Editor’s Note: Slavery survivor Timea Nagy now helps others escape enslavement on the streets of Canada. She is a recipient of a Free the Slaves Freedom Award for her heroic resilience and ongoing commitment to others. Her group, Walk with Me, has recently released a powerful music video, which we thought you should see. We asked Timea to say in her own words how the video came to be.
As the winter months say farewell, warm weather seems to be right on the horizon. Unfortunately, the coming of summer will bring with it a rise in human trafficking in Canada. Sex slavery will return to the streets, and Walk With Me is making a great effort to raise awareness.
Walk With Me Canadian Victim Services is a survivor-led organization dedicated to raising awareness and providing education about slavery, delivering and coordinating services to support survivors, and advocating action for change. We have trained and assisted more than 60,000 law enforcement personnel across Canada since 2009. Our organization has been involved in big cases such as Project OPAPA, assisting 22 victims in Canada’s largest human trafficking case to date.
The battle against human trafficking is now starting to enlist Canadian musicians and dancers. “Break the Silence” — a song written and performed by Francois Mudler, a young, talented Canadian artist – illustrates the struggles of people exploited by human trafficking.
Hearing Francois’ voice had been one of my personal coping and healing mechanisms when I would feel overwhelmed by work or by flashbacks from my past. I was fortunate to actually meet him. Francois then read my book, “Memoirs of a Sex Slave Survivor,” and said he would be happy to write a song to expand public understanding. The dancer in the video is a young artist, who came to our first fundraising gala last year and asked to volunteer any time we need help.
The song was recorded last September. Every single story in the video is real, and permission was granted by those involved in the cases to include their stories. The idea is for anyone to be able to use the video. It has been launched as a public service announcement, aiming to raise awareness all over the world. Funds that are generated will be used to keep providing services for victims of human trafficking.
Three amazing women will be honored this year as recipients of the Fourth Annual Free the Slaves Freedom Awards. Two are former slaves who have dedicated their lives to helping others to freedom. One is a former governmental official who has shown the world how to combat slavery at a national level.
Frederick Douglass Award Winner
Timea Nagy was a TV producer in Hungary, looking to raise quick funds for a show. She answered an ad to work temporarily in Canada. But when she arrived, she learned she had been tricked. After many months as a sex slave, she escaped and founded Walk With Me, a group that rescues sex trafficking victims, provides immediate support to survivors, and trains Canadian cops to recognize and respond to sex slavery.
William Wilberforce Award Winner
Ruth Vilela was Brazil’s secretary of labor inspection, and created the world’s most innovative anti-slavery SWAT squad. The unit raids farms and sweatshops, freeing thousands of slaves each year. She also created the Dirty List, which quarantines companies where slavery is found. And she created the National Pact, prompting major companies to pledge that they will root-out slavery in their product supply chains.
Frederick Douglass Award Winner
Josefa Condori Quispe left her small village in Peru at age 9 to work as a maid in Lima. After spending most of her childhood and adolescence as a house slave, she managed to get an education and escape the life of domestic servitude. She founded the group Yanapanakusun to fight the root causes of slavery in Peru. She runs a residential shelter for young slavery survivors, providing medical treatment, education, psychological support and legal aid.
All three winners will receive assistance from Free the Slaves to support their work. They will visit the U.S. to inspire others in the anti-slavery movement. We’ll tell you more about these amazing women, and have more details about the Fourth Annual Freedom Award events later this year.