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Opposing Human Trafficking

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Report from the Newfoundland and Labrador Coalition Against Human Trafficking

January 29, 2017

"Freedom should come with no strings attached."

This is the theme our Coalition developed during the 2016 year. We have invested great energy in making posters available in places where people had the opportunity to receive information and take advantage of our services.

One of our recent projects is to look at the feasibility of having our poster campaign extended to our local bus service within our capital city of St. John's.

Meetings are ongoing in relation to government officials. Education and awareness sessions in terms of Human Trafficking are being held in high schools, homeless shelters, and many other venues where people express a need for our intervention. I have provided materials to the Sisters in our Congregation in the hope that they will grow in their understanding and knowledge of this heinous crime.

During Sexual Violence Awareness Week a panel was held to discuss the sexual assault cases and experiences of victims going through the court/trial process. The panel addressed possible ways forward and ideas to increase and improve access to justice for survivors of sexual assault, sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence.

A very rewarding operation was one known as Second Northern Spotlight Sting. This was a joint venture of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Workers from Escort Services were identified and questioned. This was a Canada wide initiative. The national report of this sting is now in the process of being written. Last year twenty plus people were rescued across Canada with one hundred and sixty-five charges being laid.

In April of 2017, we, as a Coalition, hope to participate in a program which is being offered by a group known as The Centre for Life. Their Board is sponsoring a project entitled. "Fight the New Drug-Pornography". We see this as having connections with human trafficking.

As a Coalition we are acutely aware of the challenges that face us as we continue to work for the rights of those victims who are often from vulnerable sectors. One victim describes human trafficking as a ghost crime, an invisible chain as she screams out, "I'm Not For Sale."

Margie Taylor rsm
Newfoundland and Labrador