Thursday, June 30, 2011
WELCOME BACK . . .
My White Picket Fence Newsletter got sidetracked for way too long and I am sorry for the delay. I know I said that before, but since this is not a „regular‟ newsletter, I guess I can get away with it, somewhat! But here I am – back and stronger than ever, ready to go.
December 2009 was our 4th Christmas without Jessie and of course, last year, Christmas 2010 was our 5th.
March 2010 was 4 years since Jessie vanished and this March 29th was 5 long years without knowing anything.
Time just keeps going on. Everyone is getting older, people are having babies and getting married – and sadly, others have passed away. Life never stops, even when you want it to wait, it just goes on and on. And you know that is not really a bad thing.
I would love to have just sat there and waited for Jessie to come home, but that would have been so unfair to my other daughters, Crystal, Katie & Jennee, and to my grandchildren, Maddie, JJ & Ili. I have a missing daughter, but I have other family who is not missing and they need me to be there for them, so I have tried very hard to be here for everyone. I know that Jessie would not have ever wanted to have me forget about her sisters or to stop living because of what has happened to her. Another thing I think about is that I am also living FOR Jessie.
I pray for the day we find Jessie and I pray even harder that she will be found alive – which is what I believe with all my heart. If Jessie is not, she still needs to come home. I believe she would not rest in peace until we have her home with us.
I have gathered enough information so that I know what to do for Jessie when she is found and brought home alive. She will need a chance to go from human trafficking victim to survivor and I know when she has had some time to heal, she will be front and center in the fight against the crime that stole so many years of her life.
I know this crime can be stopped, and it is time for us to do that. It can‟t be done by one or even one hundred organizations and it can‟t be done in one hundred or even one thousand rescues. It will take a long time, but I am here until the end. I have dedicated the rest of my life to bringing awareness to the issue of human trafficking everywhere and to everyone I possibly can, especially where my grandchildren are concerned – I could NEVER live through this ordeal again.
M.A.T.H. WAS FOUNDED IN APRIL 2009
I founded M.A.T.H. on Facebook one day when I was chatting with Lisa Brant, a friend of mine, who is the mother of a human trafficking survivor, Shauna Newell. Newell. We were talking about starting a group and we both had the same name in mind for it. I sent her my little write up I had jotted down a few days earlier (posted below) and I just went for it. I started by putting putting up a M.A.T.H. group and cause on Facebook – and both of them have over 5,000 members. One day – God willing – it will be an actual non-profit organization organization helping human trafficking victims become survivors like Shauna and others like her and to educate educate the world about the crime of human trafficking.
Prior to that day, I had been thinking about a name for an organization that I wanted to start. Human trafficking trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the the world and it has touched me personally . . . as my daughter Jessie Foster is a trafficking victim. Now, keep keep in mind I had and still have no idea how to start an an organization, so I am hoping that with all the connections I have made in the past 5+ years, someone someone will be able to advise me somewhat. If you have a suggestion - please do not hesitate to contact me me with it.
This is what I had come up:
M.A.T.H. (Mothers Against Trafficking Humans) Do the M.A.T.H.! 2.5 million people are trafficked yearly around the world* PLUS a global annual market of about $42.5 billion** EQUALS who is getting rich?
*The United Nations estimates 2.5 million people from 127 different countries are being trafficked around the world annually. **The Council of Europe states there is a global annual market of about $42.5 billion.
So, like I said, I have been very busy bringing awareness about human trafficking to others. I want to do everything in my power to prevent this from happening to others. I want to prevent any other person to be kidnapped and forced into a life of being forced to do horrible things and kept away from their families. I want to prevent other mothers from ever having to live what I have lived through for the past half decade.
I go into high schools; launches of new organizations that have started to combat and education on human trafficking; conferences; fundraisers; benefit concerts and much, much more in my quest to bring attention to Jessie Foster, international endangered missing woman, and Canada‟s most well-known victim of human trafficking and about human trafficking issues.
I was invited to be a guest speaker at the 19th ANNUAL WOMAN’S MEMORIAL MARCH in Vancouver on February 14th. What an honour it was. I was also given the chance to drum during the walk and I have no words to describe how emotional that was. I loved it.
One of the many things that happened at the 4 year mark of Jessie‟s disappearance was Jessie‟s case airing on CTV‟s Canada AM on March 29, 2010. Myself and Diana Trepkov, who is Canada‟s leading forensic artist, were both on the show. Diana did several age enhancement drawings of Jessie and they aired during the segment.
Another human trafficking victim who is now a survivor helping others is Timea Nagy. Timea was brought to Canada from Hungary years ago and forced to work at a strip club. She was rescued and has founded a human trafficking organization called Walk-With-Me. In early March of 2010 Timea contacted me about naming an award she was giving to Officers, Social Workers, members of the Media and other Front Line Workers who are in the fight to combat human trafficking, after Jessie and I. She wanted me to come to Toronto, ON for the ceremony. I was honoured and so proud of how much Jessie has and is continuing to help so many people.
I was at the Walk-With-Me “GLENDENE & JESSIE FOSTER AWARD” ceremony in Toronto on April 15, 2010 – meeting the person whose bill passed into law for a mandatory minimum sentence for those convicted of human trafficking anyone 18 years old or younger, Member of Canadian Parliament, Joy Smith; Assistant Professor of Law at the University of British Columbia and author of INVISIBLE CHAINS: Canada’s Underground World of Human Trafficking, which includes Jessie‟s case, Benjamin Perrin; Chief Armand La Barge, former Chief of the York Regional Police and the President of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police; and many, many other influential people who are combating human trafficking and I am right there beside them all, doing everything I can to help. In 2010 Timea wrote a book called Walk-With-Me in which she mentions Jessie‟s human trafficking case. The books mentioned above are written by two of Canada‟s experts on human trafficking and two of Jessie‟s biggest supporters.
Also in April 2010 we did two anti-human trafficking presentations for one of our local high schools – actually, it was my old high school.
And we were at the Comedy Factory in Edmonton. They held their second fundraiser for Jessie. The owner, Bob Angeli even won the raffle draw for the painting by J. Baltzer and donated it back to me.
On May 8, 2010 we went to Kelowna to meet Denise Allan, the mother of Charles Horvath. Charles is from the UK and he went missing in Kelowna, BC Canada in 1989 when he was just 20 years old. For more information, here is a link to his site – http://www.charleshorvath-allan.memory-of.com/.
May 27, 2010 was Jessie‟s 26th birthday and it was the 5th birthday since she was missing. You would think it would get easier with time but it doesn‟t. 2011 was Jessie‟s champagne birthday – it was her 27th on the 27th. I have not seen or talked to my daughter since she was 21 years old. Like I said, it really does not get easier with time, but we have learned coping skills to deal with what we are living through, so we can live as happy as we possible can, with Jessie missing.
In June of 2010 we did two more anti-human trafficking presentations at another high school here in Kamloops, From that day I think that teachers all over did a lot of thinking about human trafficking education during the summer break, because we started getting more and more calls and emails to do our presentations in the fall.
June also gave us the honour host the Walk4Justice 2010 walkers at my home. It was so awesome. We had tents all over the yard – and Dominos Pizza here in Kamloops delivered a dozen pizzas to us for supper. And then this year, we had the honour of receiving the W4J 2011 walkers when they arrived here in town. We had lunch here, and then we went to the Kamloopa Indian Arbor for Dominos Pizza supper and to set up their campsite.
But I think that the best thing that happened in June 2010 was the passing of MP Joy Smith’s Bill C-268 into law on June 29th. As I write this – it was one year ago today. This law brought mandatory minimum sentencing for people convicted of human trafficking someone 18 years old or younger. How proud we were that day!!
In July, I was pleased to set it up that MP Joy Smith’s office held a barbeque to welcome the Walk4Justice in Winnipeg. It is amazing how so many of us are connected in so many ways as we fight the war against human trafficking and how we are all there for each other.
There was also a fundraiser for Jessie called the JESSIE FOSTER DINE N DANCE. It was an outdoor concert put on by a childhood friend of Jessie and her older sister, Crystal, Aaron Leman. And again Dominos donated the food. They gave us 45 large pizzas – all assorted toppings. THANK YOU DOMINOS. We honestly DO NOT order pizza from anywhere else.
July 22nd, 1986 my best-friend, Brenda Rose gave birth to her 2nd son, James Robert. I met Brenda in June of 1987 just before James turned 1. We have been friends ever since. Our children celebrated each other’s birthdays and every other holiday together like cousins their entire childhood. Sadly, just after James’ 16th birthday he died. James was struck by a car at the bottom of their driveway, in their small community of 300 people. It was BC Day – Monday, August 5, 2002. So, on July 22, 2010,
Brenda and I drove to a Chilliwack, not far from Vancouver, to attend the Family Retreat that my friend Lillie holds every year for people who have lost a loved one. It is an amazing place – along the Fraser River, in a very quiet area. She is lucky to live there. And I am happy she does, because Lillie has had a lot of bad luck in her life. In 1974 her not yet 10-year-old son Donnie, drowned in a terrible accident. Then in 1975 her 11-year-old daughter Kathryn-Mary, disappeared. That was in September and in November her remains were found and her killer has never been caught. Then in 1983 her 21-year-old son Butch, out of heartache and pain – as Lillie says – as a direct result of Kath’s murder not being solved, committed suicide. He could not get over his little sister’s unsolved murder. More recently Lillie lost her beloved husband and other family members. Lillie is one of the strongest women I know and love.
In August 2010 I got the honour to do a presentation at the Lower Nicola Indian Band Youth Group. This was my first time talking to children not yet in high school. The group was ages 6 to 18 and they were all anxious to learn how to protect themselves from this horrible crime.
October was another good month. I wrote an article that was printed in CrimeWatch Canada Magazine, which made me pretty happy. The article is called Prostitution – the world’s oldest profession . . . and the only profession to allow its workers to be KIDNAPPED &/or KILLED. Some of you may have read it.
Also in October my friend, Brenda Rose and I went down to Vancouver and had the honour of meeting Professor Benjamin Perrin and his wife at his book launch for INVISIBLE CHAINS.
Then near the end of October I was invited to a second book launch for INVISIBLE CHAINS in Edmonton. It was part of a fundraiser for MLAP and I was one of their guests of honour. And it was an honour. And I got to meet Benjamin Perrin a second time. After emails with him as far back as 2007, it was such a pleasure to get to know him in person.
While I was in Edmonton I was contacted by a reporter / cameraman from Albert Primetime at Access TV / CTV to do an interview for a mini-documentary he wanted to do about Jessie’s case. We finished the interview in Calgary the following spring, and it aired shortly after that. The name is DOMESTIC HUMAN TRAFFICKING.
In December I was invited to Vancouver as the guest of honour at the Salvation Army’s HOPE IN THE CITY Lunch. I was the HOPE GIVER. To know that out of many, many people, I was chosen as the one who gives so much hope to others is amazing to me.
2011 has been so busy. People want to hear about Jessie’s case and they want to know about her case. And they wanted to know about human trafficking.
In January several things happened. First the TV show MISSING finally aired Jessie’s case. They originally told me they would back in 2007 but nothing ever happened. Then in December I found an old email from the producer and I messaged him back and told him that Jessie is still missing if they still wanted to do a segment about her. He got right back to me and it aired 2 weeks later.
Then CNN’s sister station, HLN’s NANCY GRACE: FIND 50 PEOPLE IN 50 DAYS aired an interview with me about Jessie’s case. Nancy Grace was another program that I had been trying to get to do a show about Jessie since 2007, so I was pretty happy about that.
Then at the end of the month I went to Toronto for the launch of the ALLIANCE AGAINST MODERN SLAVERY.
They invited me to be a speaker at the Freedom Benefit Concert the first night and the next day I was a guest speaker and on the panel at the Inaugural Conference. I again met up with MP Joy Smith and got the honour of meeting Jamie MacIntosh, the founder of International Justice Mission Canada.
There were many radio interviews happening at this time too, but the one that I found interesting was when I was in Toronto I got a call at my hotel about an interview for a radio station in Vancouver. The funny thing about it is that Toronto and Vancouver are about 4,200 kilometers or 2,600 miles apart and I live about 350 kilometers or 220 miles from Vancouver - yet they found me in Ontario!
In February, another HLN show, ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL did a Skype interview with me about Jessie’s disappearance right from my kitchen.
February was also a busy month for interviews and school presentations. In March I went to Calgary to present to one of the largest high schools in the city. We also finished the interview for the human trafficking mini-documentary for Alberta Primetime at the presentation.
Then in March we reached the 5 year mark of Jessie’s disappearance. That was not an easy time, but one thing that really made it easier to cope with, was that I was in Ottawa, ON – the capitol of Canada – at a national human trafficking conference hosted by the R.C.M.P. (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) and the Ontario Chiefs of Police Association. There were officers and experts from across the country and around the world at this conference. I was honoured to be there representing C.F.H.T. (Canada Fights Human Trafficking) as the BC / Western Canada Honourary Representative. I met a lot of excellent contacts there and I learned a lot, too. Of that I am very grateful. It also showed me how far we had come in the past 5 years – Jessie’s disappearance has changed many things. She would be very proud of what has been done in her name.
In April I was invited to go to a human trafficking forum in Langley. I drove there with Mark Price from the Kamloops and District Crime Stoppers (he is also one of the people I do some of my presentations with). It was very interesting and I got to meet Jamie MacIntosh from IJM again, who introduced me to Mark Wollenberg the IJM Regional Representative in Western Canada. Mark and I have met on other occasions, giving talks at RAISE THEIR VOICE in Red Deer, AB, also in April and then again at the FREEDOM REIGNS – INNOCENCE IS NOT FOR SALE benefit concert in May.
CFHT held a national fundraiser walk in April called traffickjam. I was the host for the Kamloops walk. Miss Kamloops, Vanessa Espig joined us. It was Vanessa and her friends who held the FREEDOM REIGNS concert. As a matter of fact, I am meeting with Vanessa tomorrow at our local CHAPTERS bookstore. Vanessa has convinced them to let her / us – set up a table with human trafficking awareness books and talk to people about this issue. I am heading up there with Mark Price from Crime Stoppers. Vanessa said the sweetest thing in a radio interview the other day . . . she said I was one of her role models. I hope I can live up to that!
Later in May I went back to Toronto. I was invited to be a keynote speaker at THE 21st CENTURY MOTHERHOOD MOVEMENT: Mothers Speak Out on Why We Need to Change the World and How To Do It book launch and the INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON MOTHERHOOD, ACTIVISM, ADVOCACY, AGENCY. I was one of the women who were asked to write a chapter for this book. There are over 80 chapters and each one was written by a different author. Go figure, I autographed some books!!
June has been spent getting ready for some upcoming events, such at IGNITING THE ROAD TO JUSTICE tour in August that Miss Canada, Tara Teng is hosting. I am helping with the Kamloops stop. And the FREETHEM GALA fundraiser that CFHT is hosting in September. I am their guest of honour.
I also want to mention that I have been appointed to the Board of Advisors for the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation. Their goal is to bring human trafficking awareness / education into the schools in the USA, and since this is something I have been doing for several years now, I was so proud and happy for this opportunity.
There have been so many things in the past couple of years, I know I have missed putting many of them here and I apologize for that.
When I re-discovered the two pictures below, and I realized that Jessie did look a lot like me I was thrilled. Jessie has always looks so much like her dad her whole like that no one ever told me she looked like me – UNTIL NOW!
I also have to mention that we are all doing well. We really are. We are strong, healthy and living life to the fullest. We do it for Jessie, but we also do it for each other. Crystal is working hard, but she is like the rest of us, and would rather be living back here, with everyone. Katie and her family are all doing well. We spend a lot of time with JJ, since we are his full-time daycare providers . . . and loving it. Jennee and her family are also doing well. Moving back to Kamloops has been very good for them all, especially Maddie and Ili, since they spend more time with family – especially us!
Thank you all for always being there for Jessie and for us. It means a lot to all of us to have such strong support. I know I would not be where I am today without you all.
Please look for and pray for all missing people and support their families in all ways possible, we need it.
With all my heart and all my love, Glendene and family.
FACEBOOK MissingJessie Foster – http://www.facebook.com/MissingJessieFoster
FACEBOOK MissingJessie Foster-two – http://www.facebook.com/missingjessie.fostertwo
FACEBOOK Glendene Grant – http://www.facebook.com/glendenegrant
TWITTER – http://twitter.com/#!/MissingJessie
MYSPACE - http://www.myspace.com/jessiesmomglendene