Our Charitable Choices feature this week is the #NotInMyCity foundation. #NotInMyCity is an anti-human trafficking movement founded by Paul Brandt. Since launching in 2017, it has gained significant momentum in bringing key partners together to engage, commit and collectively build an action plan to prevent and end human trafficking with a focus on Child Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
#NotInMyCity is an anti-human trafficking movement founded by Paul Brandt. Since launching in 2017, it has gained significant momentum in bringing key partners together to engage, commit and collectively build an action plan to prevent and end human trafficking with a focus on Child Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking.
What problem does it aim to solve?
Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing crimes in Canada, with 93 per cent of Canada’s trafficking victims coming from Canada. The greatest risk factor in being trafficked is simply being a girl, and 13 years old is the most common age girls are trafficked in Canada. #NotInMyCity aims to end the sexual exploitation of children of youth in our country.
When did you start/join it?
#NotInMyCity was launched by Paul Brandt under his Buckspring Foundation in 2017. It serves to raise awareness and take collective action to prevent and end sexual exploitation and trafficking, focusing on children and youth.
What made you want to get involved?
Years ago, Paul and his wife Liz travelled to Cambodia, hosted by an organization fighting human trafficking and sexual exploitation. They toured a district known for its draw to sex tourists because of the access provided by traffickers to extremely young children, some as young as five years old.
Since that visit, Brandt had a feeling of urgency about this issue and also discovered that it was a growing crime here in Canada. Trafficking doesn’t just happen in far-flung corners of the world, it’s happening in our communities, and is now one of the fastest-growing crimes in Canada. Globally, it is the second-largest source of illegal income.
What was the situation like when you started?
While it’s largely a hidden crime, there are some facts about sex trafficking that are abundantly clear. The most common age girls are trafficked in Canada is 13 years old, and more than 75% of people working in the Canadian “Sex Trade” began working as children.
How has it changed since?
Since its launch, #NotInMyCity has gained significant momentum on this issue throughout Canada, with partnerships with corporations, airports, police forces, the RCMP, agencies, organizations and more.
Across the country, #NotInMyCity has become known for the iconic yellow rose created by renowned Canadian designer, Paul Hardy. The rose is a symbol of support and a statement that Allies stand in solidarity with trafficking victims and survivors.
Following the success of its initial launch in July 2017, Four Strategic Directions were developed to inform #NotInMyCity’s work and projects, which is helping to drive the movement forward.
Today, #NotInMyCity works tirelessly alongside a growing team of individuals, business leaders, law enforcement, social and government agencies. #NotInMyCity employs evidence-based, trauma-informed practices and a wraparound approach, keeping the health, safety and well-being of victims and survivors the centre of their focus.
What more needs to be done?
The #NotInMyCity movement continues to build partnerships across the country to support, facilitate and advocate for transformational and sustainable change at the grassroots, practice, policy and legislative levels. Training programs are in development to empower front line staff in cities, airports, hotels and airlines to identify risky situations.
While its roots are in Calgary, #NotInMyCity will continue to engage key groups across the country to address this issue and end it in our communities.
How can our readers help?
Become an Ally for #NotInMyCity by learning about the issue, amplifying the message that the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children and youth is wrong, wearing the yellow rose and gathering at #NotInMyCity events and fundraisers. Visit notinmycity.ca/be-an-ally for more information.
Do you have any events coming up?
Paul Brandt recently performed with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and Edmonton Symphony for a series of concerts in Calgary and Edmonton in December. $10 from each ticket sold benefited #NotInMyCity, generating more than $68,000 for the organization. Follow @NIMCAlly on social media for upcoming events and fundraisers.
Where can we follow you?
@NIMCAlly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Calgary charity that you love?
Paul Brandt’s Buckspring Foundation, in collaboration with Smithbilt Hats, launched the “Black Hat that Does Good Things” to support organizations. This year, the beneficiary is MusicCounts, which puts instruments into the hands of children who need them most.