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HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS DAY – FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22

What is human trafficking?

Human trafficking is a crime and is taking place right here in Leeds&Grenville.  The Leeds&Grenville Human Trafficking Coalition is working hard to educate the public and provide prevention strategies.  If you would like more information or a presentation by the Coalition to your community or church group or school, contact Sarah at sarah@vslg.ca.  I am a member of the Coalition and encourage everyone to become better informed about the ways that our girls and boys are exploited and become victims of human sex trafficking.

Traffickers control people in many ways, including psychological manipulation, emotional abuse, lies, addiction, threats, violence, isolation, and taking control of ID/documents and money. Sometimes human trafficking is confused with human smuggling (across borders). In reality, most of the people sex trafficked in Ontario are girls and women who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents. While human trafficking is a vastly under-reported crime, Ontario is a major centre for human trafficking in Canada, with about two-thirds of reported Canadian cases arising in Ontario.

 

Myths about human trafficking

Myth: Human trafficking is an international crime that involves sneaking someone across a border.

FACTIn most reported cases of human trafficking in Ontario, the person trafficked is from Canada and is recruited within Canada.

Myth: Human trafficking happens in developing countries, not in places like Ontario.

FACT: Human trafficking occurs throughout the world, including here in Leeds&Grenville.  Police report an increasing number of cases since human trafficking specific charges were created by the government and could be laid.  Human trafficking is an underreported crime, so the actual number of cases is likely much larger.

Myth: Sex trafficking can only happen to people who use drugs or have other serious risk factors.

FACT: While some groups have been identified as at-risk, there are also cases in which no known risk factors are present. In those cases, traffickers often target very young people and may build trust during a “grooming” period before exploitation begins.

Myth: If a person isn’t kept locked up or in chains they can always just leave.

FACT: Some people who are trafficked are controlled and monitored constantly and don’t have the opportunity to ask for help. Others may not realize or acknowledge what is happening to them or that it is a crime. In some cases, they may fear their trafficker or law enforcement too much to risk seeking help. They may also be manipulated to believe that the trafficker is the only person who cares about them and that they are best off staying with their trafficker.

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