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Courage for Freedom
ProjectONroute Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign Announcement

Aylmer, ON - February 22nd, 2019 - 1030 AM - 6:00 am - Courage for Freedom a division of Farmtown Canada celebrates the launch of the first media screen awareness campaign to start July 1st and end July 30th on International Day to end slavery of persons. The media screen campaign encompasses all 20 locations across the Province (Onroutes serving 35 million annually, purporting More than 500,000 people travel these routes daily and they are among the busiest highways in North America) with over 2 million impressions.

With their focus on minor aged girls, teen, and young adult women who are victim/survivors of human sex trafficking, exploitation and sexual abuse or violence – Courage for Freedom approached Honourable Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek to discuss how the increasing number and trends in human trafficking of minor aged victims across the transportation corridor of 400 series highways affects girls, teens, their families, communities and agencies, health care providers, front line supports, police and ems services in Ontario.

As a result, a victim initiated human trafficking awareness campaign was developed on a little farm in Aylmer ON with the help of Business Professional Women Ontario, Catholic Women's League and Global Shapers just to name a few collaborators.

The campaign itself stretches from west to east and north to south, regardless of whether there is an ONroute in someone's town or city, someone from their town or city could be exploited and moved along through an ONroute. It is quite simple; everyone eats, needs gas and uses facilities.

We have been fortunate to work in communities where agencies such as LAWC. SW OPP, Ontario Police College, Crime Stoppers and Victims Services echo public outcry hoping to see more communities and persons aware and responding in support of victims in every hamlet and town along Highway 401, 400, QEW and 403 known as a trafficking corridor. (Canadian agencies confirm 66% of human trafficking victims report starting on the Ontario corridor)

Courage for Freedom (Kelly Franklin) partnered with Heather Ellis of Business Professional Women Ontario, Ashley Boyes of Global Shapers and Matt Sharpe of Tenth Floor Studios after listening to victims and giving them freedom to create positive awareness captions, video and ad campaigns to provide resources and phone numbers for Ontario communities. The victims wanted to portray images of them that would encourage the public's support and help, along with the reminder to people in our Province that buying sex is breaking the law.

Our hard work and experiences with agencies, families and victims (Courage for Freedom) has shown there is no community immunity. Although there are some trends and targeted populations, victims are now coming from all walks of life; with the majority of those (reportedly 72% 24 years of age and under 68% are 18 years of age and under -OPP 2016)

It was our duty to respond ensuring all 20 Onroute locations will show over 2 million screen impressions. The Save the date invitation is for the public (attached) to encourage people to prepare to celebrate for one hour on the last day July 30th 9:20am at ONroutes along the 401 400 series Highways rest stops.

We have asked our Minister of Transportation and MPP colleagues to attend personally with as many constituents as will join them. .

Courage for Freedom and partners believe we all have a responsibility to work to address what we know is a crisis and put our resources, energies and focus on prevention first- we are doing our part, and we need the public to do theirs.

Defined as the exploitation of people for profit through force, fraud or coercion, human trafficking has been identified by experts as a major problem in cities along the 401, where women and girls are forced, coerced and manipulated to work as prostitutes out of nearby hotels, homes and air b and b's...

ProjectONroute Coordinator Ashley Boyes is a Global Shaper, confident of reaching the projects major goals: reach girls at risk of being trafficked with positive imaged messaging to get help, warn those seeking to buy minors for sex that the community is serious about the consequences, educate the Province about how they can safely respond to Canada's prostitution laws being broken and lastly allow parents and travelers to use the media boards as conversation starters and public discussions about the warning signs of trafficking.

"We make it simple." Under the project, someone waiting in line at a food outlet in an ONroute sees an ad that provides hash tags, numbers and information to a victim, the public, a good samaritan and tourists. We are so fortunate to have the ONroutes as a positive location to put out the messaging too.

“We want these ads to show our communities the truth without glamorization, shame and objectification of girls and women who are victims of a crime. To show viewers where to look for more information, what to do and who to call with a response, opens up more dialogue opportunities creating less stigma in our communities when we are engaging in support and care.

The ads will also appear on Face book, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn and may be copied and used by the public to increase the impact of the campaign until year two. Ashley is hopeful that before the July 30th ONroute celebration there will be many agencies, front line workers, and people join the campaign by getting involved in social media. London-area chapter of Crime Stoppers has been quoted assaying "public awareness is the best weapon to fight trafficking." (London Free Press Jan 23/19) We are waiting on news of their approval to use their logo and phone number for this campaign and will be requesting the use of the provincial information also #knowhumantrafficking and their hot-line. We are NOT requesting either fund their participation.

At this Friday's soft launch of the project, we are asking everyone and anyone to send a copy of the save the date invitation through media screens, texts and emails to politicians, community and our family and friends. Funded completely by individuals and organizations without requests to the federal and provincial and municipal governments, Courage for Freedom Director and Board have renewed their commitments to work with victims, their families and agencies and partner police services until change is the outcome along our Highways and in community, believing this is achievable.

Past meetings and communication with Ontario Labour Minister Laurie Scott, who was an opposition MPP tabled a private member's bill targeting human trafficking will continue to be necessary to help raise awareness about the great value of the campaign to the province. We are grateful for the work London West New Democrat MPP Peggy Sattler has done also and applaud and welcome any and all MPP colleagues who join this project along with media and media outlets also. Word or mouth, media and news will ensure invitations are prioritized and answered!

Postcard invitations are available to e-send or print and put up in offices, public places, forward to your colleagues, friends and family and rsvp. For further information, please go to courageforfreedom.org

The new media pages will be operational post launch.

We are asking the public to take a selfie with a #ProjectONroute sign to show support and build awareness between now and July 1st to post to our social media.

ABOUT US

Courage for Freedom is a directive of a registered charity with CRA and has been active and vital in their community since 2007, now serving girls, teens, young adult women and their families in need of client centered support referrals and resources. Specific to Farmtown Canada's programming and modality has been the use of Horses in areas of PTSD Trauma and more. (Recent reports provided Ontario stats stating the engagement in South Western Ontario is 66% 18 and under with the average age being 13). To learn about their talks, training and certifications on human trafficking interests, work, partnerships and focus please contact their Director kelly@courageforfreedom.org personally.


Last Updated: Friday, 22 February 2019 08:23:07 AM EST

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