In October of 2006, my husband Jay and I attended a leadership conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Gary Haugen from International Justice Mission led one of the sessions, tackling the topic of modern day slavery. At the end of the session, 100 tickets to pre-screen a movie called TRADE were given out. Out of 10,000 people that were in attendance, our group ended up with 6 tickets.
Little did we know our lives were about to change.
The film served as a rude awakening that human beings were being bought and sold all around the world. Sex trafficking was a booming business, and slavery was far from abolished. I grew up in Africa where I had witnessed poverty and injustice in various forms, but a multi-billion dollar industry of rape for pay struck a chord with me unlike anything else ever had. As a woman, I could not imagine a worse fate. Jay was filled with anger and deep sadness that men all over the world funded and fuelled such a sick and abusive trade.
We came back home to Ontario and started an awareness campaign about sex trafficking. Along with an amazing group of friends we organized banquets, art shows, concerts, and university events to spread the word. In 2009, we received a small grant from the Millennium Scholarship Foundation and drove 11,000 km across the country to make a documentary about sex trafficking in Canada.
Despite not having any experience with film making, Enslaved and Exploited: The Story of Sex Trafficking in Canada has been used as a resource by students, Members of Parliament, Border Service Officers, crisis shelter workers, professors, church leaders, and abolitionists.
Along with this, the Hope for the Sold blog reaches thousands of readers monthly and has served as a platform to discuss important issues surrounding sexual exploitation and to mobilize people for the cause.
In 2011 Hope for the Sold partnered with International Teams, giving HFTS organizational framework and the ability to provide tax receipts (find out more below). There is a second film on the horizon, which you can learn more about and support here!
FAQ ABOUT HOPE FOR THE SOLD
How do I donate to HFTS?
Canadian online donations can be made here. Cheques can be made out to Hope for the Sold and sent to:
For those of you in the United States, you can donate online here, or make a cheque out to International Teams with Memo: Hope for the Sold and send it to:
Are donations to HFTS eligible for tax deductible receipts?
Yes! In 2011 HFTS partnered with International Teams, an organization that has a heart for the poor and exploited. This has provided HFTS with financial accountability and wisdom from those who have years of experience in the charity world. Donations go to Hope for the Sold(see above), but tax receipts are given under the charitable number of International Teams (12659 9919 RR0001).
What does HFTS do?
We believe in the power of words. This drives us to create compelling resources to spread awareness, connect leaders, and inspire hope and action. We do this through:
- Blogging: Subscribe today!
- Making films: Watch our first documentary here. Learn about our next one here.
- Writing articles: Have a blog or a newspaper? We’d love to contribute! Contact us with the title of your message as “article request.”
- Researching: Strategies and best practices to reduce trafficking.
- Networking: Connecting people with resources and initiatives.
- Promoting: Do you or your organization have an anti-trafficking event coming up? We’d love to get the word out! Contact us with the title of your message as “Event Promo.”
Simply put, Hope for the Sold fights sexual exploitation one word at a time.
Does HFTS rescue victims or provide aftercare?
No. We are writers and story tellers, and have decided focus on raising awareness with excellence. However, there are other great organizations that are involved in rescue and aftercare. Here are some you should check out:
- Walk With Me
- Transitions Global
- International Justice Mission Canada
- International Justice Mission USA
What can I do? Does HFTS have volunteer or employment opportunities?
HFTS is grassroots and at the moment does not offer opportunities for paid employment. For those interested in volunteering, currently we are fundraising to make our next film and need all the help we can get! Here are some ideas for fundraisers:
- Host a dinner party & charge per plate.
- Have a screening of our first film and a time of discussion afterwards. Take up a donation at the end.
- Good at baking? Have a bake sale. Good at collecting? Have a garage sale. Good at painting? Have an art show. Good at photography? Sell some photos. Good at sports? Have a tournament.
- If you are a business owner, donate a portion of your proceeds to HFTS.
We are also looking for volunteers that can help with graphic design and animation. If you have skills in one of these areas and would be willing to offer your time, please let us know!
Can Jay and Michelle come to an event I am hosting?
We currently live in the Golden Horseshoe (Ontario). Our preferred format is a screening of our first film followed by Q & A discussion, as this has been very effective. However we are open to other ideas as well! Please contact us for more details, we’d love to hear what you have in mind!