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Report on Human Trafficking (Newfoundland)

May 16, 2017

Most of my involvement in the area of human trafficking over the past months has been in the areas of prayer, awareness and education.

1. I have shared with people The Beatitudes-A Contemporary Version Against Human Trafficking

2. I provided materials to various groups for the feast of St.Josephine Bakhita.

3. I attended celebrations in recognition of International Women's Day and once again provided resources to various groups for different activities.

1. Our Newfoundland and Labrador Coalition Against Human Trafficking continues to meet every six weeks. We are in the process of providing training to groups within our province. We wish to target a number of front line responders. Another group we have identified who need to be included in the training program are people who work in the airline industry in the hopes they will be able to detect traffickers and victims.

2. A police force in one of our provinces offers a program entitled "Say Something if You See Something". The campaign is aimed at local businesses; we may review the program to see if it fits our needs.

3. The Premier of our Province is conducting "A Task Force on Improving Educational Outcomes." Our Coalition submitted a letter to convey the message that education deters vulnerability and all children have to be included in the education system. It is critical not only to have academics but it is crucial to have social and psychological learning. We have over a thousand youth who drop out of our educational system each year.

1. I am on the Board for the Centre for Life. During April we provided education to junior and high school students, university students, parents and the general public in the area of pornography. The program is known as "Fight the New Drug: Pornography". The speaker, Chris Bakker, was from Oregan and proved to be a very dynamic and engaging person. The group exists to provide individuals the opportuity to make informed decisions regarding pornography by raising awareness of its harmful effects using only science, facts and personal stories. He demonstrated the link with such issues as child exploitation, prostitutiion and human trafficking. The presentation was well received by all audiences. We hope to continue the momentum in relation to this issue with further conversations.

2. "Chelsea's Choice"
During National Victims of Crime Awareness Week (May 28-June 3, 2017) this play will be performed to various audiences. It is a highly- acclaimed awareness raising play around the issues surrounding Human Trafficking for the purposes of Sexual Exploitation. It is based on real life events. I am hoping that this powerful production will come to Newfoundland so we can further safeguard our youth and provide them with knowledge and skills to protect themselves from sexual exploitation. (Be on the watch in case this production comes to your area. It has already been performed in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and New York City.)

3. Presentations:

A. I provided three presentations over the past months. One focussed on pornography to a group of women who were interested in learning more on this subject. Each evening in the news we hear of people (especially men) who are brought into police custody due to charges related to child pornography. I was impressed by the women's interest in wanting to know more about this issue.

B. Pornography/Prostitution/Human Trafficking
I work with a small group of women who are incarcerated in our prison in the capital city of St. John's. Their crimes center more on addictions to alcohol and drugs. I was surprised when I addressed the issues of prostitution, human trafficking and pornography with them that they were unaware of the depth of these crimes within our city. I provided three sessions to the women on these topics.

Once the women are discharged from the justice system I accompany some of them as they endeavor to find apartments and financial and social programs which will help them become integrated into society. Recently I had a woman come to me at 8 p.m. She was discharged from prison and had no housing, food or transportation. She said she had two choices-steal to help her in the situation or go on the hill and prostitute herself. As the drug scene increases within our province, we are facing more deaths, violence, crimes and murders.

C. St John's Youth Social Justice Society Update:
A speaker panel was held entitled St. John's Youth Social Justice Society Update: This panel was held in February at our universiry. A video was utilized known as CASEY (Coalition Against the Sexual Exploitation of Youth). This video has been distributed to all schools within Newfoundland and Labrador. Youth members of the Coalition were on hand to distribute materials as well as doing radio interviews in relation to the panel.

4. Invitation for September:
I have been invited to speak at a diocesan meeting on the topic of Human Trafficking. I look forward to this event as education has such a significant role to play in raising people's awareness of this issue and the devastating impact it can have on the lives of people ensnared in this form of abuse.

-Margie Taylor rsm