![empowerment for hope.jpg](https://files.peakd.com/file/peakd-hive/empoweredlife/23wWpSQ9R9RGZpVw5DPHjzjxWYEnCot9krK7E7onZkPZ1HKRZnRbZyMDBK1EFNVsLW9bR.jpg) This picture portrays the journey of a courageous woman named Wyndolyn Brown. She was bravely re-living some of the lowest moments of her life and laying it all out there for her supporters, while on the screen she exudes the radiant light that she has found in her life despite what she has been through. "You are not your past" she told the audience, "don't let your past define who you are." Her story is one that is filled with trauma and abuse. She is a survivor of human trafficking. This is a darker side to Nova Scotia that gets swept under the hooked rug. Nova Scotia is known for our quant fishing villages and the lighthouse views. We have a reputation of being very welcoming and friendly. There is something that you need to know about us though and that is we actually have [the highest rate of human trafficking per capita in Canada.](https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-005-x/2021001/article/00001-eng.htm), yet no one was talking about it...until now. Winnie grew up in the Preston community here in Nova Scotia. There are communities here that are known for human trafficking and in which this type of thing is going on right in other people's backyards. This is one of them. There is such secrecy around it that they are discouraged to speak up or else add shame to the community and the family. "What happens in the family stays in the family." was something Winnie had grown up hearing, and in this community they are all considered family. This is a proud community and it is a tight knit community. This is also a community that has seen segregation and discrimination at it's worst. They have formed such a close bond because they made it through all of this together and they are still standing. The Preston Tri-township was one of the plots of land given to the black loyalists who were promised their freedom in exchange for participation in the civil war. So, knowing this you can see that the cycles of abuse and shame and trauma run deep. There is generational healing that needs to happen here and Winnie and her team are here to help in any way that they can. ![nsuempower.jpg](https://files.peakd.com/file/peakd-hive/empoweredlife/23zS5EnLRpty1nvzkUG3SEkYpCM8JT78Au1VHpU75RAKmYh1qU6ZTJtsfiritGWwrMCzG.jpg) We attended the launch party for Winnie's new organization [Empowerment for Hope](https://www.facebook.com/empowermentforhope902) on the weekend. The mission : "*Give young girls and gender diverse persons (all races) a space to feel safe without jeopardizing the safety of themselves or their families when trying to get out of trafficking, addiction and homelessness. *Empowerment for Hope wants to focus on the positive development, to strengthen families, by breaking the cycles of violence, abuse, and trauma. * By breaking down walls of silence on sex trafficking and giving children and families the resources they need for a better future through awareness and empowerment" Wyndolyn and I collided paths last year and from our first conversation we knew we were meant to work together and that we were here for greater things. We both had a calling to give voices to the voiceless, and to courageously step out there and do what needs to be done and say what needs to be said. It was no longer an option so sit idly by and wait for someone to take care of this issue. No one was talking about it. I had recently registered a new provincial political party as well so we had been attacking this from different angles until that fateful day. Now we plan on uniting to both; help the survivors and raise awareness to the signs of human trafficking, but also on the legislative side to be able to hold the human traffickers and abusers accountable for what they have done. Winnie struggled through a court case and was put in a very vulnerably position only to have the man responsible for her trafficking put away for 2 years and released back into her community. ![staceyempowerment4hope.jpg](https://files.peakd.com/file/peakd-hive/empoweredlife/EowFDVPVt4i2KxQcxoNQmxYSRug9tx5S8Cd3bqhQPcUK2G1WVkx9dUZQoaMStyEZyw9.jpg) Now Winnie has truly made a transformation from being trafficked to overcoming addiction and homelessness, she is a force to be reckoned with. This event was very moving as she introduced her team and had some moving testimonials from people in the community who have experienced the shame and the trauma of sexual abuse. Winnie's bravery to speak up and share her story has given others the courage to come forward as well and understand that it is not a shame that they need to carry on their own and they can come to her and her organization to work through some of this trauma and become empowered women who can not only survive but thrive as they leave their past behind. ![tieshaempower.jpg](https://files.peakd.com/file/peakd-hive/empoweredlife/Eptb3DpcS4nGozLhA6GyCaAtypFnFrqXHgAwoZ8NzDEhh22a3G5R4hswB4DtE7dRrX5.jpg) Empowerment for Hope has a vision to "*Create a community that supports and transforms positive pathways to healing. * To secure a base of operations to operate and activate our goal of supporting those clients at risk or/and involved in human trafficking, addiction, homelessness and coping from childhood trauma. * This will also be established through community partnerships and mental health and wellness resources" Wyndolyn says her next step is to work on building a safe house or maybe a farm house where survivors can go to heal and learn skills that will help them flourish in their lives and be more sustainable. We may pursuit some self-esteem building and empowering retreats for her clients as well. This is a comeback at it's finest. Winnie Brown is here to shine her light and she would do it all to just save one girl, she says "if one girl can be saved from my efforts than I have been successful." ![warriorsempower.jpg](https://files.peakd.com/file/peakd-hive/empoweredlife/EpLeccYhkxzz69vw7MExd6piS1DNmcTEg6SNRWiEoNryXw3JZZuN4PtRiQCm1ga2X3b.jpg) This event was so uplifting and encouraging to be a part of. I am so proud of my beautiful friend and her strength and courage and grace that she exhibits as she exposes her shadows and embraces the light. That is the thing about light, where there is light there can be no darkness. We must speak up when we know something is not ok. The children in this world need us more now than ever. We need to shine our lights into the darkness and it will kick and scream and throw a fit but that is ok, let it flail and put up a fight. As we connect with one another and support, encourage and love each other for who we are we can dissolve the darkness no matter how insidious it may be.