Lesley Bikos (@lbikos) takes us on a behind-the-scenes tour of law enforcement culture and introduces us to a world where you have to either fit in, turn a blind eye, or risk it all by speaking up.
A former police officer, Lesley Bikos is a PhD candidate in Sociology at Western University. Her research interests are primarily in the intersection of gender and workplace culture with a current focus on policing and police reform. Lesley is currently working on a nation-wide study of about 85 Canadian police officers and learning more about the impact that police culture has on their on and off-duty lives. She hopes to interview 100 officers by the end of her study.
In this podcast episode, Mia Biondi, Caroline Pugh-Roberts, and AnnaLise Trudell discuss the different ways that we as a community are trying to define and respond to human trafficking in our region. We explore some of the debates surrounding the definition of sex trafficking (should all sex work and prostitution be defined as trafficking?) and the resulting differences in approaches to intervention and political advocacy (should sex work be decriminalized and regulated or rather policed more heavily?). Despite the differences to approaching the issue, what do all ‘sides’ of the discussion agree on?
Mia Biondi is a Registered Nurse with a special interest in increasing healthcare provider awareness and knowledge on human trafficking issues in Canada, as well as organizational readiness to identify, and provide aftercare for trafficked persons. Before beginning a career in nursing she completed a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology studying HIV drug resistance, and post-doctoral fellowships in viral hepatitis and emerging viruses. Following her BScN, Mia worked as the Clinical Coordinator at All Saints Church-Community Centre in Toronto providing comprehensive trauma-informed care for trafficked youth, and drop-in health services for street-involved persons. During this time she led training for city staff, police services, and specialized health teams. She also has clinical experience in public and sexual health, severe and persistent mental health, and pediatrics. In 2015, in collaboration with the Middlesex-London Chapter, Mia submitted a Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario resolution to advocate for increased prevention, identification, and aftercare of trafficked persons. Mia is now completing the Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate at Western University, and is an active member of the London Anti-Human Trafficking Committee.
Caroline Pugh-Roberts is a survivor of eight years of sex trafficking through strip clubs in Ontario and along the 401 corridor. As an executive member of the London Anti-Human Trafficking Committee, she focuses on advocacy and educating others. She has spoken publicly to thousands of people Canada-wide, including advocacy groups and front-line providers. She speaks at John School, a court-mandated program for men who are arrested for buying sex services; and at the other end of the spectrum, runs a sex-worker drop-in at safe space for women in London, ON. She has also been an advisor on training packages for front-line providers for the provinces of both Ontario and British Columbia. She is the recipient of a Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work in this area, and currently a social work student at Fanshawe College. Caroline was recently invited to partake in The First Canadian Experiential Women’s Summit, in Toronto, for survivors of human trafficking who have shared their story with the public. She aspires to pursue a career providing care for women in the sex trade and trafficked persons.
AnnaLise Trudell (@annatrudell) is Manager of Education, Training & Research at Anova (formerly Women’s Community House & Sexual Assault Centre London). She brings extensive analysis of sexual violence and gender dynamics through her research at Western University, and is a seasoned public educator and facilitator with over 500 presentations engaging youth, professionals & post-secondary students through public education. She supports a staff team of 8 individuals who run dozens of youth violence prevention discussion-based groups every year. In her role as Postdoctoral Fellow at Western University, she seeks to amplify the voices of sex workers, offering a harm reduction sex positive approach to looking at the ways in which digital literacy can foster social inclusion and health for sex workers.
As Neo learned, it’s all too easy to take reality for granted. Makes for good Hollywood, sure, but what if all around us — embedded in way we use language, traditions, and organizations — is a world that is more than it might first appear on the surface? Rowa joins us to tell the story of what motivated her to take on the status quo in our current version reality. It is a story about discovering how racism is manifested in society and structured in the institutions all around us.
As she puts, “It’s like waking up from the Matrix.”
Rowa Mohamed recently graduated with a degree in health sciences from Western University. She is highly invested in many social justice and anti-racism efforts in the city — a community provocateur with a passion for equality.
Notes and links
- On Intersectionality: Essential Writings by Kimberlé Crenshaw
- Race and health – Wikipedia
- @LeslieMac tweet regarding Woman’s March
- Son of Baldwin on Facebook and Twitter
- Patricia Hill Collins
- bell hooks
- Frantz Fanon
- Kim Katrin Milan
- Photograph of conversation by Suze Morrison (@DelSuze)
- Race is a Verb [Related blog post]
- Rowa and I participated in a local radio talk show panel on the subject of racism the very next day