THE FAMILY BEHIND LA SORTIE
Many Montrealers are facing exclusion or are experiencing diverse social problems such as domestic violence, addiction or homelessness. In order to bring them comfort, several organizations and related initiatives work in these areas of expertise. The team at La Sortie is also there to help !
Although considerable effort is being made with individuals living such hardships, services for victims of sexual exploitation are almost non-existent. The victims are often living with many of the issues listed above and many find themselves selling their bodies, believing that it will help them meet their basic, emotional and/or material needs.
Nothing that La Sortie does would be possible without a highly committed team : « La Sortie » family !
Philanthropist and pastor for 30 years in the West Island community, Gerry Plunkett and his wife Marcia have a heart to help victims of sexual exploitation. In the spring of 2012 Gerry recruited a team and formed a committee dedicated to the establishment and growth of this charity organization. Their prime goal is to provide victims a way out of the sex industry.
|BOARD OF DIRECTORS|
I, a determined, courageous and proactive 29 year-old woman, am a survivor of sexual exploitation who has been out of the industry since February 2020. In addition to having taken steps with the IVAC, I have denounced my pimp and I am currently in legal proceedings against him. I have always been someone that is sensitive to injustices but I have learned to turn my grief and anger into courage so that I can move forward while helping other survivors. Since January 2021, under the pseudonym LauGa, I have been able to contribute to the wellbeing of survivors once they decide to leave prostitution. I have testified before the parliamentary committee concerning Bill 84 on the IVAC reform. I have made my voice heard through my Twitter account and Facebook page, in addition to having the opportunity to be quoted in La Presse. I have found great inner strength uniting with others already present in the political sphere as we develop a deeper understanding of victims of sexual exploitation. In May 2021, I was incredibly fortunate to receive help from La Sortie, a great team of people who go out of their way to assist women. They were able to provide me with help, aid and comfort in one of the darkest times of my life. I immediately wanted to join and offer my support to their mission. When they offered me the opportunity to join the Board of Directors, I accepted with great pleasure. In September 2021, I returned to school to complete my professional studies diploma as an administrative assistant. I intend to continue to make my voice heard as I help survivors.
As an administrator at an airport, Sylvie Lemieux has been involved in her community for more than 20 years, whne she had the calling to help the organization in the rescue of victims. Ms. Lemieux is eager to provide a refuge for these young women who are often lacking a welcoming, safe place. Lemieux’s efforts are focused towards the board of directors where she helps ensure good democratic governance.
Mr. Jacques Bellemare is director of the Corporation de développement communautaire de Beauport (CDCB). He has been awarded a medal from the National Assembly of Quebec for his dynamic involvement with many partner organizations over several years. Mr. Bellemare brings his expertise to the development and consolidation of La Sortie.
Mr. Teti and his wife Nadine are entrepreneurs from the West Island of Montreal. Together, they own a bakery and delicatessen. They are involved in more than one humanitarian cause, and recognize the need for all the resources offered by La Sortie. Mr. Teti joined the team with the objective of putting his experience as an administrator at the service of balanced financial management.
Mme Marcela PEÑA-VEGA
Ms. Peña-Vega is an economic adviser and manager of cooperation and international development programs. She holds a degree in Economics with an MBA and a Master's degree in International Studies, Economics, Cooperation and Development from the University of Montreal. She has over 15 years experience in project management coupled with technical expertise in economic empowerment, entrepreneurship, employability, women's rights and youth in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Quebec. She has experience with organizations such as: CECI, L'Œuvre Léger, SUCO, PLAN, OXFAM, IICA, IFAD and UNODC. She is currently Program Manager at DID (Développement International Desjardins). Ms. Peña-Vega is committed to community development, including advocating for the rights of women and girls in Canada and elsewhere.
Johanna Cardinal, B.Ed., has been a cegep teacher for over 15 years. She brings to the board 7 years of international coordinator experience with a non-profit organization involving over 20 countries touching all 5 continents. As a result of these experiences, her strengths are: communication, relationship building through networking, teaching, and organizational skills. She fully supports the vision of La Sortie to give hope to those enslaved in sex trafficking, believing that all women must be respected and valued.
Ronald Lepage first studied in management and furthered his education in the fields of philanthropic management and drug addiction treatment at Université de Montréal. For many years, he successfully and passionately led a community organization in the region of Abitibi-Témiscamingue. The Gérard-Brisson Center was charged with street work and is an internal treatment center for dependence, as well as a resource for social reintegration. Under his direction, the center has been certified by the MSSS. His role is to manage all the domains of the organization including organizing assistance and support services for the victims.
Lyne has completed certificates in Drug Addiction and in Mental Health. She is currently studying to obtain her "BACCAP fondement et pratiques en sciences sociales et santé". Living at the residence on week days, she accompanies women in their social reintegration process.
Prevention and consultation worker
Gabrielle has a deep desire to help people in need and support them on their journey toward a promising future, maximizing their potential. She began her path as a social worker at a Youth Center, armed with her diploma in social work. Additionally, she held the position of residential counselor at a shelter for women who are victims of domestic violence. In 2020, she joined the team at La Sortie, initially as an outreach worker, and now she serves as a prevention and consultation worker. After witnessing the harsh reality of women seeking to escape the sex industry, she has made it her personal mission to be their advocate. Her goal is to contribute to the improvement of services and support available in the province for women who have experienced sexual exploitation. She is also passionate about prevention and believes in the importance of reaching out to the younger generation.
A survivor who completed the Alternative to the Sex Industry program at La Sortie, Loraine is a woman who has been deeply involved for several years in the field with women victims of sexual exploitation. She wishes not only to represent hope for these women, but to provide them with concrete help. Through her life experience and her knowledge, Loraine brings a unique and incomparable touch to the team. Since April 2021, she has successfully completed the peer helper program given by the AQRP and will start in September 2021 a certificate in substance abuse at the University of Sherbrooke, Longueuil campus.
From her early adult years, Rose has been moved by the issues of social exclusion, and since then has been working, benefitting from community services as well devoting her time as a volunteer and activist. Curious and thirsty for knowledge, Rose attended training courses on the subject of relationship building. In the Spring of 2021, she will graduate with a technical degree in social work. Alongside her reality as a mother and student, she made a precarious living, and has been in and out of the sex industry between the ages of 15 and 30. In an effort to understand the associated suffering and trauma, Rose became involved in the fight against sexual exploitation. Today, almost 10 years later, she believes in the importance and validity of the experience of the survivors along with peer support. For this reason, after careful consideration, she joined the team at La Sortie.
Tammy has more than 20 years of volunteer and professional experience in the social, administrative and managerial fields. She also has 31 years of experience providing unconditional love as a mother which she shares with all human beings who need it. She joined our staff deciding it was time to fuel her desire to have a greater impact on society. A humanitarian at heart, La Sortie was the perfect destination as the fight against sexual exploitation has always been her passion. “Don't try to change the world, find something that you love. And do it every day. Do that for the rest of your life, and eventually, the world will change.” Macklemore ♥️
Marie-Ève Cool is a young survivor of sexual exploitation who now works as a Peer Counselor at La Sortie. She is highly curious and articulate, with great strength of character. She easily wins the trust of women and clearly expresses her ideas and analyses, but also challenges herself when necessary. She is aware of the luck and opportunities that she has had, and wishes to help those who have not had her opportunities and to contribute to the fight against sexual exploitation.
Technical Coordinator & Videographer
Responsible for the general technique, training and deployment of the tools. Videography, photography and visual aspect of communications.