Michelle Brock greeted me with these words at the Uptown Theatre in Barrie, Ont. She, along with her husband, Jared, fight against human trafficking under the banner of “Hope for the Sold.” I was at the theatre as a member of a group called Voice for the Trafficked from Simcoe, Ont. Several of us formed this eclectic group as an outcome of Human Trafficking Awareness Day in Orillia, Ont., last May. The members from three congregations in Orillia, one of which was from the Army, originally helped to arrange that day under the leadership of the human trafficking task force of the World Evangelical Association. After it was over, we were convicted that we should put the knowledge we gained to good use to continue raising awareness at a local level and show that there are things that can be done to ameliorate this terrible scourge.
Andy Walker, one of the members of our group, had become aware that the Brocks had made a 70-minute documentary dealing with the issues of human trafficking and prostitution. They had travelled to 10 countries seeking to find answers to the question: “How can we prevent sex trafficking?” The resulting movie included interviews with activists and politicians as well as trafficked women, and draws attention to exploitation, prevention and protection of victims.
Walker discovered that the Brocks were going to be on tour in Ontario with the movie, Red Light, Green Light. He saw this as a project that the group could sponsor, and we were glad to get on board. Andy rented one of the screens in the theatre for one evening in October and got free advertising through newspaper articles and radio interviews. In one of the articles, he said that the purpose of bringing the movie to Barrie was to raise awareness, educate the people of Simcoe County and speak for those who couldn't speak for themselves. We also decided to offer free admission but provide an opportunity to donate to Hope for the Sold.
As the “grandmother” of our group, I was also seen as the “prayer warrior.” How delighted I was to see prayers being answered so wonderfully that night! A crowd of more than 200 people showed up, many from a much younger generation than my own. They were well engaged in the question-and-answer period that followed the movie presentation, and hearts and wallets were opened as so many people were glad to have the opportunity to “do something” about human trafficking.
Having heard and seen for themselves that legalizing prostitution in other countries—which one might think would be helpful to those trapped in that lifestyle through no fault of their own—has, in fact, increased demand, they did not need us to ask twice to sign copies of the petition against the proposed legislation that even now is before the Supreme Court of Canada.
I came home inspired that so many people—especially the younger generation—were willing to show up, pay up and sign up and that they wanted to make a contribution, however small, to contribute to the fight against human trafficking. I encourage you to also do what you can, where you can, to be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Visit "How You Can Help" for ideas to end human trafficking.
Colonel Gwenyth Redhead is a retired Salvation Army officer who has served in the Canada and Bermuda Territory, the United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland, and the New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territory. She is an elocutionist, has written articles, plays and a novel, and has co-authored several musicals with her husband, Robert.
(Photo: © iStockphoto.com/romkaz)