On Saturday, Langley's Tara Teng will be the Community Day parade marshall. On Sunday, Teng, who is Miss Canada, jets off to Asia to lobby for an end to human trafficking.
Teng will be in Asia June 19-30, travelling with her dad, Terry, and as part of a team of abolitionists with Traffick Jam and World Orphans, two organizations that work to end human trafficking. It's not the kind of glamour that comes to mind when people think of a pageant winner but Teng has been committed to being a voice for victims of sex trafficking and child sex trafficking.
"Human trafficking is the fastest growing crime on the planet, with Thailand and Cambodia notorious as sex trafficking hotspots," she told the Langley Advance. "We will be spending our time with front line anti-human trafficking organizations in the red light districts of the major cities in Thailand and Cambodia. Most of our time will be spent directly with the victims of sex-trafficking and child sex-trafficking. It is going to be an intense trip."
On Saturday, June 25, she will be speaking at the MTV Exit Concert in Chang Mai, Thailand. MTV Exit is a campaign to increase public awareness about human trafficking.
"I hope that I can use my passion and dedication to end human trafficking to inspire others to do the same," Teng said. "We need to all stand together and declare that we will not tolerate exploitation of human beings in any capacity and that we will do whatever we can to see human trafficking stop. It happens in Thailand and it happens in Canada as well... and enough is enough."
Teng knows this will not be an easy trip and she expects an emotional wallop.
"I am expecting my heart to be shattered and rebuilt," she said. "The sex trafficking of women and children is not something that you can come face-to-face with and then walk away unchanged."
What she learns there will help Teng in her work back in Canada where the stories she learns in Asia will help people here understand the gravity of the global situation.