Saturday, November 25th signals the start of the United Nations 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. It begins on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and ends on Sunday, December 10th International Human Rights Day.

This year’s theme, “Leave no one behind: end violence against women and girls,” reinforces the UNiTE Campaign’s commitment to a world free from violence for all women and girls around the world, starting with the most underserved and marginalized.

Supporters of the UNiTE campaign will dress in ORANGE while buildings and significant structures around the world will be lit up ORANGE every night to symbolize a brighter future that doesn’t include violence.

This year, The Women’s Centre of Halton (TWCH) is once again partnering with Grandmothers Advocacy Network (GRAN) for an evening of film and discussion focusing on Sex Trafficking – Change Starts With You . . .

The three short films will set the stage for the discussion. Catcalling focuses on street harassment and highlights the vulnerability of women in public spaces. Unfortunately, this all too common form of sexual violence is often considered just a normal part of life.

Stop Sex trafficking in Ontario with Covenant House exposes the truth that sex trafficking is happening right here at home and could even be the girl next door.

I Survived Human Trafficking in Johannesburg explores sex trafficking from a global perspective and reminds us that what affects one of us affects all of us.

According to Martha Barragan, Executive Director of TWCH, “We are tying in both worlds. Highlighting the theme of UNiTE and coming together as a sisterhood to end all forms of violence. The goal is to raise awareness while creating a safe space for folks to engage in some heavy discussions on otherwise taboo topics.”

To that end, Alma Aguello, Executive Director of SAVIS, will explain the history and prevalence of sex trafficking in our community and share some of the work that her agency is doing. Constable Joy Brown, Halton Regional Police, will discuss the current situation in Canada and the role of law enforcement.

TWCH is considered a secondary support for women who have been trafficked. Women referred by partner agencies receive immediate self-care resources as well as advocacy navigating various systems. TWCH also offers crisis counselling, danger and risk assessments, along with safety planning. TWCH currently sits on the Sexual Assault Advisory Committee to Halton Regional Police.

GRAN’s priorities include supporting African grandmothers caring for their orphaned grandchildren by ensuring access to affordable medicines, improving access to education, and ending violence against women and girls. GRAN recognizes sex trafficking in Africa is an enormous problem and acknowledges that marginalized grandchildren are at greater risk of being trafficked.

As Barragan observes, “The UNiTE campaign is so important because we don’t just want to focus on our own issues, but rather the global sisterhood and what women centres are doing all around the world to promote this unity.

As Canadian feminist Rosemary Brown so wisely said, “Until all of us have made it, none of us have made it.” That’s why we can leave no one behind.

The Women’s Centre of Halton presents:

An Evening of Short Film and Discussion

Thursday, November 30 — 7 to 9 pm.

The Meeting House

2700 Bristol Circle, Oakville L6H 6E1

Tickets available on Eventbrite or The Women’s Centre of Halton 905-847-5520


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