Blog post about our Road to Freedom national speaking tour across the U.S.  We launched it in Vancouver, my hometown.

Vancouver. What a dazzling city!

Vancouver skyline with Grouse Mountain as background. Photo cred:  Joyce Fan, Rotaract Club of Burnaby (from this site)

Matthew Friedman, an internationally renown expert on human trafficking & CEO of The Mekong Club, launched a 70 day speaking tour called “Road to Freedom” on June 17, 2016 in Vancouver, BC.  In the spirit of William Wilberforce and Abraham Lincoln, Matt is speaking in 100 venues in 21 cities across North America to raise awareness about the global state of human trafficking and modern slavery. His talk explores the changing human trafficking paradigm; the relationship between human trafficking and slavery; global trends and patterns; new, emerging responses; evolving funding trends; what is working/not working; the role of the private sector; and what is really needed to win the fight. The presentation will offer a glimpse behind the curtain of this terrible human rights abuse – one that is much closer to home than we might expect.

Here’s his second TEDx talk that outlines his mission:

His wife, Sylvia Yu Friedman (that’s me, I’m writing this blog post) is also speaking at various venues on historical sex trafficking “comfort women” and linking it to modern day sex slavery.

In Vancouver, Matt had the privilege of kicking off his corporate speaking engagements at Kodak, an international tech company. Matt and Sylvia presented at the Vancouver Public Library in the evening to a crowd of about 50+ people. The staff in charge of the speakers series at the VPL told us that Matt’s speech was “the most powerful talk” he has ever heard.

Then on Saturday, June 19th, we spoke at Tenth Church, an amazing community with a thriving justice arm that has addressed human trafficking in Canada and Cambodia. Pastor Ken Shigematsu, author of the best-seller God in My Everything, invited us.  Here is Tenth’s promotion of our talk:

On Sunday, June 20th, we shared at the dynamic and international Westwood Church at the Father’s Day service, and after our talk more than 125 people committed to standing against modern slavery and to supporting our cross-America speaking tour in prayer. We were touched to speak with people from Syria and Iran at the service who want to help Middle Eastern refugees who are vulnerable to human trafficking and abuse. Pastors Giulio Gabeli and Lina invited us to speak. Giulio is the author of the highly acclaimed book Grafted In.

Our next stop is Seattle, Washington and then Portland, Oregon….