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Nova Scotia human trafficking survivor starts non-profit to help others

Wyndolyn Brown is a survivor.

She was sexually abused as a child, trafficked into the sex trade at 15 and spent years struggling with substance use disorder. She’s experienced homelessness and attempted suicide four times.

But now she’s found a way to keep going — by helping to prevent others from going through what she did. That’s what’s inspired her to start a non-profit: Empowerment for Hope.

“It took me until I was 43 years old to finally sit down and talk to somebody and admit to myself that, ‘You’re brave, Wyndolyn. You’re beautiful, Wyndolyn. You have so much to offer,’” she said.

“And I thought, ‘Yes, I do,’ and that’s when I started formulating my business.”

Her goal is to make a difference in the lives of others — whether it is through counselling and coaching fellow trafficking victims or through outreach in hopes of preventing it.

“Empowerment for Hope wants to focus on the positive development to strengthen families by breaking cycles of violence, abuse and trauma and by breaking down the walls of silence on sex trafficking through empowerment and awareness,” Brown said.

Brown grew up in a volatile household. Her father was an alcoholic and often fought with her mother, eventually leading to the demise of their marriage.

Their separation left her in a vulnerable situation and shortly thereafter, a man over 10 years her senior started showing interest in her.

“He was grooming me and at the time I didn’t know it. I had struggles with my weight and he made me feel good about myself. He made me feel beautiful,” she says.

She spent two years being taken between New Brunswick, Quebec and Nova Scotia, being sexually assaulted, until she was found by police in the trunk of a car. Her assailant spent two years in prison.

Moving forward

Brown is finding healing through her non-profit project, Empowerment for Hope.

“I always say if I can help one person then what I went through will not have been in vain,” she said.

She is launching the project with a fundraising event in Dartmouth on Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Woodlawn Library in Dartmouth. She encourages parents to bring their children to educate them on human trafficking and the dangers associated with it.

Brown is looking for funding and partnerships so she can fulfill her ultimate dream to have a “brick and mortar” home for her non-profit one day to house victims of human trafficking and to help them transition back into community.

She has also recently applied to volunteer with victim services with the RCMP and has several speaking engagements coming up, including one in Pubnico, N.S.

Sandra D’Entremont, the president of the women’s group, Associations Des Acadiennes De La Region D’Argyle, recently heard about Brown’s story and has asked her to come speak to youth in the area about human trafficking as she says it is prevalent in the tri-county area.

“It’s getting worse all the time and being a women’s group, we like to talk about whatever affects women in particular,” said D’Entremont.

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