Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation (In Canada and Locally)
Human Trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, or harboring of persons for the purpose of exploitation, typically in the sex trade or forced labor. It is the fastest growing and one of the most lucrative criminal enterprises globally. This form of modern-day slavery occurs daily in Canadian communities.
The Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada estimates that a single Canadian victim of sex trafficking is worth approximately $280,000 per year to her exploiter. Middle class females between ages 12-25 years of age are being recruited by male peers. Victims are controlled through direct (rape, assaults) and indirect (threatening family members) forms of coercion. The daily earning off of one victim can range from $300-$1500 and the average age of entry into the sex trade in North America is 12-14 years of age.
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Modern-Day Slavery Statistics
- Human sex trafficking is the fastest growing crime in this country and in the world.
- People everywhere are being bought and sold like merchandise: men, women, children – 30 million to date is a conservative estimate.
- Today’s new slavery has low costs and huge profits. In Canada, a pimp, trafficker or predator will earn about $280,000 per year per victim. The average pimp will have 4-5 girls working for him as prostitutes.
- In Canada the average age of entry into prostitution is 14-16 years of age. However, every year the age becomes younger. Johns, pimps and predators prefer younger girls because they are disease-free and easy to manipulate. Aboriginal girls can be as young as 7-11 years old.
- The vast majority (89-98%) of prostituted women are lured, tricked or trafficked into prostitution. It is not a choice. The pro-prostitution lobby is strong and well financed. They have “prostitutes” or “sex workers” speak publicly that they “chose” this profession; but these actually represent only 2-8 % of prostituted women. The 89-98% who did not choose prostitution as a lifestyle cannot speak for themselves. They are the voiceless majority.
- 92% of prostituted women would quit immediately if they could. It is easy to enter prostitution but very difficult to get out.
- 85% of prostitutes were sexually abused as children.
- In BC, as in most of Canada, Aboriginal women are grossly overrepresented in prostitution and trafficking. Look at the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver and the Highway of Tears (the long-isolated stretch of Highway #16 from Prince Rupert to Prince George).
- Trafficking of girls and women is driven by the demand to buy sex. The Internet is fueling this demand through pornography. Pornography creates sexual appetite, which causes a dramatic demand for sexual services. Result? The supply has to increase. Where does this supply come from? Local girls and women are now being targeted here in Canada to satisfy the rapidly growing demand for paid sex. Sex recruiters even stand outside high schools and in malls!
- In countries where prostitution is legalized (the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, New Zealand), human trafficking, child prostitution and sex tourism have exploded. Organized crime has increased and crime syndicates have moved in.
- Since we have such a long border with the USA, if Canada legalized prostitution, Americans would come to Canada in huge numbers for sex tourism.
- The Pro-Prostitution Lobby states that prostitution can be “safe” with appropriate employment laws. Employment laws do not apply to prostitution because prostitutes are “independent contractors” and do not fall into traditional employer/employee roles.
The Magic Trio: Drugs, Gangs, and Prostitution
- Wherever there are drugs, gangs and prostitution, there is trafficking. There are serious gang issues in every one of our Canadian cities.
- RCMP estimate 15,000-20,000 missing children in Canada currently per year. This is considered a conservative estimate. These children are probably trafficked. The USA has 100,000 – 300,000 missing children per year. Think about that number; it is the size of a city.
- Of deepest and recent growing concern is the sudden and dramatic increase in child porn – production and consumption. Statistics show that once men start viewing child porn, a very high percentage will act out and assault a child with a year (See “Pornland” by Dr. Gail Dines – world expert on pornography).
- The average life span of an adult in the sex trade is 7 years. They are then murdered, commit suicide, become mentally ill or become drug-addicted. Very few escape the lifestyle successfully.
- The average life span of a child caught up in the sex trade is 2 years. They are beaten to death, contract HIV/AIS, contract bacterial meningitis or overdose on the drugs forced on them.
- When children are involved in the sex industry, it is an indication that society at its core is no longer vibrant, healthy, safe or working.
- Nail spas, massage parlours, casinos, escort services, modelling agencies with their ads are popping up everywhere. Often there is “brothel” activity associated with these “businesses.” Municipalities issue them business licenses.
- Politicians, law enforcement officers and judges need to make the connections between pornography, prostitution and trafficking. They form a toxic, lucrative mix that profits organized crime.
Human Trafficking, Prostitution and the Law
- There is only one human trafficking conviction in BC (compared to numerous convictions in all the other provinces): Reza Moazami, a 29-year- old male from North Vancouver. He had a “stable” of 11 girls, 9 of them underage. These girls sexually serviced men from hotels and condos in North Vancouver, Vancouver, Richmond, and Nanaimo.
- According to Rich Akin, Vancouver police officer, human trafficking is happening in every community in BC. Every home has a computer. Every computer has a red light district.
- The pro-prostitution, pro-brothel lobby is strong and well-supported financially. This lobby frequently overwhelms the media with their point of view. This has a huge effect and influence on pornography, prostitution, trafficking and the sex industry in our culture today. These activities must never be allowed to become “normalized.” But with the apparent re-sexualisation of women and girls today, this is a very real and tangible fear.
- Language is very important. Pro-prostitution lobbyists call prostitution “sex work.” It is not work; it is exploitation, degradation, commodification of women and girls (in its most heinous form) in order to please men.
Bill C-36 passed by the Federal Government in December, 2014. To address the issue of prostitution, the bill:
- Targets the buyer of sex: the predator, pimp, trafficker and john are criminalized
- Recognizes the seller of sex is a victim; usually the female and is not criminalized
- Puts exit strategies in place to assist the victim out of the sex trade.
It is called the “Nordic Model of Law” and has been very successful in Sweden. This is in complete contrast to “the New Zealand Model” or decriminalization of prostitution and its legalization which currently exists in New Zealand, Australia, the Netherlands and Germany.
- Two major Canadian reports with complete and specific Action Plans
- A Personal Action Plan: What can be done to stop Human Trafficking
- What parents can do to protect their children
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What is Swarm?
2005 – First Study of Human trafficking in Canada and Original Offence
2007 – Standing Committee on the Status of Women’s Report in February 2007
2010 – Report “Turning Outrage into Action to Address Trafficking for the Purpose of Sexual Exploitation in Canada” by MP Joy Smith, Bill C-268, which gave a minimum sentence for offences involving trafficking of persons under the age of 18 years
2012 – Canada’s First National Action Plan (a comprehensive blueprint to guide the fight against the crime of human trafficking in Canada,) called “Connecting the Dots” by MP Joy Smith, allows the long arm of the Canadian law into other countries by permitting Canadian police to go abroad and bring back to Canada for trial any suspect who was trafficking people overseas.
February 22 is Canada’s National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
- Nanaimo City Council Presentation on Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation in BC and locally 1st: October 6, 2014
- Nanaimo City Council Presentation on Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation in BC and locally 2nd: October 26, 2015
- An exited prostitution survivor speaks: Trish Baptie for NGO “Exploited Voices Now Educating” at her SFU TED talk
- An excellent resource for men is from Dr. Jackson Katz in the USA. Please watch his timely TED talk on “Men, Violence and Silence”
- YouTube video produced by NGO Hope for the Sold; “Enslaved and Exploited; the story of sex trafficking in Canada” (46 minutes long and an excellent summary of what is happening in Canada)
- CBC aired this program on human trafficking April 12, 2015