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Miss Burlington helping communities fight Human Trafficking

Burlington Mayor

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Oct 27, 2022

Read The Original Article Here | By: Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

Sarah Cestnick will be competing at Miss World Canada in November and representing our city as Miss Burlington.

I met with Sarah recently to discuss the upcoming competition and her new initiative, ‘The Omega Project’, that helps provide families, teachers, students and more with resources on how to combat human trafficking.

Human trafficking involves recruiting, moving and holding captive victims to exploit them for profit, typically for sexual reasons and/or forced labour.

Sarah has identified that one of the best ways to help in the fight against sex trafficking is through education. The Omega Project aims to help normalize these conversations and encourage open, safe dialogue on building self-confidence, listening to your gut instincts and creating boundaries with social media.

A central tenant of The Omega Project is “Past, Task, and Ask” — a phrase typically used to reflect on a situation and how it is making a person feel. “Past” calls you to question your relationship with a person: how you know them, are they new in your life, etc. “Task” looks at what is being asked from you: make note if the requests keep getting bigger every time, and gauge if you are comfortable with a certain request. Finally, “Ask” encourages you to reach out to others in your life and get their perspectives, and to also check in with yourself and ask if a particular situation feels right to you.

Human trafficking is a major issue across the world, with approximately 50 million people enslaved globally today. In Canada, the average age of a trafficking victim is 17 – that’s why starting these conversations like the ones that ‘The Omega Project’ seeks to have, is critical for students in high school. It is important to note victims of trafficking aren’t targeted by strangers, 92% of victims know their trafficker.

I am so impressed with Sarah for starting this initiative and opening conversations on this important topic with the goal of protecting women and girls from becoming potential victims.

The City of Burlington is cheering you on as you head to Toronto to compete in Miss World Canada and we wish you the best of luck! If you’d like to help Sarah advance into the finals, you can vote for her online here, where every vote is a donation to the Make a Wish Foundation:

You can learn more about ‘The Omega Project’ here:

You can also connect with Sarah directly for speaking engagements and accessing resources here:
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