July 18th, 2024

Gala raises awareness about human trafficking

By Steffanie Costigan - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on March 20, 2024.

Dancers perform in celebration of the international home for human trafficking survivors in Mexico, during the Not4Sale Gala held recently at Parallel Church. Nigel Thiessen / Presto Media

Local non-profit organization Not4Sale celebrated its opening of an international home for human trafficking survivors with a recent gala.

It was on Nov. 20th when Not4Sale opened their doors to a safe home in Mexico for trafficked survivors to receive refuge, counselling and supports.

“It was a fundraiser and also a celebration party. The gala was to raise awareness, to raise funds, and also to celebrate that we had opened a home in Mexico for survivors of human trafficking,” said Not4Sale director Joy-Lynn Stickel in a recent interview.

Stickel shared about 160 people attended the event at Parallel Church. She said one of their team members shared her own experience of trafficking there.

“A lot of new faces that hadn’t heard about, I believe human trafficking itself even or hadn’t heard our fight against it. And so just a lot of awareness was raised that way where one of our team members actually was trafficked as a child in Alberta. And she told her story, and so it just kind of brought it close to home. And just really hit people’s hearts,” said Stickel.

The goal for the Not4Sale Gala was to raise $100,000 that would go towards running a home for 10 girls for one year. Stickel said anyone in the community can join the cause and become an advocate by hosting bake sales or finding ways to bring awareness and raise money.

“We have a few different ways. One is to become an advocate. . . you can sign up on our site. And what it does is you have your own little profile that you can share with other people, and you bring in funds, and I guess you raise awareness in your own sphere of influence, and you bring in funds from there,” she said.

To donate to Not4Sale or become an advocate it is advised to visit https://not4sale.ca. Stickel said the fight against human trafficking takes everyone’s support.

“I think just knowing that it takes everybody whether you want to help hands on or help donate or help raise awareness in your own community.

We want to educate in schools, we want to educate different businesses have asked us to come in and just kind of educate on what to look for. And so, there’s a lot of different avenues that we want to go engage in this fight and it takes everybody.”

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how is human trafficking not a primary focus by at least the wealthiest nations on our planet? i suppose not near as much money to be made for all players as with the insidious and illegal war on drugs…and then, there is the issue of some very wealthy, “famous” and powerful folk that seem to be bought in to the nefarious “benefits” of human traffic.


human trafficking and sex trafficking are as much of a problem in our own back yard, perhaps some of the funds raised could go to build a home in LETHBRIDGE for survivors of human trafficking, to receive refuge, counselling, and supports.