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National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Today is a momentous day in Canadian history. It is our first National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. As the new Interim Executive Director for Restorations Second Stage Homes I am honoured to share a little bit about myself and my story with you here.

There will always be traffickers, pimps, and predators in the world. For as long as there is sin in the world, there will always be people seeking to exploit, capitalize and profit on someone else's weaknesses and vulnerabilities. No matter the impact or damage it may cause, no matter the persons age, gender, race, socio-economic status or social support system. Globally, people who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour are placed at a higher risk and disproportionately victimized. 

Commercial sexual exploitation can happen to anyone, anywhere.

In Canada over half of the victims of trafficking are Indigenous women, despite the Indigenous population making up just 4 percent of the population. Human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation can happen to anyone, anywhere. It happened to me when I was 13 years old and found myself being sexually exploited online for commercial gain and profit by someone I thought cared about me. It happened under my own roof without my own parents knowing. 

Before you lose all hope I want to bring you back to what we have power and control over and that is what we do individually and collectively as a society to keep children and vulnerable populations safe. We need to work together, collaborate, create safe spaces and share ideas, speak loudly and boldly against injustice, modern day human slavery and act as agents of change. What matters is the power we each have to make a difference. As a survivor of commercial sexual exploitation this has helped me immensely in my own healing and journey. 

I believe that judicial change and legislative reform is possible

Knowing that today we have the tools and resources to help educate, bring awareness and prevent human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation gives me hope. As an advocate I am hopeful when I see the financial support and backing from our government agencies and political leaders prioritizing this on the agenda. I believe that judicial change and legislative reform is possible and that through our actions we can continue to work towards seeking justice for survivors. As a survivor I am most pleased about the great opportunity National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is creating to open up a dialogue between parents and children, teachers and students, and more importantly creating a safe space for survivors and victims to come forward. 

So, to commemorate this very important day I invite you to take a place on this stage, use your voice, power, influence and platform to speak out and help make it that much harder for those who seek to exploit to have the means to do so. 

Ways that you can be become involved and make a difference:
  1. Fundraise. Host a virtual event or fundraiser for an organization doing work in this space. Not only does this bring money to the cause but you are also helping to spread awareness in your social circles and networks.

  2. Host learning opportunities at your work, school or church. Many organizations are happy to present (even remotely!) to groups about the incredible work they are doing in the community and provide opportunities for education and outreach. 

  3. Volunteer your time in the community. Many organizations are in need of volunteers to assist them with repairs, home maintenance, yard work, and even light gardening. Also consider lending your professional talents and expertise by joining a Board of Directors or sitting on special committees or projects. 

  4. Donate to an organization working to combat human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. Every donation is always appreciated, no matter big or small.

  5. Advocate. Become involved and speak out against Human Trafficking by connecting with your local MP on issues that matter to you and changes you want to see made.

  6. Educate yourself.  Learn more about trafficking and exploitation. There are many great documentaries, films and books. You can find some of these resources here

  7. Talk to your kids and youth about online safety, social media usage, personal boundaries and healthy relationships. With children increasingly exposed to digital media and online technology at an early age, it is important to start these conversations early. There is some great curriculum on these topics, you can check out this one. 

  8. Share. Use the sharing function at the top of this article (or one of the articles you find from the “learn more” link above!) to share across your social media platforms. If comfortable, consider also sharing what moves you about this particular topic and why it is important to you personally.

  9. Pray for those affected by modern-day slavery including victims and survivors, perpetrators and exploiters, the justice system, and those at risk of being targeted for trafficking. 

Photo by Aditya Saxena on Unsplash

The Reformed family is a diverse family with a diverse range of opinions. Not all perspectives expressed on the blog represent the official positions of the Christian Reformed Church. Learn more about this blog, Reformed doctrines, and our diversity policy on our About page.

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