Langley Youth Unlimited and Tara Teng, Miss Canada 2011, are hosting Wake Up: A Night Against Exploitation on Thursday, Jan. 19, to inform and equip local leaders to make Langley a sexual exploitation-free zone.
The event starts at 6:30 p.m. at Langley Township Hall. It will feature a screening of the Canadian documentary Enslaved and Exploited: The Story of Sex Trafficking in Canada. This will be followed by a panel discussion hosted by both Langley mayors to discuss specific steps the community can take to end sexual exploitation.
Organizers Teng, Danny Ferguson and Todd Hauptman intend for the event to not only give leaders knowledge about human trafficking in Canada, but also provide specific action steps they can take.
“Langley is perfectly positioned to be a national leader in the fight against human trafficking,” says Teng. “We need to come together and create a community model that has everyone involved and working to prevent our youth from being lured into situations of exploitation, both locally and globally.”
The organizers would like to see every community stakeholder at the event so that, together, Langley can be part of the solution to end exploitation in Canada.
“The young people in our community are at risk of being recruited into the sex trade,” says Langley Youth Unlimited director Danny Ferguson. “In the seven years I’ve been a youth worker in this community, I have seen it happen. In my opinion, even one kid from Langley becoming a slave is too many,” Ferguson said.
Teng agrees, “If we think that we are far removed from situations of modern day slavery, then we are mistaken. Last year, victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation were found in communities all across the Lower Mainland, as well as youth in our own community being recruited. Let’s take a stand against this crime and be a role model for the rest of Canada.”
Teng, Ferguson and Hauptman believe that Wake Up: A Night Against Exploitation is a chance for Langley residents to get informed, get equipped with knowledge and then respond.
“Together we can make a difference,” Teng concludes.