Calgary Entrepreneur Battles Slavery and Sex Trafficking

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Sara Dasko launches Pieces for Change to raise money for anti-slavery.

Modern slavery has only grown since Abraham Lincoln was in office and more than 27 million people worldwide are still victims of slavery and sex trafficking. Slavery and sex trafficking is the fastest growing sector of organized crime and is the second-largest criminal enterprise in the world. Most people would be surprised to hear that this is not only a third world problem. Modern slavery and sex trafficking is a first world problem and happening in some unlikely communities.

One million children are exploited by the global sex trade every year according to the U.S. Department of State, The Facts About Child Sex Tourism (2005). This is not a crime that only happens overseas. A 2006 report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Trafficking in Persons states that 161 countries are affected by human trafficking.

“Modern slavery and sex trafficking will persist in the absence of a concerted response to bring about its end,” notes Petra Bosma, Public Affairs Manager for IJM Canada. “It transcends borders—that makes it a national and international issue that requires action from a variety of stakeholders. We’re grateful for the support of grassroots movements like Pieces for Change to help in the fight against slavery and sex trafficking.”

The human trafficking industry is a $32 billion industry "After drug dealing, human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms industry as the second largest criminal industry in the world today, and it is the fastest growing." US Department of Health and Human Services (2009).

The figures are staggering:

  •     80% of transnational victims are women and girls
  •     70% of female victims are trafficked into the commercial sex trade, 30% into forced labor
  •     $15.5 billion is made in industrialized nations
  •     Estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked per year
  •     46% of the traffickers were known to the victim
  •     Between 14,000 and 17,500 people are trafficked into North America annually.

“Unlike victims of atrocities such as natural disasters, human trafficking is the intentional exploitation of vulnerable people, especially women and children,” says Sara Dasko, President and CEO of Free Mind Learning Services and founder of Pieces for Change. “This can be eradicated if we work together and become aware of the surreptitious malevolence that pervades our world, affecting neighbors near and far. Being informed and involved in the fight to stop human trafficking, we can restore human dignity and freedom to those whose place we could have just as easily been born into; indeed, we can free our minds and free their souls.”

Pieces for Change is an annual event that combines pieces of art and music to raise funds in support of IJM. The soirée features local artists such as Robert Scott, Karin Edwards, Mindy Edwards, Deanne Poschwatta and several others who have donated their work for sale in a silent auction. Local musical folk artists The Wellington Folk and I Am The Mountain will be entertaining guests at the Folk Festival Music Hall.

Pieces for Change will take place on Thursday November 28 from 7:30-10:00 pm at the Folk Festival Music Hall (1215 10 Ave SE, Calgary, AB). Tickets can be purchased online at, by email to events(at)freemindls(dot)com or by calling 403.837.7272 for $80. 100% of the proceeds from ticket sales and the silent auction will be donated to IJM.

About Sara Dasko

Sara Dasko is the foremost authority on tutoring and ESL in Canada. She was born and raised in Calgary and has a passion for her community. As CEO and president at Free Mind Learning Services, she has nurtured her entrepreneurial spirit by helping others. Since 2004, Sara has provided tutoring, translation, interpreting and English teaching services to immigrant employees at corporations and other adult groups and individuals. To learn more, visit

About the International Justice Mission

International Justice Mission Canada is a human rights organization that brings immediate relief to victims of sexual exploitation, slavery and violent oppression, in partnership with U.S.-based International Justice Mission (IJM). A multi-national team of lawyers and law enforcement professionals conduct criminal investigations and collect evidence to relieve victims and bring perpetrators to justice, and IJM social workers secure appropriate aftercare for victims of abuse.

IJM’s multi-national staff works in 12 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America to ensure that the global poor are protected from violent forms of oppression by their countries’ own laws. IJM was founded by Gary Haugen who was the Officer in Charge of the U.N. investigation into the Rwandan genocide. IJM Canada was founded by Jamie McIntosh in 2002 and is located in London, Ontario. To learn more, visit


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Stacy Richter
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