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Report on Human Trafficking and Various Projects in Newfoundland

September 23, 2016

Hello to everyone from Newfoundland. The past couple of months have been very busy in the area of human trafficking and various projects.

1. I attended a two-part webinar series on "identifying and assessing human trafficking: a national tool". It was sponsored by the Canadian Council for Refugees. This is a national non-profit umbrella organization committed to the rights and protection of refugees. The webinar was very informative. It addressed the issue of an assessment tool to guide conversations with potentially trafficked persons in order to better serve the. The tool is very comprehensive. I will forward the e mail address where you can access the document.

2. I attended a panel on Sexual Violence and the Justice System. The purpose of the panel was to examine the role of the justice system and its impact on survivors of sexual violence.It addressed the issue of how involvement in the legal system can be very traumatic for many survivors of sexual violence, who often report feeling blamed for their actions and re-victimized through the court process. There was a need expressed for judges to be well educated in the area of sexual violence. This request came after a judge in Canada told a woman involved in an incident of sexual violence that it would not have happened if she had kept her legs closed. One could easily see the need for more sensitivity and education around sexual violence and the justice system.

3. Dozens of women marched through the streets of St. John's on Friday, the 16th of September in the annual Take Back the Night March. This event was to raise awareness of violence against women. Organizers said about half of the women in Newfoundland and Labrador will be victims of some form of violence in their lifetime. Participants held up signs and chanted as they walked along. When the women arrived at City Hall, marchers were greeted by applause from about two dozen men. Barbie Wadman who helped organize the event commented that it was a beautiful experience to to see the men. She said the fact that men welcomed marchers made the night extra special.

3. Our Newfoundland and Labrador Coalition Against Human Trafficking has formed a new sub-committee: The Coalition's Education Sub-Committee of which I am a member. This committee will take a leading role in doing the "who, what, when, and where" of all activities for the year.

4. A protest march with a provocative name that aims to put an end to "rape culture" will take place in Newfoundland and Labrador. The event is entitled "Slut Walk". The walk challenges the notion that what a woman wears makes her responsible for sexual assault. The walks began in 2011. They were sparked by a comment that if women were dressed more appropriately and didn't dress like sluts, they would not be victims of sexual assault. Jenny Wright, one of the organizers, says recent events like the Jian Ghomeshi scandal emphasis the need for a slut walk. We need to look at our infected language, especially the word slut, denigrates women and denigrates their sexuality.Perhaps we can't change the word, Jenny says, but we can take the power out of it.

5. BIG NEWS. Denise is coming to Newfoundland. We are so looking forward to her visit and promise beautiful fall weather.

Messages to: Margie Taylor rsm