By Amanda Preston
I attended an amazing event last night in Burlington organized by Defend Dignity to raise awareness and help bring an end to sexual exploitation in our country.
I had the pleasure of hearing Martin Dick speak of Halton Police. He was brought in to start the Halton Regional Police Human Trafficking Unit from inception in 2013 and was also responsible for the initial development of the Halton Anti Human Trafficking Collaborative.
Jennifer Richardson, Provincial Anti-Human Trafficking Director also spoke. Jennifer is a survivor herself of sexual exploitation and is very much engaged in seeing a drastic change in our country in regards to this ever-growing issue.
I also met Casandra Diamond who started Bridgenorth, a registered charitable organization based in York Region, Ontario which is a survivor-founded, survivor-led, charitable organization dedicated to seeing the end of sexual exploitation in Canada.
I learned more about what this organization does, which includes a prayer sponsorship network which enables individuals to "sponsor" specific girls through upholding them in prayer. I have joined this network and will receive monthly updates so that I am able to pray more specifically for the girl that I have chosen to sponsor named "Rose" (her name has been changed to protect her identity). There are many ways to support victims and survivors of sexual exploitation, with prayer being one of them.
Let's continue to bring awareness to this issue and educate people so they can know what might be happening close to them. And always remember to trust your gut! Take action! And if you see something, say something!