August 15, 2012 · 8:53 AM
A local organization continues to count on the community for financial support to see their mission come to full fruition.
The Magdalene House is currently working to fundraise for a facility and bolster awareness about their work. The organization is dedicated to providing care for those caught in human trafficking.
Once it’s up and running, Magdalene House will ensure proper medical and psychological care and legal assistance for the residents while providing opportunities to learn English, helping them to discover the benefits of the Canadian culture and also helping them find meaningful work through educational programs, employment training and other support services.
Magdalene House was registered as a Society in the spring of 2009. By the next year, they had obtained charitable status. Since then, they’ve been working hard to fundraise for a facility and spread the word about the dangers and prevalence of human trafficking.
Here in Central Alberta, the issue of human trafficking is not top of mind for most, as they tend to think of it as affecting people faraway locations such as Thailand. But it’s certainly international in scope and affects people here in Canada and even in Central Alberta.
Internationally, experts estimate that there are approximately 28 million slaves in the world today. This staggering number equates to more slaves than during the entire trans-Atlantic slave trade, an atrocity abolished over 200 years ago.
One of the most horrific forms of slavery today is child prostitution. About 1.2 million of the world’s slaves are young women and children forced into some aspect of the sex trade worldwide each year. The number of child prostitutes has tripled in the developing world in the last three decades.
According to StoptheTraffic.ca, the RCMP estimates that 600-800 persons are trafficked into Canada annually, predominantly for sexual purposes, and that an additional 1,500-2,200 persons are trafficked through Canada into the United States.
Trafficking victims are predominantly from Eastern Europe, Asia (sub-Mekong region), and Africa, according to the United States Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime's Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. Girls as young as 12 are trafficked in Canada for sexual purposes according to Criminal Intelligence Service Canada’s 2008 Strategic Intelligence Brief, Organized Crime and Domestic Trafficking in Persons in Canada.
Another local initiative about the issue – a play called She Has A Name by Red Deer playwright Andrew Kooman -- has been garnering rave reviews. It’s a powerful story of a woman caught in sexual trafficking and a man’s mission to bring her to freedom. If you missed the production last year, the tour is returning to Red Deer this fall with performances set for Oct. 2-6 at the Scott Block Theatre.