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Cause going across Canada
Young human trafficking activist Anna Demian has been urging young Canadians to speak up against social injustices at her high school, Walnut Grove Secondary.
Now the 15-year-old is taking her cause nationwide on the Ignite the Road to Justice Tour, hosted by Langley’s own Miss Canada 2011, Tara Teng.
Beginning Aug.15, Teng will launch her tour in Vancouver and travel to 10 major cities across Canada to bring awareness to the global issue of human trafficking.
With her team of abolitionists, including former madam Tania Fiolleau, and recording artist Kevin Boese, Teng will hold educational events in each community to empower Canadians to help end human trafficking.
“This is really a call to this global crisis that is going on,” Teng said.
“I think it is going to be a very,very powerful night.”
Demian is the youngest member of the group and says that it is important to show Canadians that young people have the power to make a difference.
“Youth can do something,” she said. “I am only 15 and I’m out there doing it. And I want people to see that we are not too young, we can make a difference. We can use our voices.”
She says there are many ways to fight the issue of human trafficking. People can donate to organizations, educate their peers, invite speakers to come to their schools and communities and write letters to their local MPs. These are all things she has done at Walnut Grove Secondary, and she encourages people all across Canada to do the same.
“I see beyond the statistics. I see that one girl sitting there. And I use all of my efforts and energies to help this one person.
“It’s for those people who don’t have voices. And I have a voice and I believe it is my responsibility to use it.”
As Teng points out, human trafficking is not just a major issue in developing countries. It’s right here in our own communities, too. She was shocked to discover one of her own neighbours had been trafficked, and is determined to put an end to the crime.
“We’re talking about a global emergency,” Teng said. “People are not commodities, and that’s the bottom line. People are not to be bought and sold.”
With her recent travels to Thailand and Cambodia, Teng says she has seen first hand impoverished towns with no daughters left in them. They have all been sold into human trafficking, and now she wants to share her stories with as many people as possible.
“It just has to be done,” she said. “It’s not easy to talk about, it’s not comfortable. It’s a long road ahead. But every day I see people stepping up. And that’s encouraging. This is a battle that has to be won, it has to.”
The Ignite the Road to Justice kickoff event starts at 7 p.m. on Aug. 15 at Coastal Church, 1160 West Georgia St. in Vancouver. The tour wraps up in Toronto on Sept. 4.
For more on the Ignite the Road to Justice Tour, visit ignitetheroadtojustice.com.