Goal: To increase public awareness of this issue specifically as it relates to girls under the age of 18.
BPW alliance with Courage for Freedom began at the 2018 BPW Ontario Conference when the organization was introduced to BPW London member Kelly Franklin, Executive Director of Farmtown Canada and Courage for Freedom. From that point, began the work of setting up the Ontario-wide sex trafficking awareness campaign, Project ONroute. Heather Ellis, BPW Ontario First Vice-President and Resolutions/By-Laws Chair, was appointed a Project Chair.
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.
Project Maple Leaf, 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
Project Maple Leaf 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 Ontario and 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)