Written by: Cindy Morrone with Emily Pelley
“I began to learn about human trafficking here at home and the extent to which it was happening all around us. Through the RCMP, I learned that the average age of recruitment into the sex trade was 12 years old, and traffickers often target the more vulnerable young people in our communities. I knew that my work and energies up to this point had set me up to engage in this problem.” — Emily Pelley
Thank you so much for joining us today! As we continue the series of Living The Dream it is our hope that as you read Emily’s post that you may be encouraged to raise awareness of social injustices brought to your attention.
Cindy : Please introduce yourself, Emily, we would love to get to know you better.
Emily: My name is Emily Pelley. I currently live in Halifax, NS with my Husband, Travis. We are expecting our first baby in June, so our family is gearing up for some exciting changes this year! I was born and raised here in Nova Scotia, and I have a very supportive, God-fearing family around me.
Cindy: Emily, what God-given passions do you have?
Emily: Ever since I was young, I have had a passion to help people who were in need. Growing up in a church where missions was a priority really fostered this global awareness and I found myself being drawn to people and causes where I could be useful. I have a strong conviction that the life God has given me is not simply meant for me to enjoy, but to take what I have been given and apply it to make a difference. In university, I studied international development and have been fortunate enough to travel and serve people in many parts of the world.
Cindy: When did you realize these were passions that you needed to act on?
Emily: In the last few years, God has really turned my heart toward my own country, and particularly my city of Halifax. I began to learn about human trafficking here at home and the extent to which it was happening all around us. Through the RCMP, I learned that the average age of recruitment into the sex trade was 12 years old, and traffickers often target the more vulnerable young people in our communities. I knew that my work and energies up to this point had set me up to engage in this problem.
Cindy: Please share with our readers what you have done with these passions.
Emily: My first step was to find ways to raise awareness about this problem. Myself and a group of friends started a social justice network through our university church to help educate people about this problem. Human trafficking is getting more attention in our media lately, and many churches and individuals are beginning to ask what they can do. In 2015, I had the opportunity to do a Tedx Talk about Human Trafficking in Canada (see link). It was rewarding to have the chance to reach more people with this important information. I have been involved in different initiatives across the city. In October 2015, I chaired an event through World Vision Canada called Inspire Justice Halifax, which brought people from across the Maritimes together to talk about the social justice issues our communities were facing and how people were responding. I have also been a part of an initiative through Open Door Women’s Care Centre that is working to develop a response program for victims and for those at risk of being trafficked. I am eager for what the future will bring and how God will use me.
Cindy: You have received the 2015 Red Cross Young Humanitarian Award of the Year! Congratulations! What are your thoughts about receiving this award?
Emily: At first, I was a bit embarrassed. I’m not used to receiving that kind of attention, and I almost felt guilty that I was being recognized among the amazing people I work with in this city who serve so faithfully. But by receiving this award, I was given a larger platform for raising awareness about human trafficking in our city as well as promoting the positive engagement of young people in serving their communities. I am deeply honoured to have received this award, and my prayer is that it will serve to encourage other young people that they can make a difference where they are working. And all the glory goes to God.
Cindy: Please speak to those readers who may be very passionate about a social injustice but do not know how to become involved in making a difference.
Emily: The questions I am often asked are, what can I do? How can I be involved in social justice?
I feel like I often disappoint with my answer because there is no one, clear path to follow. What it requires is eyes to see where you are living, working, learning, etc, and asking- what is in my hand to do today? What am I passionate about? What moves my heart? How can I contribute to positive change? Then we just have to be willing to do whatever is needed. God is so faithful to take our obedience and use it to make a greater impact then we could have imagined. The key is to be willing, to be committed, and to trust Him.
Spoken word- “Don’t let it in“
Cindy: Emily, thank you so very much for sharing with us! We so appreciate you! It is my prayer that we all will be encouraged to look around and see the need. And in faith, be willing to do whatever God has called us to do! Have a look at the links Emily has included, believe me you don’t want to miss them!!!
Emily Pelley (nee. Zinck) is a PhD candidate in the Interdisciplinary program at Dalhousie University, doing research on refugee children and youth affected by armed conflict. She is also a researcher with the Romeo Dallaire Child Soldier’s Initiative. Emily is passionate about the fight against human trafficking and she has used any avenues that come her way to raise awareness and mobilize people to stand up to this injustice. She is also actively involved in her church and has volunteered in many different community groups organizations, including the Canadian Red Cross, Teachers Without Borders, Dubai Women’s College, Shiloh University Church, and Networks for Change. Emily lives with her husband, Travis, in Halifax, NS.