The Pan Am and Parapan Am Games are taking place in Toronto this summer (10-26 July and 7-15 August, respectively)! 250,000 visitors are expected to descend upon the city for the Games (some of them are already here – I’ve met them on the subway). With a crowd that size, this is a great opportunity to spread the word about human trafficking in Canada and around the world.
Over the next two months I will be volunteering at the UN.GIFT (United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking) box located at St. James Cathedral at 65 Church St. (King/Church) in downtown Toronto. Created by STOP THE TRAFFIK and UN.GIFT, the Faith Alliance to End Human Trafficking here in Toronto is the driving force bringing the GIFT box to Canada. Versions of the GIFT box have been featured at other international sporting events like the London 2012 Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. GIFT boxes have also appeared in Brazil, Slovakia, and the U.S.
What do you know about human trafficking?
- Human trafficking is the recruitment of movement of a person, by deception or coercion, for the purpose of exploitation.
- People who are trafficked are often bought or sold for forced labour, sexual exploitation, forced street crime, domestic servitude or even the sale of organs and human sacrifice.
Did you know that Ontario has the highest level of human trafficking in Canada? 511 people reported to have experienced human trafficking in only three years. Human trafficking is an underreported activity so this number is expected to be much higher.
If you want to combat human trafficking in Canada and raise awareness of this issue, go the Faith Alliance website or look for a local organization fighting human trafficking in your city.