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Human trafficking survivor to speak at The Hope Project

July 20, 2017   ·   0 Comments

ORANGEVILLE’S FAMILY TRANSITION PLACE will welcome Timea Nagy, a survivor of human trafficking, to speak at its flagship fundraiser, the 4th Annual The Hope Project, taking place at Hockley Valley Resort on September 29. Early bird tickets are on sale now.

By Mike Pickford

A brave survivor of a Toronto human trafficking ring has been named as the headline speaker for The Hope Project, Family Transition Place’s (FTP) upcoming annual flagship fundraiser.

Now entering its fourth year, The Hope Project has blossomed from a simple concept first discussed around a break room table into an ideology that has captured the imagination of a community. Having raised more than $150,000 since its launch in 2014, FTP’s Manager of Development and Community Relations Stacey Tarrant discussed how the event came to be in Orangeville.

“Years ago, when I first joined Family Transition Place, our main fundraiser consisted of a golf tournament and, every year when this tournament came around, the weather quite literally rained on our parade,” Ms. Tarrant told the Citizen. “So we sat down as a team and started to brainstorm – that’s how The Hope Project began.”

She added, “The idea behind the name is very vague, but that was the intention. From a literal sense, FTP’s tagline is ‘Safety, Support, Hope’… We take care of the safety and the support, but we also want to create hope among the women and children we serve. Creating an event that raises money and helps to promote equality and awareness of violence against women… It seemed like a great idea.”

The idea certainly seems to have resonated with the community. Within 24 hours of going on sale to the public, the event was more than 30 percent sold out. At a special early-bird rate of $100 ($129 after July 31) that’s no mean feat. The event takes place on Friday, September 29 at Hockley Valley Resort. Unique in its own way, the fundraiser is a luncheon as opposed to an evening dinner with registration beginning at 11:30 a.m. and the event itself running from noon until 3 p.m.

While she admits it’s usually a difficult process narrowing down a speaker or special presenter for the event, Ms. Tarrant noted this year was a special exception. She had the opportunity to meet Timea Nagy, a Hungarian national who first traveled to Canada in 1998, earlier this year. It was during this meeting that Ms. Nagy shared her horrifying story of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. It was one that stuck with Ms. Tarrant and one she hopes will stick with dozens more come Sept. 29.

“Her story is absolutely incredible. Horrifying, but incredible,” Ms. Tarrant said. “Timea found herself at the centre of a terrifying and dangerous human trafficking ring. She was under the impression she was applying for a job here in Canada. On her end everything appeared to be legitimate, but once when she flew in she was picked up at the airport and taken directly to a hotel – right in the middle of a human trafficking ring.”

Ms. Nagy spent 3 1/2 months with her captors before she was able to escape. Since then she has become a strong advocate on behalf of human trafficking victims – whom, more often than not, are women.

“Timea is an immensely powerful speaker and very, very courageous. Her story is so powerful, so moving, so upsetting… It’s going to be a special presentation. She’s shedding light on a very dark secret that is happening right now,” Ms. Tarrant said.

While the terror of human trafficking has become something of an ignored reality in society today, FTP is doing all it can to shed light on the fact that it is indeed happening. In Ms. Nagy’s presentation she says the first identified case of human trafficking in Canada involved a victim from Orangeville.

And, despite FTP’s best efforts to educate and raise awareness regarding violence against women, the facility saw a 10 percent increase in the number of clients it served per program in its last fiscal year (March 31, 2016 to April 1, 2017). Its emergency shelter was used by 103 women and 65 children, women abuse counsellors provided help and support to 388 women, while 151 women and 22 men made use of its sexual abuse counselling services.

The service received 3,742 calls to its crisis/information line. Addictions and outreach counselling stretched to help 80 women and its transitional support services assisted 318 women and five men. Support within housing was offered to 51 women, with a further 14 on a waiting list. Second-stage housing was provided to 20 women and 23 children, while its Rural Response Program aided 32 women. In an attempt to educate at a young age, FTP also delivered its youth education presentation to 1,571 youth in the region.

“We provide a whole host of services and, sadly, the need for our service seems to be growing,” Ms. Tarrant said. “Fundraisers such as The Hope Project help support our much-needed programs, but it also helps to fund our community initiatives designed to break the cycle of violence against women. There’s the youth education program in our schools and a whole host of other awareness building activities we do in an attempt to put ourselves out of business.”

For more information on The Hope Project visit familytransitionplace.ca/fundraisers/hope/. To purchase a ticket, contact Family Transition Place at 519-942-4122.

         

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