Freed Voices is a group of experts-by-experience committed to speaking out about the realities of the UK’s immigration detention system and calling for reform.
A project of Detention Action, Freed Voices is the only group of its kind campaigning on immigration detention in the UK. Between them, members have lost over 25 years of their lives to detention, and we believe it is essential that those who have been affected by detention are at the heart of the campaign to challenge it.
Freed Voices is coordinated, supported and facilitated by Detention Action, and we work closely together on all our activities.
Freed Voices is made up of people who have experienced immigration detention in the UK, and are now committed to speaking out.
We have around 20 members and are expanding with new members joining regularly.
“We, the migrants, have become leverage in Government’s bid for votes. Detention is just the place where politicians warehouse their bargaining chips. Only we are not bargaining chips – we are people. And we need a human approach to immigration that reflects that. We need an end to indefinite detention.”
– Kasonga, Freed Voices
Our members come together from across the country to meet, campaign and support each other. We are all dedicated to campaigning on immigration detention in an authentic, pragmatic and strategic way.
“Detention drained me of my confidence, but being part of Freed Voices gives me new confidence.”
Freed Voices member
Experts-by-experience not case studies
Freed Voices members are experts-by-experience on immigration detention. They are not just ‘former detainees’ or ‘case studies’. We believe that such limiting labels do not reflect the depth and breadth of knowledge or campaigning experience that exists within our group.
Government policy on immigration detention has gone unchecked for many years because of the way those detained have been portrayed – either as weak, passive victims or as dangerous, ‘foreign criminals’.
This has made it easier to silence both detention as an issue and the input of those with lived experience of detention in shaping policies. Freed Voices exists to challenge and change these perceptions, and we do so as experts on detention.
Tt is therefore essential that those who have been affected by detention are at the heart of the campaign to challenge it.
“Going to detention is like getting a degree from a university you didn’t enrol in – you are an expert on the issue, whether you like it or not. That lived-experience gives us a unique understanding of the real problems at the root of the detention system that ‘decision-makers’ can never have.”
– Gabriel, Freed Voices