Local anti-human trafficking advocates are encouraging Langley residents to attend a Jan. 19 meeting to find out about the scope of the problem and what they can do about it.
Langley Youth Unlimited and Miss Canada 2011 Tara Teng are hosting Wake Up: A Night Against Exploitation with the goal of making this community a sexual exploitation-free zone.
Teng has used her position at Miss Canada to spotlight human slavery and exploitation issues here and abroad.
She's working with Danny Ferguson and Todd Hauptman of Langley Youth Unlimited for this event.
"Langley is perfectly positioned to be a national leader in the fight against human trafficking," said 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."
Ferguson, the director of Langley Youth Unlimited, said people shouldn't assume a smaller community like Langley wouldn't have issues.
"The young people in our community are at risk of being recruited into the sex trade," Ferguson said. "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."
The event starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Langley Township Civic Facility, 20338 65th Ave., and begins with the documentary Enslaved and Exploited: the story of sex trafficking in Canada. This will be followed by a panel discussion hosted by both Langley mayors on how to combat this problem.
"If we think that we are far removed from situations of modern day slavery, then we are mistaken," Teng noted. "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."
@ Copyright 2013