Causes We Support
Rebecca Bender's Story is Every Girl's Potential Story - Let's Help Stop Sex Trafficking
*Note: This page contains information that may be upsetting or disturbing to some readers.
SEX TRAFFICKING is the dirty little secret lurking in every city around the world that doesn't discriminate. Victims are often the girl next door, not just ones from marginalized areas. It could be your daughter, your niece or your granddaughter. It could be YOU. Every girl is potentially vulnerable. Sex trafficking is a lucrative industry making an estimated $99 billion a year (according to Equality Now Fact Sheet) and is the fastest growing crime industry so this alarming statistic on the sex trafficking economy is only appreciating. WHY? A drug deal is a one time event but you can sex traffick a victim and pimp her out multiple times a day, 7 days a week. Scroll to the bottom of this page to learn more about How a Predator Trolls New Victims, Warning Signs of a girl being trafficked and Hotline Service Number to call in for a suspected victim or for yourself.
ANGEL LOVE is putting a halo around this issue because it needs wings. We have to inform every girl and woman about sex trafficking. Often, sex trafficking victims don't even know they have been trafficked. Help us spread this message forward #withkindness.
We also need to educate boys and men that it's not ok to buy sex. Kindness begins within each and every one of us; it's innate and we have to tap into it. Being kind is the simplest act of human dignity. When you show kindness, you #crushcruelty.
Our halo spotlight has selected the 6 charities below because they each provide a critical service in closing the loop on sex trafficking.
HeartMob: young girls and women who are bullied are more vulnerable to being lured into sex trafficking. HeartMob stands up to cyberbullying.
THORN: technology enables sex traffickers. At Thorn, they build partnerships with tech companies, law enforcement and NGOs to build technology to defend children from sexual abuse.
Polaris: Polaris is named for the North Star which people held in slavery in the US used as a guide to navigate their way toward freedom. Serves victims and survivors through the 24/7 National Human Trafficking Hotline; building one of the largest public data sets on human trafficking in the US; enlisting law enforcement and private sector partners to support survivors, prevent and disrupt human trafficking at scale.
BOOST CYAC: Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre (CYAC) is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and violence through education and awareness, providing services to children, youth and families.
Covenant House: serves at-risk, homeless and trafficked youth. Covenant House Toronto changes lives by providing the widest range of services and support under one roof. A national leader, they educate and advocate for change to help at-risk, homeless and trafficked youth by influencing public policy and delivering prevention and awareness programs.
HART: HART is an acronym for Human Anti-Trafficking Response Team and is focused on providing survivors of sex trafficking in the Greater Toronto area with safe crisis housing and 24/7 emergency support.
When you purchase Angel Love products from The Shop, you pay it forward #withkindness and help stop sex trafficking.
HOW A PREDATOR TROLLS NEW VICTIMS According to Detective Sergeant Nunzio Tramontozzi, Head of the Toronto Polices Services Sex Trafficking Unit, it only takes 2-3 days for a girl to be trafficked. The most common places for predators to target their next victim is in schools, malls, amusement parks and on social media. So if you, your friend, your daughter or granddaughter has a huge following on instagram, you should strongly consider removing anyone who isn't in a known, trusted social circle (keep celebrities as long as DM isn't available).
Predators troll underage girls (preferably girls under the age of 16) on platforms like instagram by double tapping their posts, sending "I think you're really pretty" compliments, establishing communication trust and then asking to meet in person. They present themselves as friends or romantic partners who listen attentively to your hopes with promises to fulfill your dreams. They are extremely effective manipulators who will gift expensive presents, meals, transit and then expect you to pay for them later through sexual services. At that point, they take control of you by taking away your phone, by monitoring your every move, by housing you in isolation, by stealing your ID and by branding you with a tattoo to identify you as their property.
They also begin to move you to another city where abuse, forced drug use and crime, threats to shame you and punishment for non-compliance become the new normal. They make it difficult to escape. Afterall, pimps make, on average, $250,000 a year off every victim and have a stable of girls earning them millions of dollars in illicit funds annually.
But there is hope for rescue and reintegration to a new chapter in life. Police departments are now dedicating massive resources to getting ahead of this crime industry and shutting it down. In addition, there are a number of community support services and organizations focused on rescue, retraining and reintegration of victims.
WARNING SIGNS that someone may be a victim of sex trafficking:
- girls suddenly wearing designer clothes that are out of their financial reach
- branded tattoos on neck or wrists (most often), chest or arms
- reluctance to bring "boyfriend" home to meet the family
- secretive behaviour
- always with an escort
- poor physical health eg. malnourishment, bruises, signs of confinement
- not having control of their own money or cellphone
HOTLINE SERVICE NUMBER to call if you suspect someone is a victim or you are a victim of sex trafficking. In Canada, a major target country for sex traffickers, The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking is currently developing the infrastructure of its Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline, with a targeted launch in the Spring of 2019 (meantime, call the Police - 911 - and ask for their human trafficking unit).
The hotline will provide the following services:
- crisis response to people being trafficked
- referrals to social service providers and law enforcement (as requested)
- tip receipt and reporting
- general information provision
- tools and resources to build community responses to trafficking
The Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline will respond to all forms of human trafficking including both sex and labour trafficking. The hotline will provide assistance to and on behalf of minors, adults, males, females, transgender individuals, gender non-conforming individuals, citizens, permanent residents, and foreign nationals.
The hotline will use a victim-centered approach to connect human trafficking victims and survivors with emergency, transition, and long-term supports and services. The hotline will act as a central response and referral mechanism, offering 24/7, multilingual access to a safe and confidential space to ask for help, connect to services, and, report tips.
The hotline will also contribute to The Centre’s capacity to share knowledge, statistics, and resources with a wider public, including civil society, policy-makers, and law enforcement.
Collaborating with the anti-human trafficking and global hotline experts at Polaris in the United States, The Centre will adapt Polaris’ successful eradication-oriented model to the human trafficking circumstances in Canada:
- Responding to victims of trafficking effectively and immediately; and providing resources to survivors of trafficking and the public
- Equipping partners and civil society with the resources, data and knowledge needed to address and prevent trafficking
- Disrupting human trafficking networks through widespread, targeted campaigns
The hotline is developing partnerships with front-line service providers and law enforcement across the country. This ongoing outreach will establish the response protocols necessary for ensuring robust, immediate assistance to hotline callers. As well, the partnering outreach will contribute to a National Referral Directory of fellow anti-trafficking organizations which are skilled and equipped to provide social service support to callers.