On July 6th, 2017, a small, passionate group of people gathered at Deane House, and together, we launched the #NotInMyCity campaign in Calgary.
Together, thanks to your generosity and continued support, a movement was started, which raised over $200,000.00 in its first year, and sent a clear message; Sexual Exploitation is wrong, and is not welcome in Calgary, Alberta, and Canada.
Since our successful launch, #NotInMyCity has focused on continuing discussion and awareness about Human Trafficking occurring in Calgary and beyond. We have also deepened our involvement by engaging with Bonnie Johnston (former CEO of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre) to begin gathering information through consultation with Police, Justice, Health, Children’s Services, First Nations, and Provincial Ministries. Bonnie’s extensive experience in serving vulnerable populations and her vast systems knowledge have helped to begin to identify areas of greatest need for us as a community to combat this growing problem, and to more effectively and efficiently serve trafficking victims and survivors.
Recent conversations with The Palix Foundation have started to uncover potential connections between Adverse Childhood Experiences and increased vulnerability for childhood sexual exploitation. As research and dialogue continues, more layers are peeled back each day suggesting trauma informed care will create better, more positive outcomes in the future through science-based prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation.
With knowledge comes responsibility, and every conversation about this important issue increases awareness, and leads us closer to the prevention and eradication of this horrific crime. It takes bravery. It takes a pioneering spirit. It requires change-makers like you to step up and meet tough issues like Human Trafficking head on.
Thank you for your continued support and interest, and for sharing about this important and worthwhile effort with your contacts. Please continue to encourage people to visit notinmycity.ca and to subscribe to our mailing list.
Updates on the #NotInMyCity 2018 campaign, dates, times, and more are right around the corner, so please stay tuned and prepare to mark your calendars for what will surely be another historic event. We hope you’ll join us again this year as we continue to grow.
It is so inspiring to see that all of this amazing momentum came about because as a community we gathered together, took a stand, and said; “No more” to Human Trafficking.
Please take the time to review Bonnie’s research and consultation notes below to see the progress we are making, thanks to your generosity and visionary support of #NotInMyCity.
Notes from Bonnie Johnston on Human Trafficking
Human Trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in Canada. While it is widely believed that trafficking involves people from foreign countries, 93% of Canada’s trafficking victims come from Canada. 98% of sex trafficking victims worldwide are women and girls. Victims come from all backgrounds and all walks of life, with the prime recruitment age being 12 to 14 years.
Major risk factors include: mental health issues, body image issues, learning disabilities, social isolation, child abuse experience and poverty. New immigrants, LGBTQ youth, and most particularly, aboriginal girls are over-represented among victims.
The issue is extremely complex. The #NotInMyCity initiative made the decision to put in place a process to consult with community partners to more clearly understand the issue to ensure strategies put in place would be collaborative, intentional and impactful. From mid-October to January, 2018, meetings have occurred with many individuals who provided expertise and perspective on the issue of Human Trafficking from the National, Provincial and Regional levels. This has included consultation with individuals within the Ministries of the Provincial Government, representatives from the Calgary Police Service, RCMP, Children’s Services, Alberta Health Services, Calgary Crown Prosecutor’s Office, Calgary Catholic School District, City of Calgary, First Nations, Palix foundation and non-profit community agencies providing direct services to individuals impacted by sexual exploitation.
The intent of the meetings was to map out the current reality related to the issue of Human Trafficking, specifically sexual exploitation. This included: understanding what programs, services and legislation are effective; identifying barriers and challenges; defining what additional supports and resources are required within the community; and identifying what needs to be done differently and more effectively at the community, organizational and government levels. Appreciation is extended to all the individuals who provided their time, expertise, commitment and support to continually work toward leading practices and the achievement of positive outcomes for the vulnerable populations we serve.
Findings of the consultations were provided on January 17th to representatives from the sectors of Police, Justice, Health, Children’s Services, Education and the Ministry of Community and Social Services. We were very honored to have Elder Leonard Bastien join us for the discussion. Key priorities discussed included the need for: Community Awareness and Engagement, Training, Collaborative Models of Practice to Serve and Support Victims and the Continuous Development of Leading Practices and Research. A Planning Session is being planned for the end of February with these sectors to continue the conversation to discuss priorities and map out a collective strategy for moving forward.