Tuesday, July 28, 2015

ToT West: Unwrapping the Truth About Human Trafficking

by Alycia Rodrigues
St. Mary's Parish, Brampton, ON

At our most recent Theology on Tap West, we learned a great deal about the reality of human trafficking... the blinders came off and, consequently, many who were in attendance at the event were inspired to help better inform the public about this important issue, particularly at the upcoming Pan Am and Parapan Am Games in Toronto this summer through an initiative called GIFT Box. We were among those inspired to help and don't doubt that some of you will be, too.

Human trafficking is to be deceived or taken against your will, bought or sold and transported into exploitation; forced labour or sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, forced marriage, forced begging, or forced removal of organs. It is a growing problem around the world and, contrary to popular belief, that includes right here in Canada... in the GTA.

GIFT Box is an interfaith initiative, it is a walk-in piece of public art that looks like a large wrapped gift that is covered in the types of promises that are used to deceive victims of human trafficking. Inside, visitors are offered the opportunity to learn about the realities behind these promises that lure people into trafficking situations. The GIFT Box will be located at the corner of King and Church in downtown Toronto during the Games, on the grounds of St. James Anglican Cathedral.

Volunteers are needed to be at the box every day during the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. Led by a team captain, volunteers will talk to people who visit the box and answer questions, and hand out materials. Volunteers are required to attend ONE 3-hour training session which will equip them to handle common questions and to direct people to additional resources. Training sessions will be held at the Mary Ward Centre (70 St. Mary Street, Toronto) on June 18th from 1-4 p.m., on June 21st from 1-4 p.m., and on June 23rd from 6-9 p.m. Additionally, volunteers are asked to cover a minimum of 8 hours (which can be completed all at once or spread out over a few days).

We hope that you will consider offering some of your time, but if you can't, your prayers for the victims, traffickers, and activists are plenty! For more information and/or to register as a volunteer, please visit www.faithalliance.ca

Thanks to Faith Connections and the OCY for bringing this important cause to our attention. Together, we can #UnWrapTheTruth about human trafficking.