Serving Greater Vancouver & the Fraser Valley
We were not born to be used

We were not born to be used

by Brianna Deutsch

 

“When I went into Deborah’s Gate, I felt naïve. I didn’t know who to trust and turn to because of my fear from my perpetrators. Every day, the staff didn’t stop reminding me of my worth and importance, and they treated me with love and fairness. They gave me safe shelter, provided my needs…”, says one survivor who was caught in the grips and horrors of human trafficking.

Deborah’s Gate, a program of The Salvation Army, is a high security, wrap-around rehabilitative program for survivors of human trafficking from across Canada to access for safety, healing, and rehabilitation. Opened in 2009, Deborah’s Gate has helped over 300 survivors of human trafficking, diligently working with victims by helping restore and rebuild what was ruthlessly broken by others. Additionally, The Salvation Army runs 5 other direct service programs, including outreach for early intervention, employment programs, and mental health and addictions support for those who have experienced exploitation here in Canada (www.deborahsgate.ca).

Human trafficking destroys souls, uses people as commodities and leaves them lifeless without a care, yet it is one of the biggest businesses in the world today. It is a gross violation of human rights, and often targets the most vulnerable people in society. It occurs in our backyards, to Canadians, by Canadians.

The International Labour Organization has estimated annual profits from forced sexual exploitation at $99-billion (U.S.). How can something so horrifically evil and inhuman prosper?

The answer is because it’s labelled as low-risk/high reward and it’s difficult for the crime to be detected.

Human trafficking comes in multiple forms – from forced marriage, exploitive labour, to sexual exploitation, to illegally purchasing people’s organs and tissues. All for monetary gain. When people start having a price tag attached to them, that’s when we know society is becoming inhumane. According to Larissa Maxwell, the Director of The Salvation Army Anti-Human Trafficking Programs, there is something we as a community can do about this.

Says Maxwell, “To begin, we can reflect on ways we may be consumers, either of sexual services (such as pornography, strip clubs/erotic dancing, and purchasing sex) or of unethical consumerism in our day-to-day purchasing. Government resources and slaveryfootprint.org are able to show ways our current purchasing patterns may be driving the demand for human trafficking… and secondly, it’s important to gain education and a realistic understanding of the issue.” And there is validity to that statement. If we as a society choose to remain ignorant on what has been documented as the world’s largest business, we hold a partial responsibility. Let’s not actively live with the wool over our eyes pretending that human trafficking doesn’t effect us, it does.

And we have a choice on how we’re going to respond to the crisis at hand. Human Trafficking can dissipate, if the demand stops.

We were not born to be used.
We were not born to be a commodity for primal pleasure.
We were born to experience the width and depth of love without the presence of abuse or coercion.
We were born to live life and live it abundantly.
Let’s start saying no to the things that matter.

For more information about The Salvation Army’s Anti-Human Trafficking initiatives and programs, or if one would like would donate, visit: www.deborahsgate.ca.

Author: Steve Almond

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