Monday, February 15, 2010

Interview: Buying Sex is Not Sport Part I: Anti-human trafficking campaign prior to Olympics

Everyone is excited about the Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, this month. Sports fans around the world are excited just as Canadians are. But, anti-human trafficking advocates are worried that the event will increase sex trafficking in Toronto. indeed, the news reports on big sports events like the Olympics, World Cup, or Super Bowl, in the past demonstrate that they are coupled with an increase in sex trafficking or child prostitution. HTP posted an article on advocates taking a preventive method against increase in sex trafficking prior to the Super Bowl game in 2008.

Currently, Canadians are faced with the same problem, but the scope of the challenge is greater than others. The Canadian government, other than deporting some immigrants, has not been very proactive on addressing the root causes of sex trafficking as human trafficking and child prostitution are poorly regulated. As a result, some traffickers in the past could get away with spending a few weeks in jail for sex trafficking of teenagers. [1]

To make the matter worse, the prime minister called for prorogation, which prevented the pending Canadian anti-human trafficking bill from becoming enforceable during the Olympics. [2]

This is why Buying Sex Is Not Sport (BSNS), the campaign against human trafficking in Canada before the Olympics, is significant. Unlike the reluctant effort of the Canadian government, the Canadian citizens themselves are taking the initiative to fight against human trafficking in their country. In this interview, Shae Invidiata, the event coordinator of BSNS panel in Toronto, introduces her campaign and the problem of sex trafficking in Canada.

Tell us about this event:

Listen Up TV was doing a series on Human Trafficking in Canada; and from the grant that the station was given, Listen Up TV had enough funding to bring Buying Sex Is Not A Sport (BSNS) out to Toronto to have a public panel. Lorna Dueck approached me through a mutual contact to see what my thoughts were on doing a panel that would address the issue of paid sex and human trafficking, and what it would look like if we brought out BSNS to Toronto.

Listen Up is a weekly, half-hour, independently-produced television program. Our program presents "news that takes you deeper," exploring news and current affairs stories from a Christian world view. Journalist and host Lorna Dueck and the Listen Up team dig behind the headlines to investigate those points at which news and spirituality converge, to illuminate God's involvement in the issues and events of our day.

Who is the intended audience?

The intended audience is to really see people from all different ages to come out including as many political figures as possible. This is not a Christian issue, a Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Agnostic, or Atheist issue, it is not a black or white issue, nor is it a conservative or liberal, Canadian or Indian issue, this is not just a male or female issue...this is GLOBAL HUMAN ISSUE, and if you happen to fall in that category, it should demand your attention; but further it should compel our hearts, minds and souls to learn more and take action against this injustice. We need our political figures to change our laws, and we need the people of Canada to tell them we want change.

What is the purpose or goal of this event?

The purpose of this panel is to bring people to the first step to the end of Human Trafficking- and that is becoming aware. Becoming aware of this horrific injustice is the first step to the abolition. The second purpose of this panel is give people an opportunity to help STOP Human Trafficking that day- such as signing the petition that will be at the panel for the audience to sign, for people to subscribe to newsletters that will keep that person in connection with event/fundraiser and other ways to raise awareness and get people actively involved to stop human trafficking, such as signing up to raise money and walk to Stop Child Trafficking (this walk will be taking place in October 2010- I am the Toronto Community Ambassador for Stop Child Trafficking Now). The goal is to have both venues packed out – one venue holds 900-1000 people (walmer road Baptist church) and the other holds 250 (room at the university of Toronto). Another goal is to have David Miller, the Mayor of Toronto in attendance, along with other political representatives.

Do you utilize volunteers and, if so how do you recruit volunteers and who are they?

Yes volunteers are always needed in events like these, they are the blood line to the event-without them, things would take 5 times longer to get things done and over double the cost to get it done. I have a great team that I have personally recruited.

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