Hopeless to Hope Filled

 Sheila Poorman shares her story of the tragedy of being sexually exploited and trafficked in Saskatchewan. Her childhood was robbed of innocence and tossed back and forth from foster care homes where abuse of various forms followed her. She shares candidly of the stages of exploitation experienced as a young woman. Her story is not unique. In Canada, there is an overrepresentation of Indigenous women and girls who are trafficked and sexually exploited.

Did you know that the average age of entry into prostitution in Canada is 13 years old?

Once broken and extremely vulnerable, women and girls are prostituted through various streams. The "johns" and pimps prey on the vulnerabilities of others. One of those vulnerabilities includes the sad reality of childhood sexual abuse. Studies confirm that a high percentage of sexually exploited/trafficked victims had been sexually abused as a child. This evil travesty affects children of all races and demographics. More often than not- the perpetrators are authority figures or family members. The shame, fear, and trauma experienced through sexual abuse more often than not predispositions victims to be preyed on for further damage to one's true identity. In order to address human trafficking and sexual exploitation, we must go to the root of the issue.  This includes various "Push-Pull Factors"* which may be present in trafficked victims in Canada or those trafficked globally which include:

  • ‘Push’ factors include (but are not limited to): extreme poverty, unemployment, lack of education, inadequate social programs, gender-based inequality, corruption, social and cultural practices which includes racism and violence, and in some countries war- conflict situations and political unrest.

    ●‘Pull’ factors include the perceived financial rewards of cheap, exploitative labor practices in some economic sectors. Victims may also be 'pulled' into trafficking through the promise of money and what is portrayed as or believed to be a better life.

To learn more, visit us at www.hoperestoredcanada.org Click "learn more", attend an event or download our Introductory Training Module.*

Educating on the topic of sexual exploitation includes restorative justice for both the victim and the perpetrator. Restoration is required for both trafficked victims and addressing the demand.

Something in me I know, I have to do it. (Speaking out). These men need to know the effects of what they do is wrong and there is an impact on these women’s lives.

Restoration is a journey. Hope can be restored for trafficked victims when they find holistic restoration, true purpose, and meaning for their lives.  Join us in dreaming of a new reality for all those trapped in the heinous cycle of exploitation.  Sheila is a beautiful example of a survivor leader finding personal restoration and passionate to bring hope and restoration to others. The journey is still difficult, but one that is faced with hope for the future.