Pictured above: Supriya Mandal, 14, in class at PACE Universal, a school for girls in Piyali Junction, outside of Kolkata, India, that is funded in part by Rotary clubs and The Rotary Foundation. It was founded by Rotarian Deepa Biswas Willingham both to educate girls and to protect them from slavery, trafficking, and early childhood marriage in a community where these are common dangers for girls. It includes a guarded home where girls who need it can live.

Eradicating Human Trafficking Committee

This newly formed Committee has a mission to raise awareness of, and prevent, the crisis of Human Trafficking within our local and global community through action and education.

 
 
 

Educate to Eradicate
About the Eradicating Human Trafficking Committee

 

In January 2021, a powerful presentation about the devastating effects of human trafficking left an indelible mark on a group of Rotarians from Guelph South. Luisa Kraus, founder of Elora House, had really impacted our club with her presentation about how insidious modern-day slavery and human trafficking has become in society and especially in our own communities.
 
This group decided to do something about it and the committee to Educate to Eradicate Human Trafficking was formed. First, they reached out to numerous groups and individuals such as Women in Crisis, Victims Services and Crime Stoppers to learn more about this crisis and soon they were ready to help educate others about this dreadful scourge on humanity.
 
The next step was an online speaker series. Bob Burnside of Cry Not and Karly Church, a survivor and crisis intervention professional were among eight fantastic speakers. The goal of reaching out and educating others was an important step in this process and our speakers touched many people with personal stories and told us about the horrifying statistics of what is happening to vulnerable members of our society.
 
A follow-up survey revealed how eye opening the speaker series had really been. Few people in attendance realized that human trafficking was happening in their own communities!
 
If any of the people that attended are motivated to reach out to vulnerable people or change some of their own behaviours, then a change is starting. Throughout the year, members from other Rotary Clubs joined our cause and together we created a successful online fundraiser for Elora House, a safe home and support for victims exploited by sexual abuse.
 
So, our first chapter was a success. Our continuing mandate includes creating in-person events within our community to spotlight human trafficking including a flag-raising ceremony possibly to coincide with WORLD HUMAN TRAFFICKING DAY on July 30th and an intense and informative film festival slated for this fall. Further resources are available online. Our committee members are happy to help with movie or book suggestions such as Where Were You? by Matt Friedman and/or any inquiries about joining this committee and general interest queries.
 

In 2021, we held five speaker series:

 
November 30 Our fifth and final of the 2021 speaker series focused on Rotary involvement in eradicating Human Trafficking, with representatives of the Rotary Club to End Human Trafficking and the Rotary Action Group against Slavery.
 
 
 
 
October 26 For the past three sessions of our Building Awareness on Human Trafficking series, we focused on what is happening in Canada, in Southern Ontario.  We welcomed Major Rachel Lamont who has worked extensively on human trafficking around the world. She shared what she has observed in working in the Caribbean, Europe and Bangladesh.  In particular, focused her talk on her international work in Greece and about Canada's situation with indigenous girls and women who are the most vulnerable and also immigrant workers.
 
 
 
September 28 Our third in the speaker series was held on September 28th at 7PM.  With our proximity to the 400 highways it means that most of all human trafficking in Canada happens using that route. It also means that it is happening right on our doorstep in Guelph.  In this third session of our Building Awareness of Human Trafficking project, we brought together three service providers who provide support and help to survivors of human trafficking.
  • Luisa Krause is the Director of Elora House, an agency that provides short-term housing and support to women exploited by sex trafficking, helping them to make healthy and informed decisions about their lives.
  • Kevin Coghill is the Executive Director and Pastor at the Royal City Mission where they provide meals to the vulnerable, working to make the invisible visible in our community.
  • Nicky Carswell is the Co-ordinator of the Anti Human Trafficking Program at the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region (SASC) where a trauma-informed, harm reduction, and feminist approach is provided.
Through this panel presentation we learned more about what each organization offers to survivors of human trafficking, and how as a community we can support these organizations in an effective way.
 
 
 
August 24 Our second in the speaker series was held on August 24th at 7PM. The speaker was Karly Church, who shared her remarkable and heartbreaking story of her time in Human Trafficking. She is an incredible survivor that is now dedicating her life to helping other young victims escape the trapping of Human Sex Slavery. And thank you also for defining Domestic Human Trafficking in Canada. We all need to understand this so we can spread the word and educate others about this plight.  Karly spoke eloquently and is an extremely articulate young lady. We wish her all the best in her future.
 
  
 
 
July 27 Our first in the speaker series was July 27th. The speaker was from the group CRY NOT.  CRY NOT is a volunteer organization formed by two recognized and respected groups within the Dufferin Caledon community. The Rotary Club of Orangeville and Compass Community Church were both moved to action when made aware of the threat of Human Trafficking in their area. Neither party felt qualified to undertake the involved follow-up work that can be required with Human Trafficking victims. Both parties however, did feel strongly about their ability to bring awareness of the threat, tactics, symptoms and resulting devastating personal effects of Human Trafficking to the greater Dufferin Caledon communities.  Both of the creating parties of CRY NOT realize that working with others can be more effective than individually, so they have come together as CRY NOT, short for COMPASS ROTARY YOUTH – NO TRAFFICKING