Human Trafficking Awareness Day in Canada

On 22 February 2007, the Canadian House of Commons passed a motion condemning the trafficking of women and children across international borders for the purposes of sexual exploitation. It proclaimed, 22 February as Human Trafficking Awareness Day to help bring awareness to the magnitude of modern-day slavery in Canada and abroad.

My last blog post focused on the History of Abolition and modern-day Anti-Human Trafficking efforts.

In that post, I discussed the Palermo Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons. This Protocol came with the 4 P framework. I discussed the first three Ps, and now I am going to talk about the 4th P – Partnerships.

No one government or non-government organization can fight human trafficking alone. It takes partnerships within and across borders.

I will highlight a few organizations that I have discovered through the course of researching my novel All That it Takes but see this Canadian National List of Organizations that help combat human trafficking and helping victims. There are many more Canadian organizations that do not appear on this list, but it is where I started my research. For the purposes of this post, I will post two in British Columbia and three that are national organizations.

In British Columbia:

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army International has worked with exploited and trafficked individuals for over 130 years. They are committed to fighting exploitation and human trafficking across the globe. In Canada, The Salvation Army continues to be a vital partner for community coalitions and victim service organizations. In Vancouver, B.C., it opened Deborah’s Gate in 2009, the first safe house and live-in program in Canada for survivors of human trafficking. Fight for Freedom is the Salvation Army’s International Modern slavery and Human trafficking Response.

Catherine Booth together with her husband, William Booth, founded The Christian Mission in 1865 which changed its name to The Salvation Army in 1878.

Here is a quote from Catherine Booth:

            “If we are to better the future, we must disturb the present.”

This quote speaks to me especially in facilitating the recovery of victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. To see a better future for the victims, the cycle of exploitation in their lives needs to be disrupted.

SA Foundation

The SA (Servants Anonymous) Foundation is dedicated to restoring hope, dignity and freedom to victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation by providing refuge in community homes, training and employment. SA Foundation has made a long-term commitment to renewing and rewriting the lives of victims. The Vancouver chapter has a skill development division which supports workmanship and education through production of and wide variety of products. Their online shop is Global Wonders – Products of Hope. I love their products and I have purchased gifts for friends and family.

Nationally in Canada:

The Joy Smith Foundation

The Joy Smith Foundation is Canada’s leading authority on human trafficking prevention, intervention, and support for survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Joy Smith was a Member of Parliament in The House of Commons and was instrumental in seeing anti-human trafficking legislation enacted. She was able to pass both Bill C-268 which amended Canada’s Criminal Code to create a new offence for child trafficking with a five-year mandatory penalty, and Bill C-310, which now enables the Government of Canada to prosecute any Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada for trafficking in persons abroad.  

Today, human trafficking is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada and the Immigration and Protections Act because of Joy Smith’s dedication to end human trafficking and enable victims to overcome the trauma and thrive.

In October 2021, the Joy Smith Foundation launched the National Human Trafficking Education Centre (NHTEC), an online education centre dedicated to comprehensively addressing human trafficking on a national scale. The NHTEC will provide free and fee-based courses for teachers, parents, front-line responders, and all Canadians who want to play a role in the prevention and intervention of human trafficking.

Watch the recorded launch event for the National Human Trafficking Education Centre.

You can read about Joy Smith’s fight to have the laws changed in the book The True Story of Canadian Human Trafficking.

International Justice Mission (IJM) – Canada

International Justice Mission (IJM) – Canada

IJM is a global organization which partners with local authorities in 24 program offices in 14 countries to combat slavery, violence against women and children, and police abuse of power against people who are poor.

Their solution to modern-day slavery is to rescue and restore victims, bring criminals to justice, and to strengthen justice systems.

The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking

The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking

Their mission statement reads:

To end human trafficking for the purpose of sexual and labour exploitation in Canada by providing strength and support to stakeholders. We will do this through collective action, by creating opportunities to connect and learn from each other and by building capacity, on all levels, to end this abhorrent crime in Canada.

View their Strategic Plan dated 2016-2019.

The Centre runs the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline – 1-833-900-1010

Learn the signs of human trafficking and put this number on your phone to make a report.

Friday, February 25th is “Shine a Light on Slavery Day.” This is a day to bring awareness to the issue of modern-day slavery and is promoted by a coalition known as the END IT Movement. I will be posting on social media and doing one more post on international organizations involved in anti-human trafficking efforts.

Image by Simple-aign from Pixabay

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