An Orillia woman is doing her part to raise awareness on a local level about a worldwide issue.
Alannah Oliver is hoping people will educate themselves about human trafficking and donate money to a couple of local charities at the same time.
“I just have a heart for it,” Oliver said of the issue, noting she has become more aware since she began studying for her master’s in biblical counselling.
“Going through my studies, it’s hitting me and becoming more aware to me how much mental health matters and how it can contribute to something like (human trafficking).”
She is asking people to donate to Couchiching Jubilee House and the Lighthouse Soup Kitchen and Shelter.
“Apart from becoming educated ourselves, funding these organizations is a huge part of ending the cycle of abuse,” she said. “When people aren’t heard, when they don’t have the resources like these to help them feel safe, worthy, that’s when they turn to other things.”
It’s an especially timely topic, she added, noting the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has been sounding the alarm about the increased risk of exploitation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thursday is the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, and Oliver said the mayor has agreed to her request to issue a proclamation in recognition of the day. She is also hoping people wear blue Thursday to support the cause.
Oliver is organizing a demonstration Thursday at Terry Fox Circle in Couchiching Beach Park, from 2 to 4 p.m. She noted there is also a demonstration happening Thursday at Centennial Park in Barrie, from 1 to 4 p.m.