THE INVISIBLE CHAINS OF SLAVERY IN CANADA
Looking at the young man at the front desk I said proudly "I used to live here!"
He grinned at me with surprise and I looked at him with joy.
My son and I were standing in the reception area of Covenant House in Toronto.
We were there to take a tour of the building that used to be Willard Hall when the earth was green and I was a young teen.
Indeed I was as homeless then as some of these young people are today that live in the same house. What was once my home is now his and we looked at each other over a great gap of time for a moment sharing a bond. I loved it that he stood there in the same place of refuge that was mine when I was sixteen years old.
As my son and I took the tour of the building the thing that stirred my heart the most was the work that Covenant House is doing to provide refuge for young women who have been caught up in to the modern day slavery of Canada.
Sex trafficking in Canada is the growing industry right across our country generating 32 billion dollars a year. It generates more money than drugs or guns. Globally the revenue is estimated 150 billions dollars. The bulk of the kids are Canadian citizens. Our children, trafficked all across the provinces.
A huge percentage of these kids in Canada have aged out of the Child Welfare System in Canada. Children of trauma and abuse are the targets of predators. They lure them in outside of shelters and online promising them love. They are the fathers these kids are looking for. They come from all across Canada in our cities and towns.
Recently the York Region police arrested 104 men in "Project Raphael". The age of the "girls" they were responding to were as young as 15 years old. In actuality some of the girls are as young as 12. Men that target these children are actually pedophiles. It is the invisible chains around us.
The ugly world of human trafficking destroys lives and the children that are caught in it experience significant trauma and some of these lives are lost completely.
The staggering statistics of missing and exploited children are the proof of that.
This is the underbelly of this nation.
I am glad that Covenant House is doing this campaign and some of our churches are doing the same.
We have a message of freedom.
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me
For the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the poor
He has sent me to comfort the broken hearted
And to proclaim freedom for the captives
And release from darkness and open up the prison for those who are bound."
"Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!"