Suzanne Rogers supports local volunteers in raising funds for sex-trafficked victims
Suzanne Rogers, chair of Covenant House Toronto’s $10- million anti sex-trafficking campaign, with Chef Jonathan Collins.
TORONTO, ON, July 29, 2016 – Suzanne Rogers, chair of Covenant House Toronto’s $10- million anti sex-trafficking campaign, sat down to dinner at a chic downtown bistro last night to support volunteers who are raising funds for the campaign.
Rogers was among some 24 guests at Le Neuf Café where owner Fouzia Boukantar and her group hosted Servings of Hope, the second in a series of successful $200-a-plate dinners this summer aimed to raise awareness and donations for Covenant House’s anti-trafficking efforts. Last night’s dinner raised $7,500 towards the $20,000 goal for series to hit by September. To date, the events have raised more than $12,500.
“We’re finding that once people recognize this terrible crime is happening to girls here in our city, they were more than willing to help,” said Boukantar. “We were honoured to have the support of Suzanne Rogers and we hope to inspire other Toronto restaurants to get involved in this way.”
She explains that restauranteurs can host their own Servings of Hope event, even if it’s by designating only one of their tables on one night and donating the price of the meals.
Toronto has been identified as a trafficking hub and police estimate the number of victims locally is in the thousands. Primarily a domestic crime, most victims are girls, as young as 13, and on average 17.
Inspired to combat this heinous crime, Boukantar, Leo Slocombe, long-time Covenant House supporter, and friends Anna S. Wong and Marc Becquey, have come together to organize the events. Celebrity Chef Jonathan Collins is donating his talents to prepare the fare. Last night’s event was billed as “an Evening in Paris”.
“Like many people, I was unaware that sex trafficking was a major problem in our own community. It is intolerable that this is happening right here and I believe we are compelled to take action,” Rogers said.
Covenant House, the country’s largest agency for homeless youth, has launched the fundraising campaign to support its anti-trafficking plan over the next five years.
The agency’s “Urban Response Model” proposes measures ranging from prevention to enhanced victim services, including a transitional housing program to open this fall. It also includes a research component to evaluate the services and an online resource hub.
Contact: Rose Cino
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