Freedom Gala: A Night to Combat Human Trafficking.

by British Columbia
Categories: Uncategorized

For the past seven years, influential members of the Vancouver community have gathered annually to the Hope in the City Luncheon. This Friday will mark the inaugural Freedom Gala, which evolved out of the expanded need to educate the community on this very important issue, and provide much-needed additional financial support for victims.

Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for the purpose of exploitation. Sex trafficking exists in highly-visible venues, such as street prostitution or strip clubs, as well as hidden systems such as closed brothels or child sex “tourism” operations commonly found in residential homes.

Many victims are Canadian. They are our daughters, sons, brothers and sisters. There are an estimated 27 million human slaves worldwide – 250,000 exist in North America. Eighty percent of the victims are teens and children, some are as young as 6.

It is a global epidemic and Canada has been identified as both a transit and a destination point for human trafficking. Specifically, Vancouver has been singled out by the U.S. State Department as a port of major concern. Currently
only 1-2% of victims are rescued.

Trafficking is a lucrative industry. It is second only to drug trafficking as the most profitable illegal industry in the world. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations estimates that the trade in human life generates global profits approaching $10 billion annually.

Proceeds from this event will help educate youth in BC high schools on the local risks and traffickers’ targeting strategies, as well as benefit Deborah’s Gate, a confidential safe house run by The Salvation Army serving international and domestic persons who have escaped human trafficking.