Maryam and Nivaal Rehman | Toronto, Canada
Last week, we joined the Business and Professional Women of Durham club in their event for human trafficking awareness, called Every 30 Seconds. This event was part of the initiative #ProjectOnroute, which is a month-long awareness campaign put on by Courage for Freedom, asking people to educate themselves about the signs and risks of human trafficking.
We learned so much during our time at this event, because there were so many facts about human trafficking that we had never noticed or realized before. We had the pleasure of covering the event and creating a video of the evening.
Human trafficking is a huge problem globally, and the work that the BPW Durham club is doing to raise awareness for it is incredible. Making sure that people know the signs, and that a conversation is sparked about the reality of this issue is so important.
This event was a great opportunity for people to learn more about this cause, and also fundraise for community organizations like Victim Services of Durham Region, and Joanne's House that are doing work to support survivors of human trafficking.
There were several information booths about BPW's work, Project Onroute, Courage for Freedom, and more that we found very helpful in our progress towards understanding this issue more deeply. Here are some highlights from speeches given at the beginning of the event:
There were also several very inspiring speakers present at the event. One of the speakers, was Karly Church, who is a crisis intervention counselor, social service worker, and advocate for survivors of domestic sex trafficking. She was a victim herself, and shares her story to discuss what human trafficking is really like at events like Every 30 seconds, and to support victims. Another speaker was Dr. Olga Marques, who has a PhD in criminology from the University of Ottawa, and a master's degree in sociology from the university of Windsor. She currently works at Ontario Tech University as an assistant professor in the Criminology and Justice department. Finally, there was Kelly Tallon Franklin, who is the founder of Courage for Freedom, a Canada-based organization which educates, trains and certifies front-line and community service providers on various prevention tactics and strategies that they can use for human trafficking. Here are two highlight videos from the talks given at the event:
Overall, we believe that human trafficking is an issue that is prevalent globally, but when you are living in a country like Canada, it is a very underground or hidden issue that we are not often aware off. This is why we believe it is so important to have awareness campaigns in place like Project Onroute, so that more people are aware of the challenges that victims face, and how they can join in the fight against this. You can learn more by watching the video we have created, with highlights from the evening: