For almost two years Arjan Erkel was kidnapped by masked Islamic rebels in Dagestan, Russia. It was a nightmare he never expected to live through, but once he was in the middle of it he learned how to cope with his new circumstances. His unique story about survival, his quest for freedom and his powerful recovery is still inspiring. For 15 years, through speaking, workshops, and coaching Arjan inspired thousands of people with his message about freedom and taking ownership of your own life.
Next to that Arjan is also a Co-Founder of Free a Girl. A foundation that is dedicated to freeing young girls from forced prostitution. Since 2008 they have freed and given a second chance to more than 4,750 girls globally.
Arjan has been booked nationally and internationally for 15 years as a speaker by multinationals as well as small companies, police, army and other organizations. During seminars, team building or workshops, he talks about taking your own responsibility, but also how you can activate it with someone else so that they can fully utilize their talents. After all, the freedom of creativity and the courage and confidence to let things go, or to pick up and start again is the opening to creating new opportunities, both personally and professionally.
Because of my ordeal it became my mission to assist people in their quest for freedom, to live in world without fear, surrounded by protection.
When I heard about the problem of child prostitution in 2007 it touched me deeply. I recognised the injustice, the despair and misery the young girls had to live through, partly from my own experience. It became one of my missions to fight for their freedom.
For months the story of my abduction was all over the news, first just after and during the abduction, then about my release and arrival at home. After my release I gave hundreds of interviews. Other news items were about the releases f my books and the start up and work of my foundation Free a Girl. My public speaking, theater show, performances on festivals and my work as host of the TV program Vreemde Tralies were also covered by the media.
Soon after my abduction I was asked to write a book about my experiences. I was honoured to hand over the first edition of my book to Mr Bot, the Dutch minister of foreign affairs who made the immense effort to free me from my captures.
Today, more than 60,000 copies of my book have been sold, and 2 more books have been published.