My last interview is with Jenn Raison from The Walk here in Calgary. They have a unique and personal way of not only reaching out, but also connecting with those in sex trafficking in Calgary. Keep reading to find out more…
Tell us a little bit about what your organization does…
We seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus on the streets because we believe everyone deserves to be free. As we walk the streets and go into massage parlours, we bring the hope of Christ through actions and words, desiring that each person we encounter would know their true value and worth.
How long has your organization been around?
Since July 2012.
What is your main goal/mission?
The Walk is an organization that seeks to build relationships with those who are trapped in or have elected to work in the sex industry.
Who or what first inspired/convicted you to begin this journey towards ending human trafficking?
The founder of The Walk, Brooke Nicholson-Graham, was exposed to the realities of human trafficking and sexual exploitation during some time in missions and upon returning to Calgary asked the Lord what she could do. She decided to walk the streets and pray and invited others to join her. That was 5.5 years ago.
Who do you mainly work with?
We primarily work with women who are involved in the sex industry. We also work with a smaller group of men and youth involved in the sex industry.
We work within Calgary and our main avenue of outreach is out on the streets and in massage parlours.
What types of services or programs do you offer for people exiting human trafficking?
Our focus is primarily outreach and relationship building on the streets. We are connected to other organizations that assist those seeking to exit. We provide information about resources through the city and other organizations
Walk me through a bit of your process/procedure when you are trying to help people exit trafficking
We seek to build relationships with those we are interacting with, showing them the love of Christ through our actions and words. We provide resources to those we meet so that when they are ready to exit, they are equipped to do so.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently when you first started out?
If we knew then what we know now, this organization would not be what it is today. It has developed and changed over the past five years to be something we couldn’t have imagined back then. There have been lessons learned from looking back and we take those things forward with us as we seek out what our next steps are. There is no one else in Calgary doing what we are doing, so we are learning as we go.
What’s the biggest misconception that you have encountered in relation to human trafficking?
The biggest misconception with human trafficking is that it doesn’t happen “here”.
What do you think the state of human trafficking will be like in 5 years, will we be any farther along in stopping it?
It’s hard to say where things will be in 5 years, our hope is that leaps and bounds are made in stopping it.
Is there one person or experience that has really stuck with you and motivated you to keep working towards abolition when things get rough?
There are still people living in bondage. People who need hope. People who need to know there is a way out. People who need to be reminded that they have worth. They have choice. They can live differently. Freedom is possible.
Lastly, what’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to get involved with the abolition movement?
Do something. There are lots of people already doing things and lots of organizations out there. If you don’t know what to do, get involved with something that is already happening. Don’t let the excuse of “I don’t know” hinder you from action.
Check out The Walk on social media at any of the following:
I’d like to say a huge Thank You to Jenn, and everyone else at The Walk for taking time to not only answer my questions, but more importantly for taking the time to love those that are often forgotten. Let us all be the hands and feet of Jesus that serve and love those around us!