On April 14 2014, the world looked on outraged and heartbroken as we heard that more than 200 young girls were kidnapped by extremists in Nigeria. Out of these girls, less than fifty have managed to escape. I shudder to think of what has happened to the rest of them. Today, we have reached the one year mark for the kidnapping of these girls.
Sadly, this atrocious act does not stand alone. In our own nation, over one hundred Aboriginal females have been taken from under our own watch. To date, as known and reported by the RCMP in 2014, there have been over one thousand Aboriginal Canadian women and girls that are missing or murdered.
The number one commodity in the world is humans. And the main people trafficked and traded are women and girls. The women that are most vulnerable are those that come from fragmented socio-economic backgrounds. They are the most vulnerable members of our world. And instead of lending them the support they need, they fall prey to the most merciless fates. And we know the trend: we know they will be targeted simply because they are vulnerable. We know they will be targeted simply because they are female. And yet we fail to protect them.
As today is the one year mark of the Nigerian school girls’ kidnapping, I have been deeply reflecting on that and similar incidents. Though they have happened in different countries and have been executed by different actors, these events are not disconnected. They are not random. We see this happening at home and around the world. We are allowing our most vulnerable members to be targeted, abused, used, and forgotten. We are failing them.
I worry about the message that this sends to our children and grandchildren. Being born into difficult circumstances should not determine ones fate in life. Every child should have a fair shot at a life filled with rights: a right to speak their mind, a right to be educated, and a right to live with dignity.
As a legislator, I feel it is part of my duty to make these sentiments a reality. As a human being, I feel it is part of all our nature to come together to find a way to end these devastating acts. I hope that we are able to expand our moral imaginations and find a sustainable solution for these issues. Let us not fail our girls any longer.