Human trafficking isn’t top of mind when you think of Calgary crimes.
Despite recognizing four years here, Calgary-based Not In My City said the work has barely scratched the surface.
Paula Worthington, communications lead at Not In My City, said human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the city. It largely goes unnoticed by most Calgarians.
“We acknowledge that human trafficking is a topic that is really difficult for people to talk about and digest. The idea that it is happening in our communities is one that is really difficult,” said Worthington.
Founded in 2017 Not In My City is a organization that is dedicated to the disruption of human trafficking. That has included raising awareness by creating a platform for collective action and educating Calgarians on what human trafficking is and how to stop it.
Worthington said that 72 percent of human trafficking victims are under the age of 25. With the average age of someone being recruited being around 13 years old. Also between 2014 and 2018 online sexual exploitation has increased by over 600 percent.
“One of the things that Not In My City has built is a community response model with a variety of other agencies and groups which is helping to really identify vulnerable youth or youth who have been involved in sexual exploitation,” Worthington said.
Since Not In My City was founded it has expanded its reach significantly by partnering with local law enforcement agencies such as the Calgary Police to better mitigate the risks associated with human trafficking.
Alongside their many efforts to disrupt human trafficking they have also inspired Calgarians to be more aware of the issue. One such Calgarian is Mimi Koles. Koles was first introduced to the group when her mother attended one of the awareness events at Village Brewery.
“I was pretty surprised. I initially didn’t think it was a huge issue but now I’m kind of realizing it’s actually a lot bigger than it seems and it’s really awful,” said Koles.
In order to raise more awareness and inspire more Calgarians, Koles designed a Not In My City cowboy shirt in collaboration with Village Brewery.
“It’s basically meant to show that Calgary as a city understands the issue behind sex trafficking and everything around that,” said Koles.
“I think it’s really important that people talk about it so I’m really glad to have found Not In My City because it’s a really great way to start talking about it ” said Koles.
If you wish to get in contact with Not In My City click here.
If you wish to purchase one of Koles cowboy shirts click here.