Blog

Human trafficking affects the most left behind and marginalized. In Canada, this issue disproportionately impacts Indigenous women, migrants and immigrants, and people living with disabilities, among others. As part of Canada’s National Strategy, the government has integrated five pillars to combat human trafficking domestically. Empowerment, prevention, protection, prosecutions, and partnerships. 

Value of Employment Experience for Survivors of Exploitation

“Having an employment opportunity through my program at Next Step has taught me new skills for entering into the workforce, and it has also helped me recognize and build on the strengths I already had. I’ve gained a sense of financial security in a safe atmosphere which gives me choice and opportunities to pursue an education as I enter into independent living.” – Survivor 

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Economic Empowerment and Survivor Enterprise

Economic empowerment is an ongoing barrier for women survivors of sexual exploitation. At NSM, we believe in the creative inspiration of each woman and have developed a microenterprise program to support entrepreneurship in our participants. There are four times more women entrepreneurs today than 40 years ago, and the majority of small businesses in Canada are micro-enterprises. We believe that this is a massive opportunity for the women we serve and aim to leverage the industry for empowerment.

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Staff Spotlight: Denise

As a small business owner, Denise Cormier knows what it’s like to feel satisfaction in her work and experience joy in what she has created. She also knows how much being a part of a grassroots business has built up her own confidence and abilities. This is the vision that she has for the women in Next Step Ministries and that she brings to the For the Sparrows program, the social enterprise portion of the organization.

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Volunteer Spot Light: Sparrow Houses Live In’s

In 2021, our live-in’s completed a combined total of 11,232 hours of volunteer time. This is not only an incredible contribution to the work that NSM is able to do, but also an incredible sacrifice these two women make for the sake of loving survivors of sexual exploitation. Allow us to introduce you to these rockstar volunteers! 

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Trauma Informed Care and It’s Use for Survivors of Sexual Exploitation

For survivors of sexual exploitation, trauma is not a theoretical subject full of possibilities. It is real life, happening in real-time, and is a lifelong journey. Trauma is woven into the very existence of sexual exploitation, for the people who have been exposed to this, it is critical to have public awareness about trauma. Trauma refers to an experience that exceeds an individual’s ability to cope. (Exodus Road, 2021)

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Take a Peek into NSM’s Parlour Ministry

Our outreach program is multi-faceted, and a part of this umbrella hub includes building intentional friendships with Calgary’s massage parlours. Our heart is to gain the trust of the women working in parlours by consistently showing up each month to deepen layers of trust and demonstrate that we care. Practically, we do this by showing up with a little gift for them, usually flowers, snacks, or beauty packs…

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Work Experience Training for Women’s Empowerment

NSM started an 8-week work experience training for the women we serve to learn general business information and then gain hands-on experience in coffee roasting or screen printing. This has come in response to providing more intentional work training and business education. NSM and For the Sparrows (FTS) collectively work together…

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Volunteer Worship Night

Just recently, NSM hosted our first ever volunteer worship night. Volunteers and staff were able to join together for a small in-person gathering with an online attendance option at our partner church, Dalhousie Church. Many thanks to them for offering their beautiful space for us to gather. There is no doubt that big things will happen in 2022…

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Christmas Letter

Let me set the context. In this season where we celebrate the earthly birth of God in the person of Jesus Christ, it is so important to keep in mind that every person, let me repeat that every person conceived, was created in the image of God. NO exceptions.

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Sponsor a Survivor

At NSM, we build relationships with the participants and their families. This bond doesn’t end when a woman moves on from our program. We continue to support her as she pursues healthy opportunities and creates new futures.

We have gathered the Christmas lists of our alumni and their families…

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5 Ways You Can Support Survivors this Christmas

After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Next Step Ministries invites you to join us on Giving Tuesday; a global movement dedicated to giving and unity. Giving Tuesday is November 30th, which is one of, or even the largest donation day in the calendar for most nonprofits. We have been looking forward to this day with anticipation!

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Staff Spotlight: Sharon

“I once heard that if you like asking for money, you go into sales, but if you want to change communities by improving people’s lives, you become a fundraiser. That’s the power of what we do – building lasting and trusting relationships with donors and supporters who share not only a passion for the organizations we serve but also the dollars to make a difference.” 

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New Executive Director Announcement

On behalf of the Board, I am honoured to announce George McGregor as our new Executive Director for Next Step Ministries (NSM). George has been an active Board member since 2010, when he started as treasurer and then became Board Chair in 2018.

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Every Step Campaign

Traffickers are harvesting victims daily over the internet because they have a captive audience through online social media. There is new software that allows predators to disguise their voices and facial image. Often youth are unaware of who they are talking to online because of this software. At NSM, we want to meet victims of sexual exploitation at every step in their journey…

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Retirement News

Phil Reimer, Executive Director of Next Step Ministries (NSM), has announced his plan to retire effective June 30, 2021. As part of the transition, the Board is pleased to appoint former Board Chair and Pastor George McGregor as the Interim Executive Director. “We are extremely appreciative to Phil for the critical role he had in co-founding Next Step Ministries in 2010…”

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Freedom 8848 (Everest Challenge)

When first learning about the problem of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking — that in Canada alone thousands of people are being exploited right here every day, it can seem insurmountable. It can feel hopeless. The problem can feel too big for any one person to make a difference. But as long as people are asking “what can I do?” there is hope.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Terry

The Stroll outreach consists of monthly Stroll Walks, quarterly Community Dinners, and an annual Valentine Outreach Banquet. All events occur in SE Calgary on a ‘stroll’ area where we know that workers in the sex trade are consistently present. We go out on the stroll walk to meet with these workers…



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Live-In (Urban Missionary)

Team Lead. Sister. Friend. These are all in the job description when it comes to being a live-in here at Next Step Ministries. The housing part of our program is crucial in teaching the women how to build ordinary moments into their lives, and how to pick up the necessary life skills to flourish once they leave our program. Being the live-in is such an important role because…

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Trafficking Hub

115 million. That’s the average number of visitors that the world’s largest pornography site has each day. In 2019 Pornhub had over 42 billion visitors, that’s more than Facebook, Twitter, and Netflix combined. It’s impossible to count the number of videos that are posted on the site because new content is being uploaded every hour, with 6.83 million videos uploaded in 2019 alone…

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I Had Lunch Next to a Pimp

I had been in anti-trafficking meetings all day with local organizations I partner with and hadn’t eaten a full meal all day (sorry mom). I was planning to shop until I met some friends in the area later that night, but I decided to stop at a restaurant nearby for a (very) late lunch. Since it was oddly cool for mid-June in Arkansas, I decided to sit outside on the restaurant’s patio…

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Not for Kids

If a picture tells a thousand words, then a video must tell tens of thousands of words. We are living in a hyper-visual world, and the images that we see every day can build us up, or they can demoralize and tear us down. The media that we weave into our lives can be a catalyst for our freedom or the chains that keep us in bondage… 

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Porn and Relationships

I have been beyond blessed to walk alongside people as we navigate our lives in a hyper-sexualized world, and one of my dear friends has agreed to share her side of the story about struggling with pornography and how it has impacted her life. I invite you into this loving, non-judgemental space, and into this honest conversation Nona and I had about how watching porn affected her relationships with the people around her…

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Anti-Exploitation but Pro Porn

Come on, just once. Everyone’s watching it. This is the best way to find out about what girls like. It relieves stress and makes you feel great. If you don’t watch this, you are such a prude. While these phrases can be referring to anything, they are often heard when people talk about pornography. In a culture that has turned sexuality into a war cry and has made it mainstream to follow your desires wherever they may lead…

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Shining a Light on Slavery

We just wrapped up January which was Human Trafficking Awareness Month. But as we step into this new month it’s important to remember that advocacy is not a one-time donation but rather a year round mindset. There are countless opportunities for us to continue to raise awareness; from the clothes we buy, the websites we frequent, the people we follow on social media…

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Donation Needs

There are two types of people in the world: those that love to move and those that do not. Either the thought of packing your life into labelled boxes, relocating across the city (or country) and then getting to settle into a whole new place totally excites you, or it stresses you out. Personally – while I’m not a huge fan of moving – I can get behind the idea of rearranging and decorating a new room to make it my own and getting to transform a…

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Ride for Refuge

When you look at the scope of sexual exploitation in the world and our cities, it can seem pretty overwhelming. One of the biggest things that prevent people from taking action is that they feel like they can’t make a difference. However, the truth is that you don’t have to be raiding brothels to make a difference or effect change, all you have to do is take a step forward into supporting those affected by sexual exploitation….

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Erasing the Past

I want you to imagine the worst day of your life. Do you have it in mind yet? It’s a hard thing to do because as humans we’re wired to forget the most painful parts of our lives because we don’t like to experience pain. Now I want you to imagine for a moment that you have a tattoo that will forever commemorate and remind you of that day. While this scenario is nothing more than an extremely uncomfortable exercise for most of us, for those exiting sexual exploitation, it is often a harsh reality.

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World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

The women that we work with at Next Step Ministries are more often victims of sexual exploitation rather than victims of human trafficking. There is an undeniable connection between the rise of sexual exploitation and the increase in human trafficking. Which is why we have written this post for you today, on World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, in the hopes of bringing the criminal act of human trafficking into focus for you. And to hopefully shed some light on this otherwise hidden subject….

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#HerNextStep

Our feet take us everywhere. They are the most basic form of transportation, and one trend in our society nowadays is to count how many steps we take each day. Our smart watches track how many steps our feet take, how far we travel, and how fast we got to our destination. While technological advances can monitor our every action, one thing they can’t track is the different steps we take in our lives. Whether we take steps towards achieving our dreams, towards creating a family, or towards personal happiness, every day we have a choice to take a step towards our future or to…

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Sexual Exploitation vs Human Trafficking

At Next Step Ministries, we choose to use the phrase sexual exploitation instead of human trafficking when describing the hardships our women have been through because they often do not identify as human trafficking victims. The United Nations defines human trafficking as, “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or…

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Finding Redemption Through Christ

There are an estimated 3000 (City of Calgary study 2014) women trapped in prostitution in Calgary. Many of these women did not plan to have this life, and no matter how they got caught up in it they often times don’t know how to escape it. Walking away from any lifestyle is hard, especially one that is not only seldom talked about but also one that few people take notice of. These women often feel unnoticed, unimportant, and unequipped for escaping their chains. That is where we come into the picture , and into the lives of these precious women.

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