A celebration of true beauty and diversity among women, this modern day, real-life woman fashion show featured women of all ethnicities, shapes and ages. From every day casual wear, to formal wear, wedding gowns and traditional native garments, women just like you and me, embraced the body God gave them and strutted their stuff down the catwalk! I was blown away by the light that emulated from these women, as together, we joined in community to honour our unique and true beauty both within and outwardly.
It was a welcomed change, working with a vibrant and bold color palette, vastly different than my signature KME designs. I thoroughly enjoyed breathing life into this event, creating an intimate and pampered guest experience.
What I loved most was the heart beat of the show- a mission to educate women about modern day slavery, which presents itself in the form of human trafficking and happens right outside our doorsteps here in Canada. Former Miss World Canada 2012 and Human Rights activist, Tara Teng, was the Keynote speaker, who shared powerfully from her heart, providing women with tangible solutions to effectively bring about change.
I’ll be honest and say I was deeply disturbed and troubled by what Tara and the other organizations shared with us. And because of that, I have to speak up… I’d kick myself for not taking this opportunity to do so.
Friends, do you know what human trafficking looks like? Cause I didn’t. Do you understand that slavery still exists? I didn’t. Why? Because it doesn’t look like what I pictured and has evolved like every other industry, to a modern, elaborate operation.
“When you hear about human trafficking in the sex trade, most people have an image of women being smuggled into Canada from abroad and forced to work in seamy brothels. But there’s a thriving trafficking trade right here at home and it’s run by pimps who prey on the naïve and innocent. It could be a young woman from your neighbourhood, maybe the daughter of a friend, or the girl next door. And her entry into the sex trade is rarely by choice. It starts in a bar, a club or even online: a meeting with someone who makes the girl feel special when they find themselves isolated, lonely and confused. But soon that relationship turns ugly and by then it’s too late to escape.” CTV news
90% of prostitutes in Canada are Canadian born and are trafficked unwillingly into the trade! They’re tricked and forced into it by pimps posing as their boyfriend, sold for money and condemned to a life being treated as a commodity. They’re held in homes against their will, driven from “gig” to “gig” and watched like hawks by those who “own” them, with little chance of escaping.
Here I was judging these women, thinking they chose this lifestyle for themselves, that they were unfortunately born into it or fell prey to the lustre of easy money… that they could simply walk away and stop it if they really wanted to or tried hard enough. Lord, forgive me. How blind and ignorant I have been!
Friends, I plead with you to take a few minutes out of your day and understand the injustice that’s happening right in front of our eyes. These videos here tore the veil from my own eyes and this organization, Defend Dignity, gave me the tools I needed to truly understand what’s happening in our city and how I can take a stance.
If you’ve read until here, you’re ignorant no longer. It’s our job to stand up for what is right, help our sisters who can’t help themselves and give individuals their worth and identity back. God made us all equal- all worthy of a life of freedom!
You can help. You can make a difference. Even small acts done in love become big!
It’s not just what you’re thinking. Giving money to worthy causes is a beautiful gift, but there are other, sometimes more powerful ways, of giving voice to those who can’t defend themselves. Write a letter to your MP, share this post or any of the links I’ve provided on your social media pages. Write a blog post or band together and join an organizations fight. Just do something!
Thank you to Holly and Shaley, Runway to Freedom’s organizers for seeking me out for this fabulous opportunity and creating a space for these women’s cries to be heard! I loved being a part of such an incredible cause, using the gifts and abilities God has blessed me with.
xo Kailey-Michelle | Principal + Founder
Photos by the beautiful and talented Kristie Robin Photography