2017 Abolition FRONTPAGE vs BACKPAGE News

January is #HumanTraffickingAwarenessMonth and we want to celebrate the positive strides being done with efforts to #endhumantrafficking across the globe. With 2017 marking Canada's 150th birthday as a nation, we both mourn and rejoice with what has been, & what is...which ultimately pushes us forward to envision the future where 

Humanity is Renewed and Restored in Healthy Relationship.

As Hope Restored Canada is a relatively new voice in this abolition movement, we honor all those who work tirelessly across Canada to join this international injustice plague. Namely Hope for the Sold, Defend Dignity, Joy Smith Foundation, Deborah's Gate, Servants Anonymous, Canadian Women's Foundation, IJM among other notable national organizations serving alongside local groups fighting the good fight across this nation. As we've watched the globe awaken a bit with each passing year to this injustice, there seems to be a more unified effort and consensus with the interrelated exploitive practices that contribute to the full-fledged trafficking stories of oppression. Businesses like Backpage has highlighted that quite clearly for us all. (advertisements for Online "Dating", "Massage Parlours","Escorts", let alone their blatantly obvious Adult pages that wreaked of sex trafficking of both adults and children alike.)

Backpage has been widely known for years as the world's largest online brothel as tagged by the Polaris Project. They've made front page news with the notarious reports of the US government shutting down their online "Adult" section. Backpage cries "Censorship", but most of the sane world who call a spade a spade celebrates and cheers on authorities when policy makers, government officials, and police do all they can to protect the vulnerable and exploited as their first priority. The ripple effect continues through Canada. (To read about the growing debate Canada faces among our own police regarding sites like Backpage click on articles from Click here to read an article by the Canadian Press ). Whatever it takes for Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation to be eradicated, we join with trustworthy organizations such as Shared Hope InternationalA21,  Exodus Cry , Fight the New Drug and countless others who shed their light on this dark subject-breeding hope in a world where evil can and must be conquered and oppression lifted.

"This is a monumental time in history," says Rebecca Bender, a sex trafficking survivor and CEO of the Rebecca Bender Initiative. "What Backpage has done, by knowingly allowing online ads of children, is not a matter of censorship; it is an organized company using an online avenue to conduct criminal activity and finally that avenue has been brought to the light. Now we must fight, we must call our senators and attorney generals and rally for prosecution. The fight to hold companies accountable is just beginning."- Charisma Magazine Interview

Canada, it's time for that same conversation to turn up the volume in this nation. Grateful for the strides being made in the direction for hope, freedom and restoration for all, but truth be told, we have a long way to go.

The spotlight on the Backpage story reminds us how the internet is utilized far too often for evil purposes. We agree with Rebecca, that media and businesses must be held accountable for their contribution to human trafficking and sexual exploitation that contribute to over 27 million slaves today. At the same time, we can go out of our way to highlight those organizations and individuals who use medial(including movies, books, articles, online webinars, apps and other great technological advances) making strides to shed a powerfully effective light on a very dark topic using technology and the internet for good and not for evil. Our contribution? We are offering a 4 week introductory module this month (Sunday and Monday nights in person in Saskatoon and online beginning January 15th at 7pm).

 Click here to learn more! 

In our first pilot module, we will share our vision, our mission to eradicate sexual exploitation through our HOPE Model. As we engage our communities, we will continue to highlight excellent resources of thought provoking mediums including flims/ documentaries to stir the conscious of us all to act and engage in some way to #endhumantrafficking. Here's our top 7 picks that we'll make our FRONT PAGE news on our first blog for 2017 as we recommend a handful of films that educate, motivate and inspire.:

1. Red Light Green Light

Two Canadian filmmakers from Hope for the Sold traveled across ten countries to explore the issue, attempting to answer the question: “How can we prevent sexual exploitation before it happens in the first place?” Though governments are getting better at prosecuting traffickers and providing aftercare to victims, they believed it was time we begin to ask the question of what lies at the root. We recommend Red Light Green Light for all as we appreciated its non re-exploitive educational approach to many of the root causes which can be easily screened in schools, businesses, homes or faith establishments.

2. She Has a Name

She Has a Name is a sex trafficking story, based on a real event in 2008, when a locked abandoned storage container was found in Thailand, containing 121 workers from Burma, 54 of whom were dead. The global sex trade industry makes $40 billion a year selling women, children and men as much as 15 times a day for their bodies Of the two million people the UN reports are exploited in the commercial sex trade every year, less than 1% are rescued. This heartbreaking story and the shocking statistics inspired the filmmakers to create She Has a Name to bring awareness to the global issue and raise funding for three front line NGO's. Many of us at HRC had first seen She Has a Name as a stage play here in Canada and are thrilled it's expanding it's impact now through film!

3.Over 18

Hope for the Sold's goal in creating Over 18 as a feature-length documentary was primarily to combat pornography addiction among children and teens. Producer Jay Brock says "We think that adult websites should be mandated to install meaningful age verification systems so that no one under the age of 18 can access their highly addictive material. This new law would help protect our kids online and provide an easy and effective way for parents and caregivers to prevent their children from being exposed to pornography. " We  at HRC love how film can influence in such a practical time efficient way on the topic of sexual exploitation. One practical way this film is influencing is addressing Canada's laws as Motion 47 is passed in Canada to study the effects of porn on children. Click here to learn more.

4. Nefarious

Nefarious: Merchant of Souls is a hard-hitting documentary that exposes the disturbing trends of modern day sex slavery. From the first scene, Nefarious gives an in-depth look at the human trafficking industry, showing where slaves are sold (often in developed, affluent countries), where they work, and where they are confined. With footage shot in over nineteen different countries, Nefarious exposes the nightmare of sex slavery as experienced by hundreds of thousands daily, through the eyes of both the enslaved and their traffickers. Nefarious features expert analysis from international humanitarian leaders, and captures the gripping and triumphant testimonies (through a faith based Christian worldview) of survivors in order to galvanize hope and vision. We honour Exodus Cry's efforts to band together with all NGO's and service providers regardless of faith affiliation to set the captives free!

5. Hearts of Men

Although this film is a "Work in progress,", we felt it was notable to share. The Leadership at now "Unearthed" returned from a preliminary filming trip. Like most people who return from the front lines of injustice, battled intense discouragement and frustration because of the sheer enormity of the problem we saw…to the extent that we considered throwing in the towel and parting ways. What they saw that men were largely absent from the fight on sexual exploitation - and declared "how could a group of us walk away?" They decided to dig our heels in and stay. We slowed down, listened and researched how to best engage the men fueling the demand, because in this battle, when you get the men, you get everyone. Watch this trailer to get a glimpse of their work as they address the root of the problem of exploitation. We agree- both men and women are required to truly make a difference in this global epidemic.

6. Born Into Brothels

Documentary photographer Zana Briski journeyed into Calcutta's underworld to photograph the city's prostituted. In return, she offered to teach their children the basics of photography so that the kids could document their own lives on the streets of one of the world's poorest cities. The resulting photographs, often astonishing, were exhibited around the world; many of them are seen in this film, which won the Academy Award for best documentary feature in 2005. As Canadians, we are positioned to impact the globe so we at HRC affirm our unified efforts to combat human trafficking abroad as well as our own backyard. Education ultimately awakens the heart and our minds for action.


7.  Enslaved and Exploited

Part One of 5 in a series of this Free documentary: 'Enslaved and Exploited: The Story of Sex Trafficking in Canada'.  as an honest and brutal depiction of human trafficking that exists in Canada today. Produced by 'Hope for the Sold', the documentary studies the history of sex trafficking, its victims, and the financial disparity between countries like Canada and Cambodia which fuels the horror of international sex slavery today. Although there has been much changes in our Canadian laws since the filming of this  documentary, we appreciate it's grass roots work in 2012 to bring Canada to the platform through media and film to talk frankly how our own country too has many who are enslaved and exploited- we aren't all experiencing the "Glorious and Free" nation we at HRC honour and love. 

To learn more about Anti-Human Trafficking resources and stats in Canada, visit us at  www.hoperestoredcanada.org

To learn more about Anti-Human Trafficking resources and stats in Canada, visit us at www.hoperestoredcanada.org

Have you watched any or all of these films? We'd love to hear from you! Do you have a resource you'd like to recommend to us at Hope Restored Canada to pass on to others? Let us know! What are you wanting to see make "Front Page news" in 2017?