I asked some fellow abolitionists what the following question: What do you long for in 2011? Here are their responses.
“My hope for 2011 is that more Canadians will respond to the growing awareness about human trafficking, marshalling their unique talents, skills and resources. Abolitionists have to be more organized, more motivated, and more innovative than the traffickers for us to turn the tide against modern-day slavery in our country.”
Professor Benjamin Perrin, author of Invisible Chains: Canada’s Underground World of Human Trafficking
“In general terms I long to see in 2011 ordinary Canadians recognize the reality of modern day slavery. Not as an intellectual exercise but as a precursor to action and involvement that we, as a nation, would be regarded as those who value the voiceless and take on challenges too great for us as Wilberforce did. I have always believed that Canada is a country that should be punching way above it’s weight class.
In specific terms (very specific) I long that in 2011 I will see the rescue of a Cambodian girl named Sung. She was sold when she was 10 years of age. I have been searching for seven years. She is still out there.”
Brian McConaghy, Founder of Ratanak International
“I long to see increased awareness of human trafficking and more public education about human trafficking. I also would like to see Canada adopt a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking to support victims and provide a comprehensive response. Finally I would like to see Canada adopt the Nordic model of prostitution so we can target the market and ultimately eradicate sex trafficking.”
Joy Smith, Member of Parliament Kildonan-St. Paul
“I hope to see a national response to human trafficking where the federal government and provincial governments commit funding and resources to stopping human trafficking. I would like to see a stronger focus on the market for sex trafficking, holding the johns accountable. Also, we need to make sure those who want to escape the sex trade have the support systems necessary to do this. Finally, I hope to see an awakening in Canada that would grip our nation with the brutal reality of modern day slavery. That Canadians would ‘get it’ that sex trafficking and forced labour is a significant problem here, not just abroad.”
Joel Oosterman, Chief of Staff, Office of Joy Smith, MP
1. More awareness of the issue. It still amazes me how many people I talk to that have no idea that slavery still exists. We need people to be made aware! Once that has happened they quickly need to be moved to action. Often times, in our North American culture, we think that being aware of an issue is the end all… I often hear people speak of their activists friends. They brag on what others are doing and say it as if they are living vicariously through their friends actions. I wish people had a better understanding of the fact that they can be world changers as well! You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to do it all yourself… But you do have to do something… in order to make a difference. Simply being aware will not change lives.
2. I long for more money. Often I tell groups that I feel crass saying that and boiling such a horrific crime against humanity down to dollars and cents. However, the traffickers are in a 44 billion industry. That is 44 with nine zeros at the end. They are in this for business, while I see a lot of people that are on the other side, in the anti-trafficking fight, as a hobby or a feel good “calling” that ebbs and flows with the daily struggles of life. I would be hard pressed to believe that in the last ten years we have even raised 1% of what traffickers make in a year, to fight it. Groups that are effective in this fight, must have funding to fight harder!
3. Community. Personally for me I long for community in NE Florida that will rally together to join this fight with me! This fight is a dark one and can be lonely at times. It is so much better to do this with a group of incredibly committed individuals. I am extremely appreciative of people that come out to an event, or make a one time donation…. but there is something about being in the trenches with people who want to eradicate slavery!
Thanks for sharing your hopes and dreams for the year with our readers! Â In these first weeks of 2011 I have longed for organized crime to experience disorganization, division, and confusion, and for traffickers to have a radical change of heart.
And now a question to all our readers: What do YOU long for in 2011?