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Acting In Love

Recently I was asked “What caused you to care about the issue of human trafficking?”. It took me a second to respond. I heard about human trafficking for the first time when I was in the 9th grade. A woman came in and told us about what human trafficking is, how anyone could become a victim to it, the grooming tactics and how it was happening in places all around us. She told us it happens in areas near our homes and started listing off a bunch of popular places along with internet platforms. From the list, I had been to many of the places she mentioned and also used many of the social media platforms she stated. I left class speechless, thinking how does something so devastating happen here in Canada, in our own backyards.

I had been to many of the places she mentioned

It then got me thinking that because it is happening here and that the majority of victims are domestic Canadian citizens that it could happen to me, my friends, my family and or anyone I know. To this day I am still so deeply impacted by the words spoken to me in my grade 9 fourth period geography class. For a long time since that presentation, I have pondered the questions: “What can I do? How can I help be a part of the change to build a world free of exploitation and abuse?”. Issues that are so big sometimes seem very daunting when wanting to make a difference; as the thoughts of what can one individual like me really do can take over, but coming back to this verse has always been helpful to me:

Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16:14) 

For me, living out “let all you do be done in love” provides the foundation and starting point for wanting to bring awareness and to be a part of the solution. Human trafficking is a complex and deeply rooted issue in Canada and each survivor’s experience is unique. Like many other complex issues within society, it is important to educate ourselves about these complexities so we can love and care for others better. An important component to understand about human trafficking which was very impactful to me was how it is a hidden issue and expands when society lacks awareness, as it is easier for trafficking to happen when no one is aware or looking out for it in public places. When we are aware of the issue we then create communities that are more challenging for human trafficking to exist in. So with love I share with you why second stage transitional housing is so important for survivors, so we can continue to shed light on the issue and build a world free of exploitation and abuse. 

Providing housing is an act of love. Raising awareness is an act of love.

Long-term transitional housing provides a safe place for survivors to heal, utilize supportive programming and services and develop life skills before reintegrating back into society. Dealing with complex trauma is challenging and it is hard to heal in the place you were hurt so second stage housing provides a sense of safety and support survivors need to uplift, empower and rebuild. Second stage transitional housing is also doing something out of love because there is a clear gap in this area of service. With the majority of housing being first stage, there is a shortage of second stage homes. Expecting survivors to transition from short-term emergency housing and shelters into fully independent living is not realistic nor is it beneficial or responsive to survivors' needs. Without that second stage of supportive housing and programming many survivors fall back into the cycle they are seeking to escape and re-enter their trafficking situations. 

Providing housing is an act of love. Raising awareness is an act of love. Educating ourselves to debunk the misconceptions of the issue is an act of love. Donating to organizations is an act of love. Praying is an act of love. There is a ripple effect that happens from awareness and creating change. If I had not heard that presentation in my grade 9 geography class, I may have not started speaking with others about the prevailing issue of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.  Our words and actions matter.  Let us all continue to do our part to love one another and build a world free of exploitation.

Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

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