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Governor General recognizes renowned entrepreneur helping sexually abused youth

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On Tuesday, Governor General Mary Simon recognized dozens of great Canadians with Meritorious Service Decorations for their exceptional work to improve the quality of life communities across the country.

The award is one of the highest distinctions a Canadian civilian can receive.

Among the recipients of the prestigious medal was Glori Meldrum, who was recognized for her years of tireless work to help children who have been sexually abused.

"It’s just about doing the right thing for kids that are sexually abused," said Meldrum. "It is literally an epidemic across the country and the world."

Meldrum, a survivor of sexual abuse herself, is the founder of Little Warriors, a non-profit organization committed to preventing, treating and raising awareness of children who have experienced sexual abuse and trauma.

"There are a lot of struggles and I know what I go through to be functioning in this world and I want it to be easier for other people," she said.

"I’m very blessed that this is my purpose and that I get to work with survivors and see these unbelievable kids."

Meldrum built the Be Brave Ranch in Alberta, the world's first long-term treatment centre for children and teens who live at the centre as part of a year-long program of recovery.

“Right now we don’t get government money, we raise all of the money to treat the kids for free and to fly them from across Canada to the centre," said said.

“We’re just about to double the size of it because COVID really increased the numbers across Canada and we’re building the first treatment centre for people like me, adults, that were sexually abused as kids."

Human trafficking is also on the rise and Ottawa is becoming a 'hot spot,' according to experts.

While child luring and recruitment comes in many forms, police have seen a troubling trend of traffickers making initial contact online.

“Sadly agencies like ours are seeing rising acuity since COVID so we’re trying to provide prevention programs that are free and anyone can take them online,” said Jennifer Martin, CEO of Little Warriors.

"The biggest things that we’re finding is that adults need to have very clear and very frank discussions with children about the threats online."

Meldrum and her team continue to build Little Warriors, a 15-year operation with expanding programming, research and resources for the continued fight against sexual abuse.

"It takes a village to make the world a better place so the one thing I always say to people is everybody can help," she said.

If you need help or believe someone you know is being trafficked, there are resources available, including the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline which is available 24/7 at 1-833-900-1010. There is also an online chat option.

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