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Together We Can End Slavery . . . Again!

Female Leaders Are Liked Less by Both Genders

10_JoySmith[1]

What Makes Joy Smith an Awesome Anomaly?

Humility

Joy Smith challenges gender bias but not for her own advancement. She’s doing it for the abused. “This is not something I would want to do with my life. I am not a good politician.”

Smith has earned four university degrees and has penned a bestseller. She was a school teacher turned provincial politician when she learned about human trafficking, “My son was an officer in the Integrated Child Exploitation Unit. I wanted to find out why his hair turned grey overnight. Now I know.”

“When you respond to a child rape, the images are inscribed indelibly on your mind. If someone pretends this doesn’t affect them, there is something wrong with them.”

“What tore at him is when he had to leave ICE, all the files still open on his desk— those were the children not found. And the guilt he had from that . .  . to this day it has profoundly impacted him the same way I am impacted now. Until the day we die we will never stop trying to end this horrendous crime against our youth. I must do something.”

Smith’s “something” has never before been accomplished in Canada.

Ending the Oldest Oppression

“People used to think that girls liked to service men, liked to be beaten, like to give their money to their traffickers and their predators. Well that’s not what girls do. They were lured. Very pretty girls, very vulnerable girls, they are children.  The predators prefer the young ones, they get more money for them, they are easily manipulated, easily talked into things—they’re kids.”

Smith set her sights on federal government and was elected MP for her riding in Manitoba. Speaking of Bill C-268, minimum sentencing for human trafficking convictions, she comments,”How I got the bill through is just the grace of God. Bill C-268 was the 15th private member’s bill to amend the criminal code since Confederation.  It was passed in a minority government—that was not me.”

The following year: Bill C-310, convictions for those exploiting children in other countries. And now: “Bill C-36 is Peter MacKay’s bill; it is one of the greatest this country has ever seen. I have worked tirelessly on this bill.”

C-36 is law: The Safe Communities and Exploited Persons Act

For the first time in Canadian history, it is illegal to purchase sex in this country. “We are at a tipping point in our country right now. And we have people challenging the law. Shame on them.”

“The Nordic model [making the purchase of sex illegal] has worked very well in other countries,” dramatically reducing violence and trafficking and the flow of illicit money and corruption. Smith points out, “Pimps earn about $260,000.00 per year, per girl.”

Restoring Dignity

“Girls have to look at their strengths and their dignity, they have to look at their intelligence, they have to see themselves as being better than being bought and sold.”

“My mother taught us about dignity; she taught us about doing the right thing for the right reason. She was a tremendous influence in my life.” We need more women like her—mothers, fathers, whole communities who see girls not as commodities, but as influencers who can earn respect and even be liked as leaders.

[1]       Ulrike Lehmann, “Heidi & Howard,” European PWN Paris, Sept. 2013,      http://www.pwnparis.net/newsletter/2013-09/post/6_lean_in_septembre.html (accessed Jan. 2, 2015).

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