Christmas Pick # 4: An Afternoon of Documentary Shooting

by Michelle Brock on November 30th, 2011

snoopyReady for Christmas yet? Each year Hope for the Sold selects ethical gift ideas that will support victims, empower survivors, traffic-proof communities, and spark social change.  Make sure to check out the picks I’ve already highlighted, which include Christmas cards made by sex trafficking survivors and 25 minutes of film editing to support our next documentary project.

Today’s gift idea, from the International Teams Christmas Catalogue, is another opportunity to support the film that Hope for the Sold is working on.  We love to be part of preventing trafficking and believe that film is a powerful way to impact legislation, shape opinion, and change how people choose to act and live.  Our next documentary is on legalization/decriminalization of prostitution and how that is connected to trafficking, which you can learn about here.  The goal is to make a compelling film that will help prevent the exploitation of thousands.

lights camera action1A gift of $100 covers an afternoon of shooting footage.  This really is the most important building block of a documentary, as without footage there is nothing to work with. The plan is to film in several countries, and you can be part of making this a reality!

This is a perfect gift for friends and family members who love movies, are interested in film-making, or are passionate about fighting for justice.  You will receive an International Teams Canada greeting card that you can print off and then use to let friends and family members know that a gift has been given in their name.  Tax receipts are issued (to the donor) for all Canadian donations whether you bought a gift in your own name or on behalf of someone else.

Please check out our pitch video, and if this vision is something you track with, get started by clicking below!

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If you want to support a different component of our film, you can give the gift of 25 Minutes of Film Editing ($25.00), Transportation to a Local Screening Event ($50.00), or One Minute of Completed Film ($1,000).

If you want to support the project with a random amount, you can make a donation online here or get information on where to send cheques here.  Though American donations cannot receive a tax receipt for the gift catalogue items, donations or cheques that go through the International Teams U.S. office are tax deductible – get the details here.

Let’s all make choices this Christmas season that empower the downtrodden, vulnerable, and exploited.




3 Petitions You Need to Sign to Fight Human Trafficking in Canada

by Michelle Brock on November 28th, 2011

Tara and Michelle

This weekend I had the privilege of speaking with my good friend Tara Teng at a Meeting House small group in Oakville.  After screening our documentary about sex trafficking in Canada, we had an amazing time of discussion with the group.  Three things stood out to me during out time together: First, the conversation was full of action-based solutions.  Second, the men in the group really emphasized the responsibility they had as men to end demand.  Finally, some placed importance on grassroots approaches, and others sought government and leadership initiatives.

A multi-faceted approach is definitely necessary, giving each person a unique role to play in the fight against human trafficking.  At the end of the night, we set out three petitions for the group to sign.  If we want the government to take action on this issue, we must empower them to do so.  This is the type of thing where grassroots – the voice of the people – inspires action from the “top.”

If you want to make your voice heard, here are instructions in 3 steps on how you can sign and send in petitions:

step 11 150x150 READ THE PETITIONS

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Petition # 1: National Plan to Combat Human Trafficking

Currently Canada does not have an action plan to fight trafficking.  Because human trafficking is run by organized crime,  it is absolutely crucial that countries get organized and develop action plans if they are to have an impact.  MP Joy Smith has put together an anti-trafficking plan called Connecting the Dots: A Proposal for a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, and signing this petition will help push that forward.  Download the petition here.

Petition # 2:  Prostitution and Sex Trafficking

In Canada right now, there is a push to have prostitution completely decriminalized.  This would make buying sex totally legal – which increases demand and provides traffickers with a risk-free opportunity to provide supply. This petition seeks to decriminalize the women and offer exit programs for the ones who want to leave the trade, but criminalize the men who pay for sex.  This approach has worked in Sweden to reduce trafficking.  You can read more about this issue here and download the petition here.  You can also support our next documentary, which focuses on this debate.

passeport canadien 01Petition # 3:  Extraterritorial Offenses & Definitions

This petition seeks to amend the Criminal Code so that Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are involved in human trafficking outside of Canada’s borders can be prosecuted for their crimes.  This petition also seeks to amend the Code to ensure that the definition of exploitation in Court will be enhanced to include clear examples such as the use of threats, violence, coercion, and fraudulent means.  Law enforcement, lawyers, and prosecutors have faced challenges demonstrating exploitation in trafficking in persons cases under the current definition.  Read more about this petition here and download it here.

step 2 150x150PRINT & FILL!

Once you have downloaded the petitions, print them & get them filled with names and signatures of friends, family, and others in your community.  Each sheet has room for 25 names.

step 3 150x150SEND THEM IN!

Though you can send the petitions to MP Joy Smith’s office, I would recommend sending them to your local Member of Parliament with a note requesting that they present the petitions in the House.  This way, MP Smith will not be the only one presenting the petitions, but there will be a wide representation from other MPs as well, demonstrating that Canadians all across the country see this as a priority.

Let’s show our government that we are serious about bringing exploitation to and end!

***You can keep sending these in until the bills pass and become law.  I will update this message when that has happened.  

***Update: Bill C-310 will be debated at Third Reading on April 27, 2012 at 1:30pm. After the hour of debate, Bill C-310 will be adopted if it has unanimous consent. If it does not have unanimous consent at the end of the hour of debate, a recorded vote will be held on May 2, 2012.  Instead of sending petitions for Bill C-310, you can now contact your MP and ask them to vote in favour!

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Meet an Abolitionist: Petra Bosma of IJM Canada

by Michelle Brock on November 25th, 2011

PetraThis past summer, I had the privilege of meeting an enthusiastic and lovable International Justice Mission representative at an anti-trafficking meeting hosted by World Vision.  Petra Bosma is the Communications Coordinator at IJM Canada.  And I would like you to meet her!  For those of you who want a job in the social justice field, here is a great example of what that could look like.

Petra, where did you grow up? Are there any childhood memories you be willing to share?

I was born in the Netherlands and moved to Canada when I was five. I grew up on a dairy farm near Cornwall, Ontario.  One of my best childhood memories is playing Cops and Robbers with our neighbours. Almost every night during the summer, we’d cross the field that separated our farms and we’d play at least one game of Cops and Robbers.

How does your childhood differ from what many children in the world experience, and how do you feel about this?

I think it’s hard to realize just how different our childhoods are in comparison to the childhoods that most children in the world experience: limited education and economic opportunities, exploitation, etc. None of it is fair, is it? Because the reality wasn’t [and isn't] fair, I wanted to fix it all. One thing I had to come to terms with was that I wouldn’t be able to get involved with every single cause and every single initiative. I decided to choose one or two key initiatives to get involved with and try to make as much of an impact there as I could.

Do you remember when you first became aware of social justice/human trafficking?

I think I have a personality that naturally bends toward caring about justice issues. As a kid, I would get really upset when someone seemed to get away with something unfair or unjust. You know, like when you see the kid next to you cheating on a test and they don’t get caught.

I can’t pinpoint an exact moment that I became acutely aware of social justice issues. I think I may always have cared about social justice issues, but I became focused on functioning public justice systems in university. I took a fourth-year course called Transitional Justice. The course touched on some really heavy topics and examined approaches to justice for countries that had experienced mass atrocity. The lasting impact the course had one me was that it spurred a deep desire in me to see public justice systems function effectively.

The more I learned, the more aware I became of the very real atrocities that happen when a public justice system fails, and when systems are corrupt or fail to protect people, especially the poor. Around that time, I became aware of International Justice Mission and the work it was doing. It was addressing the very social justice issues I felt so strongly about.

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What is you role at IJM Canada? What is your favourite task/responsibility?

I’m the Communications Coordinator. I love a lot of things about my job. I get to do a lot of different tasks throughout the day, and I love that. My favourite task is probably writing. I got to do a lot of writing today, and I’m completely energized by it. I also get to manage a lot of our social media (we’re on Facebook and Twitter) and I love connecting with people who care about our work through those tools. Their passion and zeal to help fight violent oppression encourages and energizes me.

studyingWhat post-secondary education did you pursue and how does it prepare you for working with IJM?

I did an undergraduate degree in English and Political Science and a graduate degree in Political Science. It did two things for me: it developed my writing skills and taught me about government systems. Both things that help a lot with the work I do at IJM. My boss summed it up really well one day when he said that I deal with words and pictures. English majors deal with a lot of words. And the political science background helps me understand just how critical functioning public justice systems are.

Is there a specific story/rescue/event that has taken place since you’ve worked at IJM that has really impacted you?

The most impacting story I’ve heard while at IJM is about Suhanna. Suhanna had been trafficked and rescued in an IJM operation. While in aftercare, she made some unhealthy friendships, including one with a boy who claimed to love her. He convinced her to run away from the aftercare home. She did and was re-trafficked by him. This time she was trafficked to Mumbai, a city of 18 million people. IJM investigators and social workers decided to go looking for Suhanna, to see if they could rescue her again. They were told it would be impossible to find Suhanna. But they did. After four months of intense searching, IJM found Suhanna and rescued her again. She’s in aftercare, and is studying to be a social worker. You can watch her story here:

Can you give a quick summary of what IJM Canada does?

The best summary I can give you is probably the one found on our homepage:

International Justice Mission Canada is a human rights organization that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression, in partnership with U.S.-based International Justice Mission (IJM). IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local officials to ensure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to ensure that public justice systems, police, courts and laws effectively protect the poor.

ijmIs there a project or initiative that people can get behind and support right now?

You can become a Freedom Partner. We need monthly supporters who are willing to give $24 a month to help IJM secure rescue 24 hours a day. It’s that monthly support, over the long haul, that allows us to continue to do our work. You can learn more here.

What advice would you tell people who are wanting to pursue a career in NGO/social justice work?

Learn all you can about the issue, and then figure out a way to meld your passion with your skills. Social justice work needs people who are accountants, writers, graphic designers, IT specialists, managers, etc. Really, the possibilities are limitless. And, when you love what you do, work doesn’t feel like work.

movie life is beautifulWhat is your favourite…

Movie? Life is Beautiful, The Sound of Music and the Band of Brothers mini-series.

Ice cream flavour? TART Vanilla Frozen Yogurt

Quote? “Never, never, never give up” – Winston Churchill

So there you have it, someone who has devoted their time, resources, and talents to fight on behalf of the oppressed.  Thanks Petra for sharing your journey with us. Don’t forget to check out the IJM Canada website to see how you can get involved!

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Christmas Pick # 3: Greeting Cards Made by Trafficking Survivors

by Michelle Brock on November 23rd, 2011

December is almost upon us, and we’re on a roll here at Hope for the Sold with getting you ready for Christmas! Today’s Christmas pick is greeting card themed, just in time for Holiday hello’s to friends and family! Check out the cool Christmas cards below, each of which was made by a survivor of sex trafficking. Remember to make your purchase soon to ensure on-time delivery. Prices do not include shipping costs.

Christmas card 31 240x300Batik Wise Men

Give the perfect gift at the perfect time. Send your holiday greetings with these three wise fellows! Sanctuary Spring Batik Wise Men card is lovingly handcrafted in the Philippines by women survivors of sex trafficking. The card incorporates a variety of handmade, recycled papers, making it environmentally sustainable, too. Includes one card with envelope.

Price: $4.99

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Contemporary Candles

Bring some light to the dark winter nights with this card. It is lovingly handcrafted in the Philippines by women survivors of sex trafficking. The card incorporates a variety of handmade, recycled papers, making it environmentally sustainable, too. Includes one card with envelope.

Price: $ 4.99

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Slide your way into an exciting holiday season like these fun penguins! This card is lovingly handcrafted in the Philippines by women survivors of sex trafficking. The card incorporates a variety of handmade, recycled papers, making it environmentally sustainable, too. Includes one card with envelope.

Price: $4.99

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What a great time of year to make purchases

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that actually make a difference! You can check out the full assortment of cards at Sanctuary Spring and Made by Survivors.

Did you miss the previous Hope for the Sold Christmas Pick? Click here to find out about how you can support our documentary film project this Christmas season!

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A Trafficker’s Story

by Michelle Brock on November 21st, 2011

It’s true – we can have all the legislation in the world to prevent sex trafficking, but ending demand for prostitution and pornography is the only guaranteed way to end sexual exploitation. Ultimately trafficking is fueled by greed, lust, and power, and these are issues of the heart.

Men, on behalf of

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those who are being exploited, I call you to a higher standard. Stand up for what is right. Don’t let your friends push you around. Don’t cave into pressure. Develop a heart of compassion, and don’t make excuses for exploiting someone else’s vulnerability. Don’t think you are a hero because you are paying for sex with someone so they can supposedly “feed their family,” but learn to give without expecting something in return.

In one way or another, we are all guilty of exploitation. Be it our selfish spending habits that leave us with less margin to give generously to those in need, or the companies we support that are exploiting the poor through the lack of adequate labour regulations, or the way we treat others, or the sexual decisions we make – we are all part of the cycle of exploitation. Let’s bravely identify these areas of our lives, make a change, and end exploitation one decision at a time!






Call + Response Film Screening Nov 20

by Michelle Brock on November 17th, 2011

call and responseA screening of the Rockumentary Call and Response is being presented at Bethany Community Church on November 20th at 6:30 pm. That’s this Sunday!  The address is 1388 Third Street, St. Catharines ON.

This film uses alternative music and documentary style interviews to raise awareness on the issue of human trafficking. Featured in the documentary are interviews with human rights activists such as Ashley Judd and Madeleine Albright. A large portion of the film also includes musical performances by several well known musicians including Five For Fighting, Switchfoot and Natasha Bendingfield.

The purpose of this evening is both to raise awareness and provide education on the issue of human trafficking and to provide an opportunity for individuals to get involved in bringing hope and freedom to those who are enslaved.

Timea Nagy, victim of human trafficking here in Canada, will be at the event to share her story as well. Timea is using her experiences as a message of hope to those still trapped in slavery, and as training for the RCMP and other groups invested in stopping trafficking in Canada and around the world. She is an inspiration in the darkness that is growing all around us. And she stands as a living testament that there is life above that darkness.

Representatives from local and international organizations will be present to provide information on opportunities to RESPOND to the fight for freedom.

For more information please contact Ziggy Duerksen at 905-685-4062 or [email protected]

Please note: This movie is rated PG13  Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13.

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Christmas Pick #2: Twenty-Five Minutes of Film Editing

by Michelle Brock on November 14th, 2011

Christmas GiftsThanks to those of you who let me know that you participated in the first HFTS gift pick of the season and sent a Christmas box to orphans in Moldova!  Today I am sharing a second Christmas pick with you – one that is super exciting to me – because Hope for the Sold is in this year’s International Teams Gift Catalogue!

As many of you know, we are currently raising funds to make a documentary about the legalization of prostitution debate and how that ties in with sex trafficking.  You can learn more about that here.

The Christmas catalogue contains several gifts that cover different portions of the film project.  Today’s highlighted gift covers the cost of 25 minutes of editing footage: cutting, dubbing, scrubbing & animating.  This is a very important part of making a film, as without it you only have hours of unorganized footage.  Though the editing process can be nit-picky and tedious, it is what makes for a professional quality film.  Seeing the segments come together to tell an important story is a very exciting part of the process!

The cost of this gift is $25.00 and is perfect for people in your life who are interested in film editing, love artistic projects, or are passionate about social justice.  You will receive an International Teams Canada greeting card that you can print off and then use to let friends and family members know that a gift has been given in their name.  Want to purchase this gift? Get started by clicking below!

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Tax receipts are issued to the donor for all donations whether you bought a gift in your own name or on behalf of someone else.

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Interested in supporting another component of the film project?  Check out the complete listing of Hope for the Sold catalogue gifts, which I will be highlighting on this blog over the course of the next month.  If you want to support the film without selecting an item from the catalogue, you can do so here. For those of you in the U.S., donation information can be found on the HFTS About Page.

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting several Christmas picks from other organizations as well so that we can all help bring an end to sex trafficking this Christmas season!

Michelle Brock


Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

by Michelle Brock on November 11th, 2011

Sex trafficking is a hot topic now, and in a sense it is the trendy cause to be associated with.  But after all the hype, and the events, and the money rolling in from donors, those on the front lines don’t see this as a hot trend but are in it for the long haul.  Here is some Friday encouragement for those of you on the front lines.  Thanks Alyssa for sharing this with us!

Michelle Brock


Once Upon a Time at a Truck Stop…

by Michelle Brock on November 7th, 2011

truckstop11 1024x768For the majority of us, long road trips on North American highways are gloriously interrupted by crashing at a hotel or motel when our eyes get too heavy to keep driving.  But for the 3.5 million truck drivers in the U.S. and approximately 250,000 in Canada, truck stops serve as a place to fuel up, rest up, and meet up with other truckers.  Unfortunately, truck stops also provide the opportunity to pay for sex, often with minors and victims of trafficking.  Watch below:

TAT Waller CardIf you know any truck drivers, send this video their way.  You can download the wallet card here and print some off to keep yourself or to hand out. That way, truck drivers know how to identify a victim of trafficking and have a number to call if they see something happening at a truck stop.  Currently the number on the card only works for the U.S., but I hear Canada is in the beginning stages of developing something similar.  I will keep you posted!  Even so, many Canadian truck drivers drive through the U.S., so in my opinion every one of them should have this card anyway.

Check out the Truckers Against Trafficking website here.

Michelle Brock


Dine, Learn & Give: Walk With Me Fundraiser Dinner on Nov 13

by Michelle Brock on November 4th, 2011

A fellow abolitionist friend of mine, Timea Nagy, runs a fantastic organization (Walk With Me) that helps victims of human trafficking in Canada.  Walk With Me has a safe house and they need your support to keep it going next year!  The goal is $20,000 – a small price to pay for the restorative work done through that place.  Walk With Me is hosting a fundraiser dinner on Sunday November 13 in Hamilton. There will be a gourmet 4-course meal, Silent Auction, inspiring survivor stories, and entertainment featuring many fine Canadian artists.


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Location: Carmen’s Banquet Hall, 1520 Stonechurch Road East, Hamilton ON (MAP)

Tickets: $50.00 per ticket or $450.00 for a 10 seat table.  Purchase them at Carmen’s Box Office at 905 387 0007 or at Westtown Bar and Grill (214 Locke St. South, Hamilton)

Find out more information here.  Monday November 7 is the last day to buy tickets, so don’t wait!

Michelle Brock