Five Years of Accomplishments for #NotInMyCity
Sometimes, a task or challenge can feel so big, so insurmountable, that it can be difficult to know where to start.
Five years ago, when #NotInMyCity was founded, the conversation about the fact that human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children and youth was happening in our hometowns, in our communities, wasn’t happening. The whole premise seemed impossible.
No one wanted to talk about it. In some instances, nobody believed it. It stirred disbelief, anger, sadness and hopelessness. “I had no idea,” was the common refrain.
But there’s something amazing that happens when people start to connect, talk, listen to one another and gain an understanding: We recognize that the capacity for change, compassion and action is alive within each of us, and it can be positively harnessed when we band together.
Individuals, organizations, agencies, government, donors and companies started to stand with us and support our cause, and they became known as Allies.
Five years ago, for many, the acknowledgement that slavery was happening in our cities was an absurd notion. Today, it’s a well-recognized and established fact. #NotInMyCity was founded on the belief that change wasn’t just possible, it was the only way forward.
A Vision for #NotInMyCity was established: to prevent, disrupt and end sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.
Five Strategic Directions were created to help focus our work, which included:
- Empowering individuals with lived experience
- Building community awareness and action
- Supporting high risk youth
- Advancing leading practices
- Addressing the unique needs of vulnerable groups
In five short years, the entire team and organization has accomplished a lot, and much has changed. All five of the identified strategic directions have moved forward. Collectively, with our partners, #NotInMyCity has raised awareness and helped create positive action and systemic shifts. A few of our many accomplishments to date include:
- Collaboration with more than 100 community agencies and stakeholders working together on this issue, and specifically, creation of an integrated Community Response Model.
- Alongside REACH Edmonton, we helped organize and facilitate the Provincial Human Trafficking Network, bringing together more than 40 organizations to share information, expertise and best practices.
- Connection with survivors, listening intently to their stories and personal experiences.
- Our Founder Paul Brandt was appointed as Chair of the Alberta Human Trafficking Task Force. The outcomes of the work of the Task Force resulted in 18 of the 19 recommendations being accepted by the Government of Alberta.
- We supported the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT) for Southern Alberta in hiring a Safety Network Coordinator, supporting dozens of clients with crisis interventions and connections to services.
- Partnerships with transportation associations, airlines, airports, boards of education and more
- Launch of an e-learning course, and to date nearly 3,000 individuals have completed the program to learn about human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
- A strategic partnership with 2-1-1, providing community responders in Alberta with the skills and knowledge to support those at risk of, or currently being trafficked.
- Launch of a multi-year #SeeingYellow campaign, engaging businesses, entrepreneurs and organizations to further awareness.
- Developed partnerships to implement awareness and educational programs at airports across the country.
- A full scope of our achievements, particularly those in the past year, are highlighted in our most recent Report to the Community.
We didn’t just move the needle on a continuum, we have helped to facilitate new ways forward. Beyond all of our achievements, our Allies continued to build their commitment to our work, helping to bring learning platforms to life, hosting events, raising valuable dollars for our work and actively participating in our programs. We also received incredible support from individual and corporate donations and grants.
Five years is a good time to take stock of our achievements, and to forge a new way forward for the organization, by continuing to place our efforts where they are best served, and to embark on a new era for our work.
We will have more to share later this year, where new initiatives will be announced.
Thank you for continued support and most importantly, playing a role in helping to end sexual exploitation and trafficking. It will never belong. Not here, not anywhere. #NotInMyCity.