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Leah Gazan and Yelena Maleyev

Leah Gazan speaking


by Rhonda Spivak March 26, 2015




Twenty six year old Yelena Maleyev who emigrated here from Israel in 1997 when she was nine years old, is one of the new Board members of the Winnipeg section of the National Council for Jewish Women of Canada.

Maleyev, who has a business degree from the Asper School of Business and is a business intelligence analyst at MTS, said she was looking to get involved with "a group that wants to focus on social action and women's issues."

"There are now six of us who are part of a new chapter that I started-the Young Women Professionals group," which is part of the Winnipeg section of NCJWC. [ To Learn more about the group go to ]


Yelena explained that one of the mandates of NCJW across Canada is to increase awareness regarding the problem of Human Trafficking. "National Council of Jewish Women of Canada, and its international body, the International Council of Jewish Women, have established advocacy against human trafficking as a priority campaign," she said. “Trafficking of women and girls is a modern form of slavery. Like slaves, trafficked people are bought, sold and transported against their will, often repeatedly. They are forced into sexual exploitation and servitude through abduction, deception, violence and torture, through the manipulation of fear and threats towards themselves and their families."

Since March 12, 2015 was Manitoba’s second Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Yelena thought it was an opportunity for NCJWC in Winnipeg to hold an event that would "tie in the issues of human trafficking and missing indigenous murdered women ," since "there is a connection between human trafficking and missing indigenous murdered women." 

The event would be a way for Jewish and Aboriginal women to work together.

" RCMP Statistics show that there are over 1000 murdered indigenous women in Canada since 1980, and over 160 missing indigenous women since 1980," Yelena said. "Additionally, recent discussions of human trafficking have foregrounded the vulnerability of Indigenous girls and women. In 2012, for example, both an RCMP report and the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking specifically labeled Aboriginal women and girls as having an increased risk of becoming victims of human trafficking."

To observe the Manitoba's second Human trafficking Awareness day, Yelena initiated an event put on by National Council of Jewish Women of Canada, Winnipeg Section titled "United We Care" - an evening in support of the We Care Campaign for education about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The program was held at the Graffiti Art Programming on Higgins Avenue, and raised $800 for the campaign from ticket sales and donations.

As Yelena explained, "The We Care campaign was established to engage Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians to take a united and firm stance to ensure the safety of Indigenous women and girls is realized in Canada. It aims to educate the broader public about the serious crisis relating to violence against Indigenous women. The campaign is an opportunity for all Canadians to demonstrate compassion, love and hope. At the same time, it puts pressure on all levels of government to support a national inquiry and immediate action to address this serious issue impacting families and communities across Canada."
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.