Human Trafficking: Modern Day Slavery, in our city? in our own backyard?

Hey wassup everyone,

this is Helen Choi, the Host and Producer for the second half of tonight's radio show at Regent Park Focus. I'm Blogging here because the RPF folks invited me to write about tonight's radio show on the issue of Human Trafficking of Filipino Nannies in our city. In exploring the topic we heard from our guests, local activists (Kim Abis 20, Cara Clemente 20, Jarelle Gabison 20) from the Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance. They work directly with Filipino Nannies in the city, some as young as you!


I decided to do this radio show when a group of young activists caught my attention with a press release in the Wednesday, March 11, 2009 issue of the University of Toronto Free Press "University of Toronto Turns to Unjust Solutions to Satisfy Child-care Demands" . This article was released four days before the Toronto Star Investigation of exploitation of Filipino nannies featured as a two part series in the Saturday and Sunday edition. Found here:

Nannies Trapped in Bogus Jobs
Federal Agencies Fail to Protect Migrant Nannies

What I found from this mainstream media investigation was the lack of input from the marginalized Filipino communities and local Filipino activists, who have been talking and organizing around this issue for some time before the Toronto Star discovered this news. This happens far too often. The voices of the young, alienated and disenfranchised are neglected and replaced by tokenistic authoritative style pieces that focuses primarily on the stake-holders and those already in privilege and holding power. I asked myself, why were not these young activists contacted and represented in the Toronto Star piece? I decided to take action and share information through a "for youth by youth" approach. This approach ensures that information is disseminated in the communities that are heavily affected, and allows us to see how these issues impact on us as youth.

As an alternative to the Toronto Star investigation, I decided to document the story through radio, similar to how the First Nations people have used "oral tradition" to pass down information. This oral tradition is an alternative to mainstream media and a powerfully effective tool in sharing messages with those that feel disconnected from society.

This experimental, community investigative piece which I plan to continue interviewing people and gathering information on will hopefully be presented as a radio series that documents live participation from the grassroots level of action, to inaction from the authorities, or oppression that youth from marginalized, poor, and racialized communities face. Keep tuning in to hear my updates.

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