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Red Deer’s Magdalene House wants to help more women leave the sex trade

Fundraiser will be held Feb. 22
David Bouchard

A fundraiser to help reopen Magdalene House, a local recovery home for sex-trade workers, will be held on Feb. 22 in Red Deer.

A wine and cheese reception will be held at the Welikoklad Event Centre on the Annual Day of Awareness of Human Trafficking — along with a screening of the film Tricked. The documentary features interviews with victims of human trafficking, law-enforcement officers, as well as players from the other side of the equation: the pimps and johns that have taken advantage of young women.

The reception begins at 6 p.m. At 7 p.m. there will be an address from Mayor Tara Veer and the honorable Stephanie McLean, Minister of the Status of Women.

The informative evening, which will include a silent auction, will raise money to reopen the local Magdalene House. It was temporarily shut down in Red Deer last fall due to a lack of funding.

Staff at the non-profit have worked since April 2015 to help get sex-trade workers off the street. A total of 11 women were taken in. David Bouchard, president of the organization’s board, stated that three of the women stayed from six to 12 months and got their lives on a better track as Magdalene House staff drove them to counselling, addictions services and other programs.

“We would like to be able to help more women,” said Bouchard. But the group ran out of privately donated money and was forced to close until new operational funding can be obtained from the government or United Way.

An annual budget of $275,000 is needed to shelter and help four women at a time at the staffed facility. Bouchard hopes the funds raised on Feb. 22 can help restart the recovery home this spring.

Tickets for the 6 p.m. event are $40 from the Black Knight Ticket Centre.