St. Michael’s CWL takes action to raise awareness and bring hope to trafficking survivors.
With the growing concern of human trafficking occurring in Calgary and across Canada, the Catholic Women’s League at St. Michael Catholic Community wanted to take action.
Inspired by a successful group in Florida, they have created a program to assist human trafficking survivors by providing them with backpacks and by raising awareness about this important topic.
In December 2019, St. Michael’s CWL was able to launch a trial run of 12 backpacks, with the support of the following councils in Calgary: Holy Name, Holy Spirit, St. Peter’s, St. Bonaventure, and St. Albert the Great.
Each backpack contained personal care products and a change of clothing for local survivors of human trafficking. A personal note and a bracelet were also enclosed, with a matching bracelet being given to a prayer warrior to keep the recipient close to their hearts in prayer.
The backpacks will be distributed by the Calgary Police Service and RESET Society of Calgary. It is estimated that when the full project is launched, 100-200 backpacks per year will be supplied in Calgary alone.
The hope is that the backpacks will not only provide the immediate need of basic supplies, but also have the longer-term effect of providing confidence to young women to break free from the cycle of exploitation and to trust the police and social workers who are there to assist them.
In addition to backpacks, the program will also raise awareness about how rampant this crime actually is. It is one of the fastest-growing crimes in Canada, affecting people from all walks of life, not just those from marginalized areas. It is one of the most lucrative of criminal activities, with traffickers profiting up to $600,000 per victim, per year.
If you would like to learn more about this important initiative, please attend the launch event at St. Michael Catholic Community on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, at 1 p.m. At this event, you will hear from experts about human trafficking and can learn more about this program and ways you can get involved.