IWD Blog Series – Find out how Diane Redsky, the Executive Director of Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, Inc is working to end Sex Trafficking in Canada.

Diane RedskyName: Diane Redsky

Occupation:  Executive Director, Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, Inc

Areas of Focus: Women’s equality and the rights of Indigenous people

Number of years working in the field? 20+years

Could you tell us a little about Diane Redsky and the work she is involved in?

Diane Redsky has dedicated the past 15-years to work with experts in Canada and abroad to address the sexual exploitation/trafficking of Canadian women and girls.  Diane led a National Task Force which provided 34 recommendations to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, in 2014, on how to end the Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls in Canada.

Could you please share with us a little more about Sex Trafficking in Canada, the risk factors involved and why this particular issue is a pressing concern?

Many Canadians are not aware that sex trafficking of women and girls happens in Canada and is targeted to Canadian women and girls.  The major risk factor of sex trafficking in Canada is being a girl. True equality for women and girls will not be achieved until we eradicate all forms of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.

Thank you! Are the recommendations that were provided as part of the Taskforce on Human Trafficking in Canada, publically available? And secondly where can we find out more about the issue of Sex Trafficking in Canada?

Yes. The recommendations were included in reports on Sex Trafficking in Canada which can be found at:  http://www.canadianwomen.org/reports/trafficking

Are there any upcoming projects that Diane is working on that you can fill us in on?

Yes. Diane will be working to establish Canada’s first National Coordination Centre on Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls in Canada as part of her on-going commitment to giving voice to Survivors and ending sex trafficking in Canada.

As you already know, this year’s International Women’s Day theme was “Make it Happen” and it had two main objectives: to celebrate women’s achievements and to call for greater equality. Can you share with us how you are ‘Making it Happen’ in your community?

Organizations like the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre in Winnipeg are taking a leadership role in addressing the sexual exploitation/trafficking of girls under the age of 18. As an Indigenous community, we continue to work together so our families can valued, respected and engaged.

Thank you for your time. Do you have any final thoughts or words of advice for those who are eager to make a change but are unsure about how and where to start?

We all have the power to work together to make Canada a safer place for women and girls. There are countless opportunities for quick wins and game changers involving the private sector, philanthropy, governments, NGO’s and citizens using COLLECTIVE ACTION. Together, we can give a voice to Survivors, end this extreme form of violence against women and girls and stop this appalling violation of human rights.

Diane Redsky, the project director for the Canadian Women’s Taskforce on Human Trafficking in Canada, was featured on CBC News early last year. In the news piece, she calls attention to the prevalence of domestic human trafficking in Canada and highlights the fact that Aboriginal women and women from other marginalized communities are being targeted for human trafficking. Her findings coincide with a recently published report by Public Safety Canada that revealed that Aboriginal women are more likely to get trafficked than non-Aboriginal women in Canada. You can read the full CBC News article here: http://bit.ly/1l0XRhx .

This interview is a part of the Network’s International Women’s Day blog series.

Be sure to read our other blogs and interviews to learn about how others are “Making it Happen” in their communities and how you too can make a difference.

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