Jessica asked me if I would write a song for an event she was planning called “Sold Out” to be held at Grant MacEwan University in 2010 (I think). As I began researching, I was shocked to discover that people are trafficked, not only in other countries, but Canadian citizens are being trafficked within Canada.
First of all, what is human trafficking? It is when someone is unwillingly taken from their home, or taken under false pretenses, and then forced to work. Most commonly, the work is as a sexual slave or for manual labor, but people are also traded for their organs. There are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history, with an estimated 27 million in bondage across the globe. Men, women, and children are being exploited for manual and sexual labor against their will.
I could go on and on about the stories out there, but one that really brought the story close to home, was about a woman from Edmonton. She had been abducted by some men and taken down to Calgary, only 3 ½ hours away, and forced to sell herself on street corners for 6 months. Finally, somehow she slipped the tight watch of her captors and got to a phone, managing to escape. But, even being rescued by friends and family, she had to leave the country, because the men who had taken her in the first place would return again if she was anywhere in their reach.
A21, who we are supporting through our Fashion For Freedom campaign, is an organization that exists to abolish injustice in the 21st century. Through 4 main areas, they work to stop the trafficking of humans: Prevention: Through education and raising awareness they provide potential victims with the strategies to avoid accidental involvement in the trafficking industry. Protection: Once rescued, trafficking survivors are provided a place to live in a shelter or transition house where they are equipped with tools to build a new future. Prosecution: They work to strengthen legal response to human trafficking and provide legal council to victims. Partnership: A21 partners with local law enforcement, service providers, and community members to meet a comprehensive set of needs for those rescued from bondage.
Get more information on how you can get involved by visiting their website, www.theA21campaign.org.
We hope to see many of you out tonight at Fashion for Freedom and thank you to everyone who has volunteered their resources and time to help us bring awareness to this cause. For more information on tonight’s event, please visit www.fashionforfreedom.ca. Tickets are available at the door.
This song I wrote called Stand on Guard was inspired by the many stories I heard while researching the topic.