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Justice Summit Recap

justice_summit_poster"Being Willing" was what the speakers at the Justice Summit spoke about. They each explained their story of getting involved in the fight against human trafficking, of not being exceptional but being willing to do what needs to be done. That was the challenge for each of the 400 attendees at the Summit & for each person they go and share the day's events with – are you willing to stop talking about statistic and start changing them?

Human Trafficking: A criminal activity in which people are recruited, harboured, transported, bought, or kidnapped to serve an exploitative purpose, such as sexual slavery, forced labor, or child soldiery.

Over 27million people in our world hold this title over their heads everyday & more than half of them are children. When they wake up in the morning their day does not belong to them, when the sun sets they don't decide what to do with their evening, they don't decide what to eat, what to wear, what toy to play with, where to sleep or often who to sleep with. They have no freedom, they make no decisions.

Saturday at the MET Church was a day to educate, inform & come together to fight for freedom for the 27million. The morning began with 3 incredibly well informed & experienced speakers. MP Joy Smith spoke about the laws in Canada surrounding human trafficking and her Private member's Bill, C – 310 An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Trafficking in Persons). Mrs. Smith shared with the audience her experience of being a teacher and witnessing a man befriending kids in the school with the purpose of exploiting them to watching her son change after he began working as a police officer in the integrated child exploitation unit.

Brian McConaghy took the stage next. A humble, intelligent and well-versed man, he is the founding director of Ratanak International and was a Forensic Scientist with the RCMP for 22 years. Brian's burden and love for the people of Cambodia is evident with the words he shared. Cambodia is a different playing field when it comes to trafficking. In most countries girls are trafficked starting around the age of 12. In Cambodia girls start at the age of 5!! It breaks your heart to see pictures of these sweet little dolls being sold for sex. The stories Brian shared were difficult and there was definitely not a dry eye in the room. However there are many successes in Brian's talk & he left the room feeling hopeful. The laws against slavery our on our side [this was not the case when William Wilberforce abolished the slave trade 200 years ago], we have technology to connect and inform mass amounts of people in seconds [can you imagine sending letters by horse to schedule a meeting] and we have JESUS [this was the case when William Wilberforce abolished the slave trade!].

Thirdly we heard from Rev. Jamie McIntosh. Jamie is the Founder and Executive Director of International Justice Mission Canada. Jamie's goal was to bridge the gap from our comfort here to the horrors there. Giving a voice to the defenseless, those sold and bought for sex and labour around the world. IJM seeks to make public justice systems work for victims of abuse and oppression who urgently need the protection of the law. Jamie spoke about his work overseas helping to provide assistance in securing the release of families from bonded slavery to participating in investigative operations leading to the rescue of forced child prostitutes. He even showed us footage he had taken with an undercover camera inside a brothel in Asia – tough to swallow. If you ever get the chance to hear Jamie speak, do it! His heart is for justice is beautiful and he lights up when he speaks about being able to play a part in rescuing the exploited. A few things I loved that Jamie said: "When the good do nothing, slavery taunts";  "When the good do something, slavery trembles and slaves are set free"; "We can be observers or we can drop everything and rush in";  "Let my heart be broken for the things that break Your heart".

The afternoon was a choice of 2 out of 5 different workshops: Victim Care; Prostitution, Slavery and the Church hosted by Julia Beazley and Don Hutchinson from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC); Men Against Sexual Trafficking hosted by Stan Burditt founder of MAST; Effective Activism hosted by Shae Invidiate founder of [free-them]; Escaping Exploitation, a Testimony with Jasmine, a survivor of human trafficking and a Public Advocate for Sextrade101. The workshops were geared to help people take action against human trafficking. In the morning you sat, listened and learned. In the afternoon you found out what part you can play in the fight.

The day was a great success and I kept being reminded of the lyrics from Hillsong United's song, You'll Come: "chains be broken lives be healed". I believe chains were broken on Saturday and lives were healed and have continued to be so ever since.

Isaiah 59:15-16
Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm achieved salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him.


Rev. Jamie McIntosh from IJM with volunteers at the Justice Summit.


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