By Jensen, Randy on August 28, 2020.
A local non-profit group is raising awareness of the problem of human trafficking in Lethbridge and around the world.
Not4Sale held its pop-up shop event on Wednesday and Thursday this week where citizens had the opportunity to come in to speak to local volunteers, learn about the human-trafficking problem, ask questions about the work Not4Sale is doing in its child safe home in Mexico, and support the cause by making a donation or buying some Not4Sale merchandise.
“We provide opportunities within southern Alberta for raising awareness, education, as well as fundraising opportunities, to support victims of human trafficking,” explains group spokesperson Angelica Mcnee. “We have primarily worked in developing countries. At the moment we have a safe home that is based out of Mexico. That is where we rescue kiddos and bring them into our home. I think our mission is not to do quantity, but rather to do quality. We want to make sure whoever we are bringing in that we are caring for them with excellence and the best way possible.”
Mcnee says not many are aware of the huge extent of the human-trafficking problem.
“Human trafficking is basically a multi-billion-dollar industry,” she says. “It is all over the place, and it is not just in developing countries. It is in our own backyard. It is happening here in Lethbridge. It is happening in Calgary. It’s all across Canada, and it is a big issue right now. I think it always has been, but it has been more underground. And we are just starting to talk about it now.”
Mcnee says there are many ways and many reasons why human trafficking is such a profitable industry for those perpetuating it.
“There is a ton of different areas people are exploited in,” she confirms. “There are people being trafficked for labour. There is sex-trafficking. There are many areas, but our focus at Not4Sale has mainly been the sex-trafficking. We have seen children (in Mexico) as young as three years old who are sexually exploited and sold within their own communities. But it is all age groups that can be trafficked.”
Mcnee says there is usually a grooming process human traffickers undertake with their victims which raises identifiable red flags for parents, teachers and youth in the community. Her group tries to share this knowledge with schools and youth groups in Lethbridge to make sure they are aware of them.
By helping create a greater awareness of the problem, says Mcnee, Not4Sale is hoping it can make some impact so fewer people become victims of trafficking.
“We want people to know that it doesn’t have to stay this way,” she states. “We can all partner together. We can bring hope. We can change this together. I think if we remain silent it is the worst thing we can do.”
For more information on the organization, and its work in Canada and Mexico, visit http://www.not4sale.ca.
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