Watch the video above: Local business fights human trafficking
SASKATOON – According to the U.S. State Department, child trafficking is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the world and a Saskatoon entrepreneur is trying to change that.
Sarah Greenlaw worked in a government job for a decade before a trip to southeast Asia changed her life.
“I heard about children being sold for sex in Cambodia and I didn’t even know that happened,” said Greenlaw.
According to UNICEF, 35 per cent of Cambodia’s 15,000 prostitutes are children under the age of 16.
The organization says many are often held captive, beaten and starved.
“You know, I saw little towns – where it was pointed out to me – like ‘in that building right there, there are children that are being sold into brothels’,” said Greenlaw.
She refused to just be another passerby and brought her cause to Saskatchewan.
“I got in touch with some people that were actually doing skills training for women, to help them get out of the sex trade. And I started buying their product and importing it here,” Greenlaw explained.
Greenlaw has a booth on Broadway Avenue at Saskatoon’s Fringe Festival to raise money and awareness for the cause.
Her profits from go to the Ratanak International, an organization that helps free Cambodian children from sex slavery.
“When people hear what it is, they are much more drawn to the product,” she said.
The jewellery for sale is made by women who have been freed from sex trafficking and are trying to make better lives for themselves.
Fringe Festival organizers said fundraising booths at the event have seen a lot of success this year.
“You can communicate with people on a one-on-one basis, as opposed to being the person at the end of a phone call,” said Colin Grant, the festival’s publicist.
For every item Greenlaw sells, she hopes a bit of freedom is in store for those who have none.
The Freedom Collection booth will be open on Broadway Avenue during the festival, which runs until Aug. 9.