Human Trafficking: The Fight for Social Justice

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 6th Aug 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

Have you ever felt like you were part of history in the making? I don't mean watching a world event happen on TV. What I mean is just going about your regular routine and suddenly it becomes part of history. Well that is exactly how I felt on, Friday June 11, 2007.

The Synagogue

It started out a day like any other. My boyfriend and I had dinner together and onto the synagogue we went. Instead of rabbi Leigh Lerner conducting his usual sermon, a member of parliament was there to speak about a very prestigious award the synagogue had won.

The Fain award

The Fain award is named after Irving J. Fain and is given out every two years by the union of Reform Judaism. This North American award is given in recognition of outstanding social justice programs in reform synagogues throughout The United States and Canada. Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom - Montreal, Quebec, Matt's synagogue was one of the 30 synagogues chosen out of a pool of 900.

The actual awards were presented to the recipients in April 2007 year. The Director of the Commission on Social Action, Rabbi Marla Feldman, stated at the time, "The congregations that win Fain Awards are embodiments of the passion for social justice that spurred the prophets of ancient Israel and inspired the founders of Reform Judaism. They bring hope and healing to their communities and fulfill the Jewish mandate "l'taken et ha olam" -- to repair our broken world."

Matt's synagogue Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom had won the award for its work in the fight against Human Trafficking.

MP Joy Smith

Manitoba Conservative MP Joy Smith, came to Montreal, to congratulate the committee for their outstanding work in this area. Joy Smith told us how she first got interested in this issue through the efforts of her son in line of duty as a RCMP officer.

"In a parliamentary committee meeting February 2007, it was cited that in 2004, the RCMP reported that 800 people a year are brought into Canada, and that between 1,500 and 2,200 others are moved through Canada into the United States for the purposes of human trafficking.

While Ottawa has already taken "important" steps, the report prepared by the all-party Status of Women committee concludes more needs to be done to address cross-border trafficking of people."

Woman and children are abducted and sent to other countries to work in prostitution under slave-like conditions. Many times they are lured to Canada and other countries under the pretense of legitimate job offers.

The devastation to these young women some men, and children is horrendous. The degradation, loss of freedom, and loss of self respect destroys the human psyche. More often than not, woman and children resort to a life on the street, complete with lines of customers, alcohol and drugs. The psychological affects resulting in emotional trauma are just as crucial as the legal ramifications against their predators.

Joy Smith has devoted her life work in Canada, Israel, Ukraine, and the U.S.A. to combat this growing universal concern. In that same parliamentary hearing in February she stated, "Trafficking of women and children is the most heinous of crimes. ... It's all about making money on the backs of innocent victims,"

So it was a pleasure for her to congratulate the committee chairs, Peggy Sakow and Liliane Kohl, and of course Rabbi Leigh Lerner.

"The Temple Committee, under the leadership of Rabbi Leigh Lerner, has united a broad coalition of religious groups in its efforts to educate Canadians of the problem of human trafficking and is seeking to open the first shelter in Canada for victims of human trafficking."

The Conservative MP, presented Rabbi Leigh Lerner and his committee with the official Standing Order that recognized the efforts of the committee in the House of Commons. Joy Smith said to us that the Standing Order becomes part of Canadian history, it is never deleted. She said the interesting thing is that is used for political citations and occasional citations for organizations, but today for the first time in history, an individual, Rabbi Leigh Lerner is mentioned in the Standing Order.

On Friday I saw history in the making, not by a famous person, but by a humble Rabbi and his dedicated committee in a simple synagogue in Montreal.

All photos taken from the public domain

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Abductions, Alcohol, Awards, Drugs, History, Human Trafficking, Jobs, Montreal, Mp Joy Smith, Passports, Prostitution, Rabbi Leigh Lerner, Rabbis, Rcmp, Rcmp Officer, Reform Judaism, Reform Synagogues, Sex Slaves, Slavery, Slaves, Social Justice, Status-Of-Women, Synagogue, Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom, The Fain Award, Trafficking Of Children, Trafficking Of Women, Women And Children Abductions

Meet the author

author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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