Founder of nonprofit for prostituted women to headline ‘Through Her Eyes’ conference

SPRINGFIELD — Nikki Bell, founder and CEO of the Worcester-based survivor-led nonprofit, Living in Freedom Together, that works to empower prostituted women, is the keynote speaker for the 15th annual “Through Her Eyes” conference on Friday, Oct. 25, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the MassMutual Center.

Presented by the Center for Human Development in partnership with Cambridge College, the conference is designed for those who work with girls and women whose backgrounds put them at risk for exploitation and is open to the public.

This year’s theme is “Everyone at the Table.”

Workshops led by a variety of professionals including authors, lawyers, therapists and those they treat, range from “Language Matters: Inclusivity for Trans Individuals” to “What I Learned as an Immigrant, Foster Children and Circuit Court Judge” to “Protecting and Engaging Children with Disabilities.”

Bell’s organization, which was founded in 2014, operates on what has been referred to as the “equality model” that advocates for full decriminalization of those who are prostituted and for providing them with services to escape commercial sexual exploitation while advocating for stronger anti-sex trafficking legislation.

Her organization this week opened a 15-bed home in Worcester for women leaving prostitution and recovering from substance use disorder with co-occurring mental health disorders.

It is said to be the first such program in Massachusetts.

Peter Sylver, a supervisor in CHD’s Adolescent Re-Entry program who is also an attorney, is lunchtime speaker for the Oct. 25 event.

Registration for the conference can be done online where there is further information about the day’s workshops.