Alana Robert brought child slavery closer to home on Aug. 24.
The U of M political studies major is the World Vision youth ambassador for central Canada, as well as leader of the World Vision University of Manitoba Student Group. Roberts and the rest of the group put on their first-ever demonstration of child slavery called No Child For Sale at the Portage Avenue entrance of Assiniboine Park this past Saturday afternoon.
"It’s to educate the public about the reality of child labour around the world," said Robert, 19.
The student group dressed up like child workers and acted out what child slavery looked like in other parts of the world, wearing dirty clothes and performing tedious tasks similar to what real child slaves would do, like sewing and cleaning.
Robert said child slavery consists of the three ‘Ds’: dirty, dangerous, and degrading jobs. They are jobs that are hazardous and interfere with their education, health, and social well-being.
"This would include children doing work in agriculture such as fishing and forestry, children doing work which would include sex trafficking and housekeeping, and children doing work in industry like sweatshops, mining, and factory work," Robert outlined.
The goals of the demonstration were to grab people’s attention with the actual demonstration, to raise funds for World Vision, and to gather signatures for their petition asking the Canadian government to do more about child slavery.
Robert understands the hesitation some people may have about donating to a large organization.
"Twenty percent of donations go to administration, and 80% goes to the cause," Robert said. "I can absolutely reassure anyone with any hesitation that their dollar is being put to work and it is making a difference in the lives of others."
As a World Vision ambassador, Robert had the opportunity to go to Rwanda, witnessing several development projects in action.
"I got to meet sponsored children and sponsored communities," Robert said. "I saw schools being built and water wells being placed. I saw people being transformed for the better."
To donate, visit worldvision.ca