HUMAN SEX TRAFFICKING
Our League members continue to learn about the impact of human sex trafficking, strengthening our commitment to increase awareness and make an impact to reduce the prevalence of human sex trafficking in our community.
Human sex trafficking is a form of modern slavery and is affecting the Greater Toronto area. Vulnerable people are being lured by sex traffickers across the GTA in schools, malls and even libraries. Unfortunately, many Canadians are still not well informed about the facts related to HST. Therefore, one of the best ways to combat HST is to increase awareness of the issue. The League has made it a priority to learn about the impact of Human Sex Trafficking, strengthening our commitment to increase awareness and make an impact to abolish this issue.
Our strategy is to build relations with Community Partners who make a difference for victims of HST which will provide opportunities for our members to be get involved and learn from real life experiences.
One example of this has been working in partnership with Springboard Services, a charitable organization serving at risk and vulnerable youth and adults, over the past 4 years to support our “Got Your Back” annual event. Every year, we assemble “survival backpacks” filled with basic personal and hygiene essentials that survivors desperately need. Traffickers typically take all their victims’ personal possessions, ID, bankcards, cell phones etc. leaving victims vulnerable and making it difficult to escape their traffickers, and once they do escape, victims have nothing to call their own. These backpacks are then donated to Springboard Services, who distribute them to survivors and other non-profit organizations who provide services to survivors of human sex trafficking.
We are also an associate member of the Toronto Counter Human Trafficking Network, which includes various organizations with a focus on HST prevention and survivor support services in the Toronto area. This network enables us to keep abreast of events, political actions, and educational information in the GTA. Many members have also uploaded the TraffickCam app on their phones so they can help by taking photos of hotel rooms that are stored and used by police. If you haven’t done so, you can find it in the Apple App store or use this link http://www.exchangeinitiative.com/traffickcam/ .
We will continue to expand our member and community knowledge base through speaker series, information sharing and volunteer opportunities.
Gifts of Light at CAMH Partnership
The JLT has partnered with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues. The Early Psychosis Unit (EPU) is an 18-bed inpatient unit dedicated to the care, treatment, and support of young people who are experiencing a first episode of psychosis. The unit assists the clients and their families with the initial period of recovery and adjustment.
The JLT has partnered with the Gifts of Light program at CAMH to provide evening programming via a series of cultural experiences, events, and classes aimed at building self-esteem for the youth in the CAMH Early Psychosis Unit. The JLT has also donated yoga equipment and art materials for the clients to use both in the programmes and outside of programme hours. In addition to this programming, the Junior League of Toronto members participate in community wide CAMH and Gifts of Light events, in particular the Summer BBQ, Mega Art Nights, and Holiday Card and Gift Wrapping events.
DONE-IN-A-DAY EVENTS (Single-Day Volunteer Opportunities)
Throughout the year, the Community & Outreach Team provides members and their friends and family with frequent opportunities to volunteer in the community. These opportunities have in the past included helping youth with autism celebrate the holidays, working a water station at the Toronto marathon, running job readiness and career training programs, volunteering at an inner city youth campground, helping disadvantaged young women find a prom dress and cooking meals for homeless youth.