Social Entrepreneurs and has now started her own social enterprise called the ‘Build a Girl Project’. The Project is firmly based on a survivor led perspective and is deeply committed to supporting and empowering victims and survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse and challenging the normalisation of sexism and misogyny that girls and young women are often faced with and constrained by.

For the FiLiA conference in 2019, Fiona will be opening the event, leading the March Against the Sex Trade and chairing a panel on the sex trade.

Support Build A Girl HERE