It is so great when I see a victim turn into a survivor – it is, to me, like watching my child walk for the first time. I do this for the survivors and to prevent those from having to do the unthinkable. We need to understand that this is not a ‘choice’ and that little girls don’t aspire to service a multitude of different men.
How did you become involved in the movement against human trafficking?
The reason why I became a part of the movement is because of my past as a child survivor and as a First Nations voice. I saw that for First Nations women there was very little representation in the movement. I also used my experience as a trafficked child. I was exploited at a very young age and felt that all the adults, professional and family, did a lot of nothing to help me, and in some ways, they made it worse. I was tired of being looked down on and blamed by society.
In Canada, there are so many First Nations girls who get caught up in the cycle of exploitation – we are seeing them enslaved as young as eleven years of age. Also there are an extremely high number of murdered and missing First Nations women; it is estimated in the amount of 3000. It is more likely if you are First Nations to be effected by colonialism.
I was also upset with the recent charter challenge in the legalization for prostitution. I truly believe that human trafficking and prostitution go hand and hand. I believe as a First Nations woman that I need to be a strong voice and role model for my people, especially our girls.
What draws you to support and advocate for people enslaved by traffickers?
I think it is my own experiences that help me to be able to support enslaved women. I also feel that I have a much deeper understanding of the psychological and social aspect of trafficking and exploitation. I am sick of those who feel they can help a survivor but end up being contradicting and causing more damage than good. It is so great when I see a victim turn into a survivor – it is, to me, like watching my child walk for the first time. I do this for the survivors and to prevent those from having to do the unthinkable. We need to understand that this is not a ‘choice’ and that little girls don’t aspire to service a multitude of different men.
What does your work involve?
My work involves education, advocacy and bringing changes to legislation. We, at Sextrade101, are the only activism group run by experiential women in Canada. We are working alongside police and legislators so we can truly and honestly educate and dispel the myths, such as that this is a ‘choice’. We must look at what our communities’ roles are too in dealing with trafficking and traffickers.
Read the rest of this fantastic interview at http://ruthjacobs.co.uk/2013/01/20/bridget-perrier-survivor-child-trafficking-first-nations-educator-co-founder-sextrade101-interview/