Be a Part of Our Knitwork

Human Trafficking happens here. It happens in Canada. It happens in Ontario. It happens in Guelph and Wellington County. What if you could do something to support survivors and shine a light on something we often choose not to see?

At Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis, we support survivors, but it is not something we do alone. It takes a whole community to support survivours and end human trafficking. Our Anti-Human Trafficking Counsellor is calling on volunteers who knit, crochet, and work with yarn to contribute to “It Takes a Knitwork.”

“It Takes a Knitwork” is a community arts engagement project designed raise awareness about human trafficking in our community. Community members are invited to create 8”x8” knit or crochet squares that will be stitched together to create a huge blanket. The intricacy of each piece, and the project as a whole, symbolizes the intentionality, complexity, connectedness, and the warmth needed to support survivors.

Community members are invited to knit or crochet 500 8”x8”squares of yarn work to donate for contribution to a larger piece that will be displayed in the Community Room at Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis on Human Trafficking Awareness Day – February 22, 2019.

Your piece does not have to be perfect, just use yarn in a creative way to make as many squares in as many colours, patterns, and styles as you would like. This is a great opportunity to get rid of the ends of all your balls of yarn! Feel free to personalize it and use your imagination! Beginners are encouraged! We need 500 squares by February 1, 2019, so #knitup!

Don’t want to knit alone? Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis will host a “KnitUp Night” on Wednesday, January 16th, 2019 from 5:30-7:30pm. This is an opportunity to meet others in our community, share your yarn and your skills, learn more about human trafficking, and eat some snacks. Stay tuned for more details!

Please deliver your pieces to Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis at 38 Elizabeth Street, Guelph by February 1st. If you are unable to deliver your pieces, or if you have any questions please email emma@gwwomenincrisis.org.

It Happens Here

Human trafficking involves force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of exploitation, and is facilitated by a third party that benefits from the exploitation. Over 90% of those trafficked within Canada are originally from within Canada’s borders. As well, approximately 90% of those who are trafficked in Ontario are women and girls. Ontario is a major centre for human trafficking in Canada, accounting for more than two-thirds of cases nationally. The GTA and 401 corridor is the most common area women experience trafficking, and it takes place in hotels, motels, Airbnb’s, condos, and in someone’s own home. Sex trafficking is the most prevalent form of human trafficking in Ontario and Indigenous women and girls are severely over-represented in those who experience trafficking compared to other groups in Canada.

Human trafficking is gender-based violence, it is a human rights violation, and it is a crime. You may wonder why women “don’t just leave” –Women are often afraid of their trafficker, have a fear of the unknown, experience a trauma-bond, or are physically not able to leave. Traffickers often use violence, intimidation, economic, emotional and sexual abuse, isolation, threats, coercion, and blaming as methods of control.

Why a blanket?

Blankets celebrate life, acknowledge a need for support, and are a survival tool. We give blankets to newborns, the elderly, and to those who are ill, in need, or require strength. Blankets can also symbolize the healing process, as they can represent warmth, safety, comfort, and security. In Métis culture, creating a traditional healing blanket involves a process of gifting medicine and strength to a loved one.

The “It Takes a Knitwork” blanket will combine various intricate stitches, colours, textures, fibers, and weights, created by diverse hands and members of our community, which represent broad and diverse support and resilience. This blanket, created with good intentions, symbolizes the intentional, meaningful community support that we, as a collective, can provide survivors of trafficking.

As a community, we have to better meet the needs of women if we want to end trafficking. Take part in “It Takes a Knitwork” and join us at Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis on Human Trafficking Awareness Day – February 22, 2019.

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