Exercise in the Name of Social Justice:
JQ Fitness & [free-them]
According to the Canadian Department of Justice, human trafficking involves “the recruitment, transportation, and/ or harbouring of persons…typically for sexual exploitation or forced labour.” In simple terms, however, human trafficking is a crime that targets the most vulnerable people in society—mostly women and children—and exploits them abominably, while emptying their lives of hope. According to The A21 Campaign, a group renowned for its dedication to eradicating social injustice, only 1 to 2% of victims are ever found.
Shae, who has received both the National Freedom Award (2012) and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012) for her outstanding work, and Johanna—with [freethem] and JQ Fitness in tow—are helping people realize that the injustice of human slavery
“is happening in our own backyards” and that “we need to take a stand and fight to protect our very own citizens.” - Shae Invidiata
Thankfully, awareness is being brought to the subject. Recently, Johanna Quinn, owner of the GTA’s JQ Fitness gyms, organized a second annual Iluvthis Boot Camp fundraiser in the interest of ending this crime. All proceeds from the April 13th event, which took place in Mississauga, were donated to [free-them]: an organization that—in its founder, Shae Invidiata’s, words—is “dedicated to working closely with all levels of government and law enforcement,” and to “raising awareness and funds to fight human trafficking in Canada and abroad.” In fact, in 18 months, [free-them] has helped sponsor the rescue of over 150 victims through its outstanding frontline partner, Walk With Me. Of the victims released, 89% have been Canadian.
This year, 140 people participated in the boot camp—up from last year’s 110 attendees. The event, which lasted a full morning, started off with multimedia presentations and videos about human trafficking, as well as a talk by [free-them]’s Lori Folkerson. Johanna decided to bring awareness to the issue after seeing a presentation by the aforementioned A21 Campaign a few years ago. Looking for a similar charity on Canadian turf, she found [free-them]. As Johanna says,
“I didn’t initially realize human trafficking was an issue in Canada, but when I found out, I knew I had to help.” - Johanna Quinn
By Nicolette Little