Connecting the Dots

My favourite Conservative MP, Joy Smith, wrote a convincing proposal to Stephen Harper about creating a National Action Plan to combat Human Trafficking, called “Connecting the Dots”. The Prime Minister was so compelled that he announced that his government would create a plan to tackle the problem of Humans selling Humans during the last election campaign.

MP for Kildonan-St. Paul, Joy Smith

On this past Sunday, I signed up to go on a 5 km walk in support of [free them], which is an organization bringing awareness to the issue of Human Trafficking in our country and around the world. Before the walk began, there were a number of speakers, including Joy Smith. Needless to say, it was inspiring to be in a room full of so many motivated and caring people, who together share a passion for freedom.

These people ranged from politicians, to survivors, to activists, to front lines police officers and border patrol. And there I was with my wife bouncing around in the back of the room, trying to distract our two young kids with juice boxes and yogurt, so we could soak up every word. We heard about the 27 million people around the world who are bought and sold. These people are not treated as human, but as objects. This isn’t a business as usual, employee and employer relationship. This is modern day slavery.

These are the facts:

  • Human trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the world today.
  • 80% of those trafficked are women and children
  • 70% are sold for the purpose of sexual exploitation
  • The average age of a girl prostituted is between the age of 12-14
  • Human Trafficking is a $32 Billion Dollar industry
  • The Industry of Human Trafficking makes more than the profits of Google, Nike and Starbucks combined

People are trafficked for many reasons. The largest being for sexual purposes, but also for cheap labour among other things. The most vulnerable and desperate people are often the targets of traffickers. Countries and individuals from all over the world that face extreme poverty, war, natural disasters, and other human hardships are at the greatest risk . However, this is not simply an international problem outside of our borders. We have our own groups of exploited people in Canada, including our Aboriginal communities, and even those who are indebted to drug and organized crime rings. Others are imported into the county under the false assumption that they are coming to nanny or model, or some other great opportunity offered to them. We have to connect to the dot that says Canada has its own problem with Human Trafficking and it needs the attention of our leaders and law-makers.

Carley and Nate Ellis at free them

With that in mind, we took to the streets of Toronto. As we began our walk, I had the honour of meeting Joy Smith. I worked up just enough nerve to introduce myself, and to thank her for her work, when she engaged me in great conversation about our shared addiction to politics, which led to talking about the blog and the importance of understanding the world of Politics. Just as an aside, Mrs. Smith is a total sweetheart, who is a trustworthy and honourable woman, fit to be a leader in our country, and to be a leader in the fight to end Human Trafficking.

My wife spent the majority of the walk picking the brain of a Hamilton police officer who has fought tooth and nail to bring this issue to light within his own ranks. This is a man who stands for freedom, perhaps at the expense of future promotions and a promising career path. It is clear, that in order to bring about change, to end slavery, it will take an unwavering commitment of doing the right thing. This officer was a role model of exactly that.

I will leave you with two quotes:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”- Margaret Mead.

Grayson Ellis- 1 year old activist

The founder of [free them], Shea Invidiata shared this quote as she challenged us to take responsibility for our part, to raise awareness, to stand for freedom and justice, to be a dot. So I signed a petition, asking the government to keep the action plan a priority, to create and implement a plan to end Human Trafficking. If you want to read more about the petition, there is a website at the bottom, please consider adding your name to the list.

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” -Nelson Mandela

From a man who spend his life fighting for freedom, we should consider our own freedom. It is not enough to simply be free, but to also live in a way that allows others to experience freedom as well.

Visit: http://www.freethem.ca

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About Nate

Hi There! I am just an average guy, who does average things. However, I do have one interest that not everybody shares. I love Canadian Politics! As an average guy, I do not fully understand how the decisions made in Ottawa affect me, my family and my values. This is a blog that documents my journey to understand why the big national issues should matter to me, and to those like me. Other than Blog Writing, I work at a tremendous not for profit organization in Hamilton, ON called City Kidz. I create curriculum for a Disney-Styled Show each Saturday that teaches kids important values for their life. Finally, this is who I really am: I am the Father of Samuel and Grayson, my boys. I am the husband of a beautiful Woman and my best friend! (All one person). My family is the center of my life, and I am thankful they let me do crazy things like write a blog about a subject that I know very little about. Enjoy the Blog, Nate
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5 Responses to Connecting the Dots

  1. timea says:

    Dear Nate,

    You are far from an average guy. (no offense to “average guys”).
    Thank you so much for your article, and thank you so much for being at the walk.
    I said this on the podium, but I meant every word; It means so much to me that each and every one of you decided to come and show your support and now use your voice in every way you can.

    I know that if you were to walk by that Motel 13 years ago, and If I could explain to you what kind of trouble I’m in, you and everyone else would have helped….IF you would have known, if I could have explain….IF i would have known myself….
    Lots of IF’s…..we can’t change the past, but we can certainly change the future together.

    Thank you again.

    Timea

    • Nate says:

      Timea!
      You are so inspiring. Your real life survival story helps make this issue real for the typical North American. We walk around with blinders on far too often, until we hear stories like yours. Then we know, then we can act. We cannot act unless we know, so please keep telling your story.

      Wish I could I have been there 13 years ago.
      Thank you,
      Nathan

  2. What a great reflection on how the walk moved you this past weekend! Maybe we can connect next week at the City Kidz open house (if you’re going to be there)? I also blog about social justice issues (http://speakingforothers.wordpress.com/) and was hoping to become more involved with City Kidz.

    • Nate says:

      Jennifer,
      Thanks for reading the blog, and for blogging about important justice issues! I will be at the City Kidz Open House next week. You will see me on the tour when you get there, so make sure you say hi and introduce yourself! You will love City Kidz!

      Nathan

  3. David Hartless says:

    Please forward on to any contacts that you may have

    Walk With Me would like to invite you to our Annual Fundraiser/Award Ceremony.

    information can be found at http://www.journey-to-freedom.ca/

    If you could please save this date in your calendar…

    NOVEMBER 13TH 4:30PM Carmen’s Banquet Hall

    (Ticket price is: $50/ person or $450 per table of 10)

    This event is Black Tie formal

    Please contact David Hartless for tickets at the below numbers

    Background: Walk-With-Me is a Human Trafficking rescue organization that provides 24 hr response and crisis intervention for victims of Human Trafficking. The founder Timea Nagy is a former Human Trafficking victim and published author of the book “Memiors of a sex slave survivor”, she escaped from her captors and has since dedicated her life to assisting others who have been trafficked.

    In the last 2 years Timea has trained countless law enforcement and victim services personnel, she has directly intervened and provides continuing assistance to 41 victims of Human Trafficking and counting.

    Thank you very much

    905-379-5944

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