YORK REGION, Ontario — (CANADIAN CHRISTIAN NEWS SERVICE) — Human trafficking, the illegal trade of human beings, mainly for the purposes of forced labour and sex trafficking, is not just a concern for impoverished underdeveloped countries; it is a concern for Canada. A21, an organization that rescues people out of “The Game”, describes this horrendous injustice as the world’s fastest growing criminal activity.
On Thursday evening May 26, 2016 Springvale Church in Stouffville, ON will host an event to bring awareness, prayer and action to shine a light in York Region on this dark and very pervasive issue.
According to a research initiative on the incidence of human trafficking in the province, Ontarians are in dire need of awareness. Some of the findings:
63% of victims trafficked in Ontario are Canadian citizens
90% are female
63% are between the ages of 15-24
Approx. 34% entered exploitative trafficking via boyfriends acting as pimps
96% of victims experienced multiple forms of violence
This event will feature prayer/worship, education and a call to action. Three influential guests will represent: a voice for the victims, a call to end the demand, and a specific look at how the church can respond with a focus on York region.
Katarina MacLeod: Katarina MacLeod is a survivor of exploitation, sexual & physical abuse, drug addiction, kidnapping, and domestic prostitution and trafficking. In 2008, she finally escaped ‘the game’ and now works to raise awareness regarding the truth behind this industry, as well as walk alongside women who, like her, want to start over and realize they cannot do it on their own. Katarina has obtained a diploma in Addictions and Community Service, a certificate in Sexual Violence, and a Level 1 certificate in Trauma Counselling for Front Line Workers. She is a wife, a mother to 4 children and a child of God.
Vijay Krishnan: Vijay Krishnan is the Lead Pastor of Upper Room Community Church in Vaughan, Ontario. After studying business at Queen’s University, Vijay worked in the Toronto business community for 10 years doing CPG and Retail marketing. During that time, he helped launch Upper Room Community Church, and in 2009 transitioned into the Lead Pastor role. Serving in a city marked by continuous growth and affluence, along with religious and ethnic diversity, presents significant challenges and unique opportunities. Upper Room is committed to being used by God to authentically represent Jesus Christ through a Deep Faith, and a Wide Embrace. Vijay, his wife Jenn and their three boys are thrilled to be in ministry in the local church. Human trafficking is an issue that Vijay is passionate about and he has been invited to speak to the dangers of pornography and how it fuels the demand for human trafficking.
Garry James: Garry is the Senior Pastor at Valley View Alliance Church in Newmarket. His pastoral passion is to be an agent of reconciliation, people to people and people to God. He began leading Valley View 15 years ago and has led in the development of community outreaches which have included a school of dance, a school of music, a weekly community dinner serving homeless and working poor, and was the initiator of moving Valley View to create u-r home: a safe house for survivors of human trafficking in York Region.
Various local organizations that work to end human trafficking and supporting victims will have booths so people can learn more about what is being done locally and how to get involved. These include:
The Daughter Project
Men Ending Trafficking
This no-cost event is open to everyone high-school aged and above. We encourage parents, youth workers, educators, teens and church leaders to attend this event on Thursday, May 26 from 7:00-9:00pm at Springvale, 3885 Stouffville Rd, Whitchurch-Stouffville.
awareness * prayer * action