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#ProjectMapleLeaf is a national human trafficking awareness campaign, lead by Courage for Freedom and co-lead by BPW Canada, to increase public awareness of this issue specifically as it relates to girls under the age of 18.
The #ProjectMapleLeaf human trafficking of minor-aged victims awareness campaign follows the successful historic and non-government funded #ProjectONroute campaign run by Courage for Freedom, BPW Ontario, and Global Community Shapers, Toronto Chapter.
The goals of the #ProjectMapleLeaf campaign include
- making Canadians (including our government) aware of this heinous crime;
- starting the discussion needed to make this happen; and
- provide BPW Canada clubs with a campaign which they can share with their communities.
- February 22, 2020: soft launch of #ProjectMapleLeaf and Canada’s Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
- From February 22 - July 30 BPW Canada members and other Canadians are encouraged to email all politicians (MPs, Senators, MLAs, MPPs, mayors) in each province and territory inviting them to participate in #ProjectMapleLeaf.
- How else can you participate?
- Download and print the #ProjectMapleLeaf sign. Take the printed sign to business meetings, meetings with government officials, community events and activities and have photos taken of individuals and groups holding the sign. Share on social media with the #projectmapleleaf and #canadabpw hashtags and request your contacts to share on their social media.
- Encourage your contacts to "join the campaign" to grow the movement.
- July 1, 2020: Official launch date of the campaign at Tim Hortons across Canada.
#ProjectMapleLeaf has secured a historic number of ads that are 45 seconds in length to run on screens, at approximately 7000 screens in 2500+ locations in each province and territory for the month of July ending on July 30th, the Campaign Celebration/Finale Day. These ads have been created by minor-aged survivors.
- July 30, 2020: Campaign Finale/Celebration Day and the UN’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.
Canadians will gather at designated coffee shop locations at 9:20 a.m. (this information will be available closer to the date) within their communities to celebrate #ProjectMapleLeaf and to message their desire to eradicate the buying and selling of girls and boys in Canada.
Click here to sign-up to be the first to know about dates, activities, media and more to eradicate the buying and selling of children in Canada.
The awareness campaign engaged Ontarians using the 400 series highway ONroute Service Centres by providing over 2 million media awareness impressions (video below) at all 20 Centres across Ontario during the month of July 2019.
#ProjectMapleLeaf, a Canada-wide Sex Trafficking Awareness Campaign, was unveiled at the July 30, 2019 Project ONroute campaign finale. Photo Gallery
Press Release, Courage for Freedom/Farmtown Canada, July 30, 2019: #ProjectONroute transforms into #ProjectMapleLeaf
#ProjectMapleLeaf aims to bring awareness to end human trafficking in Canada. The media awareness initiative is part of Courage for Freedom's community education strategy with cooperation, support and encouragement from numerous police services, first responders, victim support groups, community and political leaders, chambers of commerce, businesses, healthcare providers, women’s groups (including BPW Canada), civic groups, community services and more.
Our hope that by raising awareness we directly help trafficked individuals by Canadians reporting potential criminal activity. We hope this potentially increased reporting will lead to arrests of traffickers. We also hope that by raising awareness, young women and their families will become more cautious and send a message to traffickers that Canadians will not tolerate this immoral criminal behaviour.
On February 22, 2007, the Canadian House of Commons passed a motion condemning the trafficking of women and children across international borders for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
The House of Commons proclaimed February 22 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day to help bring awareness to the magnitude of modern-day slavery in Canada and abroad and encourage Canadians to take steps to combat human trafficking.
"That the Standing Committee on Health be instructed to examine the public health effects of the ease of access and viewing of online violent and degrading sexually explicit material on children, women and men, recognizing and respecting the provincial and territorial jurisdictions in this regard, and that the said Committee report its findings to the House no later than July 2017".
Human Trafficking in persons is an issue that BPW Canada has been addressing since convention 2000. A resolution was passed in the Sault Ste. Marie Convention after it came to BPW Canada members' attention that young girls were being smuggled into Canada from Mexico, Thailand, India and the Philippines and other countries illegally, and were being held as sex slaves. Canadian laws prohibited the sexual procurement of children in Canada and in other countries in the world but these laws were not being enforced. Read the 2000 resolution
At the United Nations at the Committee meetings on the Status of Women in 2005, there were parallel workshops addressing the expansion of human trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls around the world.
World Cup Soccer in 2006
BPW became aware that Germany was setting up a football-size area where players and fans could have sex with prostitutes without being exposed to the public. It was anticipated that women would be trafficked across Asia and Europe to fill the need. BPW Clubs started writing letters and signing petitions, along with an extensive prevention campaign by immigration and law enforcement. In the end, during the World Cup, Germany experienced a short-term increase in demand for prostitution, but instead, local prostitutes from elsewhere in the country were drawn in to host cities. The next year, at the Athens Olympics, prevention efforts were poor. Researchers found that there was a 95% increase in human trafficked victims during the Olympics.
A further resolution, Combatting Human Trafficking in Canada, was presented and approved at the convention in 2010 urging the Government to provide services to assist victims in Canada. Read the 2010 resolution.
Certificate of Appreciation - July 2012
In 2013, BPW Canada developed the resolution: Identification of Businesses and Individuals With a Risk of Sexual Exploitation to Combat Human Trafficking. Read the 2013 resolution
Learning Report, September 2012
- The RCMP established the Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre (HTNCC) at RCMP Headquarters in Ottawa.
- The Centre provides a focal point for law enforcement in their efforts to combat and disrupt individuals and criminal organizations involved in Human Trafficking activities.
Books on Human Trafficking
- Malarek, Victor, The Natashas: Inside the New Global Sex Trade (Penguin Group Canada, 2003)
- Malarek, Victor, The Johns: Sex for Sale and the Men Who Buy It (Key Porter Books Ltd., 2009)
- Batstone, Davie, Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and how we can fight it. (2008)