Magdalene House fundraising continues

Red Deer project

A Red Deer project to house victims of human trafficking is refocusing its efforts on public education while it struggles to get back on its feet.

Magdalene House shut down Nov. 1 after organizers ran out of money. Eleven sex-trafficking victims stayed at the house while it was open for 18 months. Most struggled with addictions and did not stay long.

David Bouchard, president of the organization’s board, said the house opened after $300,000 was raised mostly through public donations.

“We are still hoping we’ll get some funding and we’ll be able to reopen. It just hasn’t happened yet,” said Bouchard on Wednesday.

The goal is to raise $500,000 to fund the house for one year. So far $10,000 has been raised.

He said fundraising events will be held in the next few months and if enough money hasn’t been raised by fall the house will not reopen.

“If it comes, it comes. We have to accept that’s not where people are at in terms of providing service to people who need help. They have other priorities.”

He said the project has not been able to get government funding except for $50,000 from the Alberta Lottery Fund.

Over the next few months the organizatin will focus on developing an awareness program that could be delivered in schools to educate and warn teens about human traffickers who use the Internet to lure victims.

Bouchard said the victims who used the house were Canadian and most were aboriginal.

Magdalene House runs an office and fair trade store at 107-4929 50th St., open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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