At my oncologist appointment yesterday, I found out that I'll be starting my chemotherapy tomorrow, February 2nd. When she told me that a date was set, my stomach did a flip. I have been waiting in heightened anticipation since mid December for this time, but I felt like a part of me was living in denial that it would ever actually happen. Well, it's happening. I get hooked up to my pump tomorrow and will have a little "pump baby" to carry around for 46 hours. I'll have to give it a name. Let me know if you have any suggestions.
I went to Lifewomen this morning at Relate Church in Surrey because I knew that is a place where I can always go to be supported and lifted up by a great group of ladies. The guest speaker today was no other than Miss Canada 2011, Tara Teng. She has a fire burning inside to lend her voice to the eradication of modern day slavery, to freeing the victims of the sex trade. She stands for the abolishment of the trafficking of humans, not only around the world, but here in our own backyard. Many people do not know that human trafficking happens in Canada. The Lower Mainland is one of the worst places in Canada for the entrapment of young people, girls predominantly. We are not talking about young women in their 20's, but GIRLS. The average age is 12-14 years old. We all have connections with people who have children of this age. Can you imagine your own daughter, niece, sister, grand daughter, or even your friend's daughter being ensnared in that world? Her voice taken away for fear of death or harm to her loved ones? What would you do? What can you do? It's not like we're all special agent's like Liam Neeson's character in "Taken". We can't march in there, efficiently kill each bad guy with a swift chop to the neck, or knee, or groin. As much as some of us may fantasize doing that, it just isn't reality.
My business partner and friend, Katherine, and I thought that we were going to do a comedic film this year for the 168 Project film festival. When we started praying about it, we felt led to bring awareness to child exploitation, sexual abuse, and trafficking. We decided to do something about it. We decided to make a film that would get people interested in learning about the subject. We want to join the movement and show people what they can do. We want to set up an educational program in the school systems to teach children and teens. We want to use this short film to gain funds for a feature film that would be used to further teach people how they can help. We should not be standing for this. We should not be resting until slavery is gone from this world. This is 2012. Why does this still exist? Why are we allowing it to exist? Why are we not so angry and outraged at the thought of what happens to these children that we can't help but use every ounce of our being to join the fight?
The term "human trafficking" has been tossed around in our society as a catch phrase. You may think, "This is just a trend. I'm not jumping on the bandwagon only to have it crash and burn in a year". This is not the case. This issue is being fought at the governmental level by advocates such as MP Joy Smith ( www.joysmith.ca ). Miss Canada, Tara Teng, has deemed this an important enough issue that she has dedicated most of the past few years of her life to bringing awareness to the cause. She travels the world visiting places that are most touched by the sex trade, visiting victims and survivors, bringing hope. She has the platform to do that and, personally, I'm glad that she was chosen as Miss Canada so that she could bring awareness to this issue. I have been finding it so frustrating over the past six months as we've tried to raise funds for our film and awareness to the cause. It has seemed like no one was listening; like no one cared. I asked a 17 year old friend of mine if she had ever been educated in any way on human trafficking and she replied, "No". This scares me! Why are we not educating our youth? Why are we not giving them the warning signs to watch out for? I realize that this topic can be very touchy and most people, especially if you have a little girl, don't even want to think about it. I get that. I have a little girl. But, I've decided to do something about it.
I'm tired of being a spectator. If being diagnosed with cancer has done anything for me, it has helped me realize that we really don't have much time on this planet and we need to make the most of the time we do have. I am not going to sit here and wallow in self pity. I choose to take the energy that I do have and commit it to helping others in this world who are suffering. They aren't suffering in the same way as someone with cancer, but there suffering is no less important, no less painful, and no less life threatening. There are probably hundreds of cancer groups in this world who raise millions of dollars every year for research. What if we could give money and support like that to organizations taking on human trafficking? What kind of a difference could we make? According to the World Health Organization, in 2000 there were approximately 10 million cases of cancer (with tumours) in the world (6.2 million died). The global estimate on slavery is 27 million. That needs to be repeated. 27 MILLION. That is very close to the entire population of Canada. I ask again, why are we tolerating this trade that is based in lust and greed? HOW can we tolerated it?
I can't, which is why I'm doing something about it. For the future, for my daughter, for all the daughters out there that have been taken and groomed for the purpose of sexual exploitation. As I start my chemo tomorrow, I will be thinking of all those 27 million people out there who have it much worse than me. Who have no voice. I will use any platform that I can climb onto to cry out for these people. I am ready for the fight. Will you join me?
I challenge you to find a cause that you want to support and do just that, in whatever way you can, be it financially, or vocally, or by doing research and passing around information to educate.
We are still raising funds for our short film "Coerced". Go to www.coercedfilm.com to find out more or to donate.
Please check out some of these websites:
See how many slaves you have working for you by doing the survey at Slavery Footprint .