Today was an incredible day. Today thousands of students around the world wore a key around their neck to raise awareness and acknowledge that we hold the key to freedom for the 27 million enslaved worldwide. There are more slaves today than at any other time in human history. It is the fastest growing crime on the planet!
Here’s things that you can do to help:
- Contact your governmental representative with your concerns about human trafficking/ modern day slavery.
- Educate yourself and others about modern day slavery.
- Support Joy Smith’s National Action Plan to combat Human Trafficking– sign the petition.
- Pray for healing to come to the area of trafficking and sexual exploitation.
We, the International Social Justice Club at Trinity Western University, wanted to do more to impact the world and free slaves worldwide. We acknowledged that the main struggle in fighting for freedom is that the majority of the western world is unaware of the situation. We chose to join with the KEY 2 FREE campaign and spent the last two days promoting it. We handed out flyers yesterday and set up a booth all day today to raise awareness.
Here are a few of us at our KEY 2 FREE booth. We gave everyone a red string to wear a key around their neck to show their support for ending modern day slavery worldwide. We also handing out information cards with human trafficking statistics and four practical ways for people to take action. There were a lot of great conversations that we had with people passing by. We heard a lot of different views on the topic of human trafficking, prostitution and the current criminal code in Canada. I think that a lot of people had their views challenged as they heard both sides, victim’s stories, history and current facts.
The reason why this is such an important issue for Canadians to act on right now is because it is a major topic of debate in Canadian politics at this moment. Recently a judge in Ontario struck down three anti-prostitution laws that ignited a debate within Canada over the current status quo in regards to prostitution. With the recent events of the Robert Pickton trial in Vancouver and the many missing women from the Downtown Eastside, most people agree that the current approach to prostitution is NOT working.
Not only is prostitution unsafe for the majority of sex trade workers, the women involved are often victims of sexual exploitation and forced prostitution. Dr. Kevin Bales (Free the Slaves, author of Disposable People) and National Geographic magazine have found that approximately 27 million people are enslaved worldwide. According to the United Nations, of the 27 million people enslaved 79% of them are forced sexual exploitation. Therefore, when we are talking about prostitution, we are often talking about forced prostitution- modern day slavery.
Currently prostitution is not illegal. However, the solicitation of selling sex and profiting from selling sex is illegal. If changes are to be made to the current Canadian system then there is one of two approaches that Canada may choose to take.
The first option is the Amsterdam model, which has legalized and legitimized the entire se industry in an attempt to make the work safer for women working in prostitution. However, the problem with this model is that since the legalization of prostitution human trafficking and child prostitution rates have increased subtansially. The former mayor of Amsterdam is quoted acknowledging at it was a “colossal mistake” and one councillor stated that the red light district and legalization of prostitution is “nothing to be proud of”.
The other option for Canada is to adopt Sweden’s model and approach to dealing with prostitution and human trafficking. This would involve the decriminalization of prostitution (because the majority of prostitutes are victims) and instead would make the purchasing of sex illegal. This would hold the johns who buy sex accountable for their actions and role in perpetrating the crimes of sexual exploitation.
The way I see it, if prostitutes are at risk of rape, violence, abuse and murder… then let’s get rid of the people who are doing the raping, violence, abuse and murdering. This makes sense to me! The sex industry is a supply and demand market, so therefore if we remove the demand by removing the men who buy sex, we will see the supply of prostitutes in forced prostitution go down.
This is a huge issue that effects thousands of individuals and families across Canada and around the globe. Human trafficking is the buying and sexing of individuals for forced exploitation- modern day slavery. It must end.
Please support the National Action Plan to combat Human Trafficking in Canada.