Every year for my birthday, one of Jay’s gifts is the TIME Year In Review. I soak in every page, reading about people who have lived and people who have died – about the courage, creativity, and success of some and the mistakes, heartbreak, and failures of others. In the midst of it all I have looked back on what 2012 has been like for Hope for the Sold. What a year it has been! And much of it is thanks to people like you.
Between January 1 and December 31, 2012:
Bill C-310 became law. Many of you responded to our request to send letters to your MPs in support of Bill C-310, and in June of this year the bill received Royal Assent. This means that Canadians who engage in human trafficking abroad are no longer exempt from prosecution in Canada. Furthermore, the definition of human trafficking has been enhanced to include key factors to help police and courts to better identify cases of human trafficking. If you made your voice heard during the process, this certificate belongs to you!
We reached our fundraising goal. Because of the generosity of hundreds of people – including HFTS blog readers, friends, family, Ride for Refuge cyclists, and those who organized fundraisers – we raised over $20,000 in 2012! This brought us to the $40,000 mark which enabled us to begin filming our documentary on legalization of prostitution, its connection to sex trafficking, and preventative models that reduce sexual exploitation.
We began our project. In mid October we headed to Europe to begin filming.
- Countries filmed in so far: Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, France, England, USA
- Number of people interviewed: 42
- Travel: Planes rides (6), train rides (22), subway/bus/streetcar rides (167), taxi rides (1), hours in car (39)
- Wheels that fell off our luggage: 1
- Interviews we were late for due to cancelled trains: 1
We’ve learned a lot:
- Listening to trafficking survivors tell their stories required our full attention and drew our our deepest emotions. Each time, I would spend the rest of the day in contemplation, in tears, or in a state of numbness and exhaustion. If that was the effect on me, I can only imagine how drained the survivors themselves must have felt after recounting such trauma. We hold their stories with tenderness and care.
- Culture affects policy, and policy affects culture.
- Issues surrounding sexual exploitation are complex, but that should not scare us from taking a stand.
- You can learn a lot in split second moments. Like the brief, tense encounter between a pimp and his “property” in a red light window, like men lined up at ATMs near brothels, like the small whimper from a victim when we asked her if she had been forced to have sex without a condom. Some moments can be caught on camera, while many happen so quickly that they can only be captured in words from memory.
We continue our documentary journey in January, and look forward to meeting more great people. Thank you for your support in 2012. Our work would not be possible without you!