Bill C-310 Off to the Senate!

by Michelle Brock on April 30th, 2012

For all of you who wrote letters and contacted your Member of Parliament about Bill C-310, you will be happy to know that it passed the Third Reading in the House of Commons last week and is now headed to the Senate! Here is the press release from Friday.

April 27, 2012

Ottawa, ON: Today, Bill C-310, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in persons), passed at Third Reading with unanimous consent. Bill C-310 will now go to the Senate for consideration.

“I am absolutely delighted with the adoption of Bill C-310 today by the House of Commons and look forward to it being adopted by the Senate in a timely manner,” said MP Joy Smith. “Bill C-310 will have a significant impact on the anti-human trafficking efforts of Canada here at home as well as abroad. This legislation will place important legal tools into the hands of prosecutors and law enforcement.”

Bill C-310 amends the Criminal Code by adding the current trafficking in persons offences [s.279.01, s.279.011, s.279.02, and s.279.03] to the list of offences which, if committed outside of Canada by a Canadian or permanent resident, could be prosecuted in Canada. The Bill also adds an interpretive aid for courts to provide greater clarity of the definition of exploitation in s.279.04 of the Criminal Code.

“Today, modern day slavery exists in all corners of our globe and our resolve to eliminate it must only grow stronger,” said MP Smith. “It will take concerted efforts across party lines to effectively combat human trafficking in our country as well as abroad. I look forward to working with all members of Parliament to fight this egregious abuse of human rights.”

Since introducing Bill C-310, MP Joy Smith has presented petitions containing 1000’s of signatures from Canadians calling for the adoption of the legislation. Many organizations have also lent their support for this legislation, representing stakeholders such as law enforcement, victim’s services, and non-governmental organizations.

MP Joy Smith is one of Canada’s leading anti-human trafficking advocates and has previously succeeded in passing legislation to combat human trafficking. In 2010, MP Joy Smith’s Bill C-268 became law creating Canada’s

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first child trafficking offence with stiff minimum sentences. MP Smith has also drafted a proposal for a National Action Plan to Combat Human trafficking called ‘Connecting the Dots’ that is being developed by the Canadian Government.

I will let you know when the bill passes through Senate. Great job to everyone that has gotten this bill to this point! Also in recent news, the federal government has appealed the prostitution ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeal. Will keep you posted as this develops. Don’t know what this is about? Read more here.




This Is Me TV: Fashion & Fair Trade

by Michelle Brock on April 26th, 2012

I absolutely LOVE it when people use what they’ve been given to change lives!  Meet Amie Sider, an entrepreneur with a purpose.

This Is Me TV is having a Nationwares Giveaway!  The winner will be drawn on April 30th.

And don’t forget to check out Nationwares online!




Sex Trafficking Push Factor: Poverty

by Michelle Brock on April 23rd, 2012

The multi-billion dollar industry of human trafficking is an economic equation of supply and demand. The demand side that fuels sex trafficking consists of (mostly) men who pay for sex, watch pornography, and go to strip clubs.  Without them there would be no monetary incentive to traffic women, boys, and girls into the sex trade.

push factorsOn the flip side, the supply side consists of women and children whose circumstances often make them vulnerable to exploitation.  In The Natashas: The New Global Sex Trade, Victor Malarek talks about this vulnerability in terms of push factors.  What circumstances enable a person to become a victim of sex trafficking?  I believe that the number one push factor is poverty.

Traffickers will often target impoverished villages where jobs are hard to come by and families are desperate.  My husband Jay recently sent me an online survey called SPENT, which outlines how difficult survival can be even in the United States.  Those of us who have been raised in middle class families often do not understand how many economic or social barriers there are to getting a job, or eating healthy, or finding a safe place to live.  For some of you, this survey reflects what your life is like now.  Please be encouraged to keep pushing forward and know that I am cheering for you!

I took the survey and had run out of money in 17 days.  I could have manipulated my answers to get a better score, but I wanted to be honest.  If that is how difficult making ends meet can be for many in the United States, where there is a lot of opportunity, I cannot imagine the barriers that exist in many other countries around the world.  It reminded me that desperation pushes people into vulnerable situations, like a teenager taking a job at a “modelling agency” in another country which ends up being a brothel, or a single mom allowing a boyfriend to sell her to his friends so that she can put some food on the table.  Obviously not everyone whose circumstances are dire end up being trafficked or exploited, but poverty is a common thread that runs through the stories of many victims.

Want to take the survey?  Keep in mind that these questions are based on life in a “land of opportunity,” and that life in chronically impoverished countries can be even more challenging.


Take the SPENT Challenge Now!

click here to start

Maybe this is an opportunity for many of us to develop some compassion and understanding, and learn to withhold judgment when we see people who are down and out.





My Thoughts on Attending a Prostitution Protest

by Michelle Brock on April 20th, 2012

I have a confession to make.  I don’t really see myself as a “protester.”  I am not one who naturally chooses to hold up a sign and yell at the top of my lungs, and in fact sometimes I wonder how effective such approaches are.  But last weekend I took part in a protest at Queen’s Park in Toronto.  The goal was to demonstrate to the public that not everyone wants prostitution legalized in Canada.  Timea Nagy, who is a sex trafficking survivor, and Katarina McLeod, who worked in the escort industry for 15 years, were there as well to express why they do not support legal brothels.

My friend Kat and I attended the protest together, and took the rest of the day to unpack many thoughts.  Here are some of our reflections:


Protest at Queens Park. Photo Source: Toronto Sun

The Numbers

As you can see from the news clip, our group was not very large.  A few more joined after the footage was taken, bringing our number to around 30.  The pro-prostitution side has many vocal supporters who are keen to come show their support at various events, and some in our group were discouraged that our numbers on Saturday paled in comparison.

But the reality is that we were there on behalf of victims of trafficking and exploitation, who could not come protest because they were not allowed to.  I wonder how many of them would have showed up if they had the opportunity.  Also, there was no money in it for us to show up.  We took time out of our schedules to be a voice for those who could not represent themselves, not because we were protecting monetary interests.  In contrast, many of those who show up to support legalization are there because they are protecting their means of making money, or their “right” to pay for sex.  Self-interest is a strong incentive for people to show up.  For this reason, I was not surprised by the turnout, but hope that in the future there will be more who are willing to stand up for others.

The Chant

Following the media interviews, our group decided to walk to the edge of the road to hold up our signs for traffic to see, and chant loud enough to be heard by pedestrians.  The sign that Kat and I ended up holding said this: “Would men pay for sex if they went to JAIL for it?”  The chant went like this:

“Free the women, charge the johns!”


This is where the effectiveness of protests becomes an issue for me.  Chants and signs do not tell the whole story.  I was fully in support of yelling “free the women,” and ideologically I also support charging men who pay for sex, because their demand is what fuels the industry of sex trafficking.  I fully agree with Sweden’s approach of criminalizing the purchase of sex because it has decreased prostitution as well as human trafficking.  However, does the complexity of what we are proposing come across clearly in a two-line chant?

I believe that charging men who pay for sex is part of the solution, because it is their actions that make trafficking and pimping profitable.  But I also believe in the necessity for restorative justice.  Yes, throwing someone in jail gets them off the street so they cannot keep exploiting others.  But then what? They carry our their sentence in a place where they can meet more like-minded people, learn how to tighten up their game, and hit the streets without having experienced any remorse, or healing, or heart change.

So many of the men who feel entitled to women’s bodies were raised by fathers who did not respect women.  Like father like son.  In my mind there is absolutely no excuse for someone to hurt and exploit another, but I can see how easily it can happen when a person’s role model is setting a poor example.

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Katarina McLeod and Timea Nagy leading the protest at Queens Park

The Deeper Things

Yes, we need to prevent legalization of brothels.  Yes, we need to criminalize the buying of sex.  But we also need to really examine what justice means.  We need to set up a system in which men can receive healing from the hurt and abuse of their past.  We need to teach young boys about how to respect and cherish women instead of using their cash to rent body parts.  We need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage so that women who would otherwise be vulnerable can at least have a shot at something that does not put them in danger.  We need to do much more than “charge the johns.”  Despite this not fitting on a sign, my hope is that our chant, our signs, and our presence will get people to ask questions, because lives are on the line.

The Community

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Michelle & Kat - Fighting human trafficking together!

The anti-trafficking community in Canada really is amazing. It was an honour to spend Saturday fighting alongside people I love and respect so much.  I also got to meet some HFTS blog readers, which is one of my favourite things in the world!

Reflecting on the day’s events with my friend Kat was so good for me, because it reminded me that though writing a blog is important, maintaining face-to-face relationships and connections is vital.  If we want to be effective in ending human trafficking and the abuse of women, we must know each other and fight together.  For those of you who came out last weekend, thank you!






Vote Tara Teng for Miss World Canada & Spread Awareness About Human Trafficking!

by Michelle Brock on April 18th, 2012

Tara Teng1

Tara Teng - Photo Source: Vancouver Sun

A dear friend of mine, Tara Teng, is a fiery abolitionist who is using her voice to ignite a passion for justice all around the world.  I have mentioned her in several of my posts because I am inspired by her activism and truly blessed by her friendship.  When I first met Tara in British Columbia over a year ago, she was about to compete in the Miss Canada pageant.  But this girl is way more than a beauty queen.  She won the title for 2011, and has not wasted that platform for a second.  Don’t believe me?  These are just some of the things Tara has been up to this past year:

Worked for the Dalit Freedom Network, a  Canadian organization committed to the oppressed Dalits of India and their children, who are at risk for trafficking and exploitation.

Organized Freedom Week in British Columbia to raise awareness about human trafficking.

Visited Thailand and Cambodia, connecting with anti-trafficking organizations on the front lines, showing love to children and impoverished families, and seeing first hand how victims of sex trafficking end up in Asian karaoke bars.

Tara Cambodia

Tara in Cambodia, 2011

Took a team of abolitionists on the road as the keynote speaker for the “Ignite the Road to Justice” Canada Tour, visiting 10 major cities across the country, connecting communities and mobilizing a network to fight for justice.

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Tara Teng with MP Joy Smith

Spoke at various schools and churches, catalyzing students to take action.

Completed an internship with MP Joy Smith on Parliament Hill, learning and taking part in the fight against human trafficking on the political front.

Got nominated for Chatelaine Magazine’s Women of the Year Award.

Travelled to South Korea to speak with David Batstone at the Not for Sale Conference.

And trust me, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  But it is Tara’s character that I love more than anything that she has accomplished.  She is a woman of integrity.  She loves people, genuinely.

On her blog she wrote the following:

I walked through years of character development and learning hard life lessons before I ever stepped up to the platform of Miss Canada or Miss British Columbia. I went into the pageant with a clear focus, end human trafficking and the sexual slavery of my sisters around the world. I was intentional in my decisions leading up to the pageant and throughout the pageant. No revealing evening gowns, no fake hair extensions, fake nails or bra inserts and no swimwear competitions…No matter how fierce the competition may be, I refused to alter who I was or water down my message. Winning a title is never worth compromising in your convictions.

Tara TTara has recently announced that she will be competing in another pageant, this one being Miss World Canada.  If she wins the competition, she will have the opportunity to compete on a global stage with women from all over the world, for the Miss World Pageant in China.  This would give her a platform to raise awareness about human trafficking on a much bigger scale, including an opportunity to speak at the United Nations.

Help Tara Win Miss World Canada!

So, here is where you come in.  Tara needs our help!  And FAST!  Here is what you can do to help Tara win the Canadian title so that she can compete in the Miss World Pageant in China this summer.  This will open up many more opportunities for her to speak out against injustice.

Raise some cash on Tara’s behalf.

10% of Tara’s final judging score in the pageant is based on fundraising for Variety-the Children’s Charity, an organization that helps children with special needs around the world. Because she is coming into this late (due to her convictions to NOT wear a swimsuit onstage for a pageant), she has only 3 weeks left to prepare and fundraise while the other girls have been preparing and fundraising since January!  If you want to support the work of this great organization and help Tara get one step closer to representing Canada at the Miss World Pageant, you can DONATE ONLINE or contact Tara at [email protected]

Vote Tara for the Miss World Canada People’s Choice Award.

Though voting does not affect her score, the winner receives a free trip to las Vegas, which Tara would use to spend time working with anti-trafficking groups there.  You can vote once per IP address and once per FB account.  That means you can get two votes!

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Vote for Tara via the Miss World Canada website HERE


Vote for Tara via facebook HERE


Not only does Tara want to represent Canada, but to also represent victims of human trafficking all around the world.

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Tara Teng, Contestant for Miss World Canada 2012

The Miss World Canada Pageant takes place on May 13.  I will keep you posted!  In the meantime, please consider supporting Tara through raising some funds and voting.  You can follow her blog here. All of us are not called to enter beauty pageants to spread an important message, but let’s support a fellow abolitionist who is!






by Michelle Brock on April 16th, 2012

Like many abolitionists who use their early mornings, evenings, and weekends for anti-trafficking work, I have a day job.  Some days when I get home from work, I am exhausted and overwhelmed by the tasks that lay before me – whether it be fundraising for our documentary, writing letters to MPs, preparing for awareness events, researching, blogging, or catching up on emails.  I hunker down to get it done, but before I know it, it is midnight and I feel I’ve only gotten started.

Have you ever felt this way?  Like your intentions are good but your time is limited?  Like your lack of resources hinder you from ‘really’ making a difference?  Like you don’t know enough about an issue to tell others about it?  My abolitionist friend Kat and I talked this weekend about how sometimes we feel guilty that we don’t know all the answers, because we don’t want to betray someone’s trust by leaving out an important piece of information or misguiding them on a matter we have simply not had time to research or experience yet.  I’m only speaking for myself, but feeling overwhelmed can be absolutely crippling.

Instead of allowing myself to feel frustrated, last week I came to the following conclusion after listening to a message by Craig Groschel:

I will not let my inability to do EVERYTHING make me do NOTHING instead of SOMETHING.

I have a notebook where I record all the things I do to fight human trafficking, just so I can stay organized, track progress, and remind myself of important things.  I got out a big black marker and wrote the following on the cover:


Some days, my “something” fills a page and I crash into bed with the exhilarating feeling that maybe, just maybe, I changed the world that day.  Other days I am only able to fill in a line, which could be something as simple as writing a note of encouragement to someone on the front lines, or adding tags to a blog post, or reading half an article on sex trafficking.  Writing it down reminds me that though my responsibility is not to do everything, it is my stewardship and responsibility to do something.

What does this look like for you?  Whether your passion is to fight human trafficking, or serve the sick, or adopt an orphan, or teach kids, or mentor teens, or lead with excellence, or feed the hungry, or tell redemptive stories, or volunteer abroad, or write poems, or comfort the mourning, or help people in conflict zones, or support those struggling through mental illness, please don’t let your inability to do everything make you do nothing instead of something.

Maybe you could start by getting a notebook and a big fat marker, writing your reminder on the cover, and filling your first line.





Upcoming Abolitionist Events in Ontario

by Michelle Brock on April 12th, 2012

Saturday April 14, Toronto:  Protest at Queens Park 


0414 queenspark1 300x225[free-them] together with Walk With Me Victim Services Canada and concerned citizens, plans to protest at Queen’s Park to advocate for the government to draft new prostitution legislation that can stand a constitutional challenge.  We need laws that protect victims of trafficking!  Take a stand for freedom by joining the protest:

When: Apr. 14, 2012 at 12 noon – 3 p.m.

Where: Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON

Friday April 27, Toronto: Dinner & Theatre Production Presented by Sex Trade Survivors

Your Lucky Day4Sextrade101 presents “Your Lucky Day” A FREE dinner & theatre production.

Together we’ll reveal the sex trade through a community arts exploration of the life, times and challenges of the prostituted. The audience will interact with us, finding ways to change tough situations.

The play will present problematic scenarios that end in a dilemma to deliberately provoke the audience into taking action. The audience members can stop a scene in which a character is being oppressed in some way.  In this way, we gain insights into potential alternative behaviors and problem-solving strategies, and share ideas for negotiating difficult relationships and avoiding / overcoming risk.

Honourary guests include The Crown who argued against the decriminalization of Ontario’s prostitution laws and MP Joy Smith.  Seats are limited, please RSVP now via facebook or the email above.


The Justice Summit, May 5, Ottawa:


the justice summit





Separated by a Window Pane: A Nagging Question From My Childhood

by Michelle Brock on April 9th, 2012

Some people struggle remembering much from their childhood.  I am not one of those people.  My first memory brings me back to the age of 3, and I recall vivid details about many life experiences from that point forward.  Being raised in Finland and Ethiopia for the majority of my childhood years, I am grateful for the exposure I had to different ways of living.  Though I was unable to process much of what I saw around me in Ethiopia due to my age, I have the opportunity now to go through many of the mental snapshots from those years and process them as an adult.

Addis Ababa traffic

Addis Ababa Traffic. Photo credit: Sameffron -

One of these snapshots involves our car stopping at traffic lights in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city. A swarm of children would often bang on the windows, begging for money.  This shocked me when we first moved there, but eventually I developed the hurtful skill of not looking into their eyes but acting as if they did not even exist.  Such situations are difficult to navigate through as an adult, let alone as a child.  These memories still haunt me.

Many of those kids were the same age as I was.  None of us has chosen what country we would be born in or how much money or opportunity would be available to us.  We all probably liked stickers and toys and climbing trees.  We all needed love and a parent to set healthy boundaries.  So much between me and them was the same.  But we were separated by a window pane.

I recently read a heart-wrenching article on the prostitution of children in Ethiopia.  It talks about how traffickers will go into impoverished, remote villages and purchase children for under $5.00 from families who either do not know what is going to happen to their child in the city, or are too desperate to care.  Often children would run away from their homes due to abuse or lack of opportunity and take a bus to the Mercado Bus Station in the heart of Addis, where predators would then exploit their vulnerability and sell them into the sex trade.  I remember buying a black leather backpack, which I still have, from that same Mercado.  There I was as a 10 year-old, negotiating a price for a backpack – my only concern being that a higher price would prevent me from buying candy later – while girls my age in that same market were negotiating a price from men who were going to use and abuse them – their concerns being disease, or pain, or beatings from their pimp if they did not bring in enough cash.


Mercado, Addis Ababa. Source:

One of the only times I felt truly unsafe in my years of living in Addis was when I decided to walk home at dusk from my horse riding lessons instead of waiting for my dad to pick me up.  Our house was only a 10 minute walk away, but I remember feeling the eyes of men on me as I began to run, their whistles and comments chasing after me as my heart pounded in my chest.  Yet this was what many children my age endured on a daily basis.

Why me?  Why them?  As I say grace over my meals, I truly feel that I am receiving grace.  There are so many in the world whose lack of food on the table drives them to do desperate things.  There are so many children who are driven into horrific situations because their parents are abusive, or so broken themselves that they can’t even begin to understand how to care for another human being.

I still struggle with why I have been given so much, while so many children in the city I have so many fond childhood memories in are living lives of absolute horror.  Where are the girls who were forced to sell their bodies on the same day as I bought my backpack at the Mercado?  Are they servicing men in the oil fields of Sudan?  Have they been sold to Saudi Arabian families as house servants or sex slaves?  Are they even alive?

As I sit here in a comfortable coffee shop listening to Michael Buble and drinking a warm cup of tea, I can’t help but wonder.

One thing I do know – I have been given a stewardship and a responsibility to love others.  And not in the emotional, “fuzzy” sense of the word, but in the live-sacrificially-give-generously-act-courageously sense of the word.  My husband and I are still trying to figure out what this looks like, practically, in our daily lives.  I refuse to waste the opportunity I have been given to make a difference in this world, if only to honour those I ignored for years on the other side of the window pane.

For those of you know who know me, please hold me accountable to this.




Interview with John Irwin, Director and Producer of SOLD

by Michelle Brock on April 5th, 2012

I recently saw a short film called SOLD that I wanted to share with Hope for the Sold readers.  The story is told through the eyes of a young journalist named Maya, who has inadvertently gotten captured into a human trafficking ring while doing an investigative article on the treatment of illegal immigrants in America. It offers a glimpse into the fearful moments, arduous travels, and split-second decisions that sex trafficking victims experience in captivity.  John Irwin – who wrote, directed, and produced this film – was willing to answer some questions for me about his work.  Watch the short below, followed by my interview with John.

How did you get into writing and directing films?

I started in Computer Science at Virginia Tech despite my weakness in math. I had a dream of making video games some day, thinking I might be able to tell stories and carry out my ideas through them. I went to a church on campus and during the service, they played an announcement video that someone from the church had made. It was a spoof on Mission Impossible and Run Lola Run and had all kinds of special effects…digital muzzle flashes, explosions — Yes, all were cheesy but my mind was blown.

Up to that point, from what I had perceived, the video-making world was divided. In my world, video-making was reserved for parents shooting Christmas mornings with a rickety VHS camcorder. The other world was across the country, where a lucky few would be given millions to make huge hollywood blockbusters. I had no idea that I, a young guy with a few bucks, could go out and create action scenes with gun fights, explosions and light sabers. Immediately, I switched majors to Communication and Film Theory and started living out my new dream, making dozens of mini short films with a Digital 8 Camera I purchased at Best Buy.

JohnCam1If you could describe yourself as a filmmaker in 5 words, what would they be?

My favorite part of being a filmmaker is that you are forced to question yourself, constantly figure out your opinions and your truth, then attempt to communicate it. I still feel like I’m at the beginning of my journey… maybe in a few years I’ll be ready with 5 snazzy words!

Why do you think film is a powerful way to tell a story?

To be able to (completely) fabricate worlds out of your imagination and then place characters in those worlds, then try to steer the audience’s journey- who they should love or hate, offering new and fresh perspectives on the world through your characters’ eyes… is pretty cool.

What inspired you to make “Sold?”

Four years ago, I was searching for a story that hadn’t been widely told. I stumbled upon the heart-wrenching topic of human trafficking. At that time, movies like “Trade” and “Taken” hadn’t come out yet and after doing a lot of research, I couldn’t believe that for the third most profitable organized crime in the world, there wasn’t much spoken about it. When I was trying to figure out what would interest me the most about a story taking place in this horrifying world, it seemed like the most effective and interesting point of view would be from the victim.

It seems like many movies about the topic are too quick to tell a version of the sex-trade story where the white male hero, saves the helpless girl from being kidnapped just before her virginity is taken from her (which in the land of movies, is apparently the end of the world). For me, I just thought it would be more interesting if the lead characters were strong and smart Latina women who only have their wits to help them survive in a situation where they don’t belong. I thought that would be enough to drive the story. I wrote a feature version and decided to write the short that could act as sort of a demo to build momentum for the feature.

What has been the biggest challenge about making this film?

For the short, it was a challenge to fit a complete dramatic story in 12 minutes without it feeling rushed, especially one that surrounds such a sensitive topic. I wanted to raise awareness with the short but I also just wanted to make a good thriller, I didn’t want people watching to feel like they’re being preached at.  Production-wise, It was a whole lot of fun actually making it happen. The biggest stress was just trying to keep the budget as low as possible since about 85% of what we had to spend came out of my pocket.

What has been the most encouraging response you have received so far?

When people have come up to me after a screening to let me know that they didn’t have a clue that this type of thing was going on, gives me a lot of encouragement. Those same people are usually shocked to learn that it’s not just happening overseas, that it’s happening everywhere, including America.

Aside from the trafficking element, I just want to tell a story well, and it always makes me feel good to hear from people if they liked the film. Everything I direct is such a learning process for me and this one was a huge one. I can’t wait to tackle the feature with everything I’ve learned from making the short.

Making SOLD1

In the process of making this film, what have you learned about human trafficking that you did not know before?

As I was writing the feature script, I did a lot of research and reading about the sex trade to keep the story as realistic as possible. I’ve been fascinated and horrified to learn about all the methods traffickers use to lure and trick girls into captivity, and once there, the made up debts that are placed on the girls that only increase over time. The traffickers make threats for the safety of the girls’ families back home and use other forms of intimidation to keep the girls from trying to escape. What really makes the issue of human trafficking so overwhelming is just how many people across the globe are taken and sold every day.

Human trafficking is a growing billion dollar industry that is intensely difficult to fight because it is so lucrative and the risk of getting caught for traffickers these days is very low in most countries. Some quick facts that I’ve come across, that blow me away:

Over 100,000 U.S. children every year are forcefully engaged in prostitution or pornography. The UN estimates that nearly 4,000,000 individuals are trafficked each year, 50% of which are children.

When will the feature length film be released?

We’re still trying to raise support for the feature version of Sold. We’ve received a lot of wonderful feedback and interest for the project in general but it’s been a challenge finding people who want to support the project financially. If you’d like to be part of the project, or even get updates, feel free to go to the film’s website and click on the “Join Mailing List” link on the bottom of the page. You can also email me from my website.

John, thank you for making such a powerful short film and sharing it with us.  It serves as a powerful reminder that sex trafficking is a horrendous form of organized crime that is happening all around the world, even on North American soil.

To those who just watched this short film, what did you think?  What did you think of how it ended?  What does a film like this tell us about what victims go through?





Anti-trafficking Bill C-310 Blocked by NDP on Friday – Debate Scheduled for Today

by Michelle Brock on April 4th, 2012

Last week on Friday, Bill C-310, which many of you asked your MPs to support, was expected to pass through its Third Reading.  Through the first stages of the Bill, there had been unanimous support from all parties, and all parties had expressed that they would support the Bill in the Third Reading. However, this is what I received from MP Joy Smith:

Today (Friday) , Bill C-310, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in persons), was expected to be adopted unanimously by the House of Commons at Third Reading and sent to the Senate. However, at the last minute, the NDP prevented debate on Bill C-310 and delayed the Bill from passing until the end of May.

“I am absolutely stunned by this,” said MP Joy Smith. “Bill C-310 will strengthen Canada’s efforts to combat human trafficking and this should not be a partisan matter. I have worked so hard to secure the support of all parties and have appreciated the support of all MPs for this Bill up until today.”

“At each stage of this Bill, I have reached out to members of other parties,” stated MP Smith. “In advance of today’s Report Stage and Third Reading, I spoke with the NDP and Liberal House Leaders to secure their support for Bill C-310 to be adopted today. They assured me that they were fully supportive of Bill C-310 being adopted today. Then, about 10 minutes before debate was to begin, I was shocked to find out that the NDP would be opposing Bill C-310.”

“What is most astounding is that the NDP have been fully supportive of Bill C-310 at Second Reading and Committee stages. They have even jointly seconded this Bill,” says MP Smith. “My heart sank when I watched as they stood, smiling and shouted ‘NO!’ when the Speaker of the House sought consent.”

As a result of today’s actions, Bill C-310 will be voted on next Wednesday, and will drop to the bottom of the Order of Precedence instead of heading to the Senate.

“I don’t have any answers as to why this happened,” said MP Smith. “I would invite Canadians to write or call NDP members for an explanation of why they would vote against such an important, bipartisan Bill and deliberately hold it up.”

“Today, modern day slavery exists in all corners of our globe and our resolve to eliminate it must only grow stronger,” said MP Smith. “In fact, only yesterday, a judge handed out the toughest penalty for human trafficking in Canadian history for an egregious case of forced labour.”

Bill C-310 amends the Criminal Code by adding the current trafficking in persons offences [s.279.01, s.279.011, s.279.02, and s.279.03] to the list of offences which, if committed outside of Canada by a Canadian or permanent resident, could be prosecuted in Canada. The Bill also adds an interpretive aid for courts to provide greater clarity of the definition of exploitation in s.279.04 of the Criminal Code.

Since introducing Bill C-310, MP Joy Smith has presented petitions containing 1000’s of signatures from Canadians calling for the adoption of the legislation. Many organizations have also lent their support for this legislation, representing stakeholders such as law enforcement, victim’s services, and non-governmental organizations.

The NDP decided to act in a partisan manner with Bill C-310 and needlessly delay it OR the NDP made a grave procedural error.

Regardless of what the reason was, the NDP’s actions halted the debate and passage of an important human trafficking bill that the Conservative, Liberal, Green, and Bloc parties were prepared to debate and support.

Note: The NDP could rectify this by offering to move Bill C-310 back to the top of the Order of Precedence by trading one of their Private Members Bill spots with Bill C-310.

My husband Jay and I wrote to several NDP MPs, asking them why they blocked debate on this bill, as we wanted to understand what happened.  We have waited for several days and not received a reply.


TODAY there will be a debate on this bill in the House of Commons.  If the Member of Parliament that represents you is part of the NDP party, please contact them today and ask them to support this bill. Ask them also to grant a position change with one of their private members bills and move Bill C-310 to a sooner vote for the 3rd reading.

I don’t know what happened here.  Some anti-trafficking bills are more controversial, but this one had unanimous support.  I think the NDP made a procedural mistake.  You can read this great article about the NDP’s decision to get more info.  You can also contact MP Joy Smith’s office with any questions: 613-992-7148 or [email protected]

Update: C-310 just adopted at Report Stage with all in favour. Could have been sooner if it had not been blocked earlier, but grateful it is now to the next stage!  I will update this post once I hear more.