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It Happens Here!
Human trafficking is often invisible to those who are not directly impacted by it, and many Canadians are completely unaware that it is occurring in their own community. However, trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation has become one of the fastest growing crimes in Canada, with more than 70% of reported cases taking place in Ontario. And it's happening in communities across this province, including in Grey and Bruce Counties!
What Is Sexual Trafficking?
This type of trafficking involves recruiting, transporting or holding someone for the purpose of sexual exploitation. It is induced by force, fraud or coercion by a third party, with the aim of exploiting that person for profit. Anyone under the age of 18 is unable to consent to engaging in commercial sexual services.
Anyone can become a victim regardless of gender, gender identity, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. However, there are some populations that are more vulnerable to being targeted by traffickers. In Canada, Aboriginal women & girls, those who identify as LGBTQ+ youth and youth who have experienced abuse, neglect, homelessness, involvement in children services, or trauma are some of the most vulnerable populations.
Each situation is different, as some victims might go missing and be trafficked in another town or province or they may still live at home, attending school and work. In many cases, trafficked individuals develop a "trauma bond" with their trafficker, and may not self-identify as a victim. While traffickers can be strangers, more often than not, they are “boyfriends" who find their victims through friends, relatives or social media.
Did You know?
The Ontario Provincial Police reported 38 incidents of human trafficking in Grey and Bruce Counties between 2015-2019.
Reported incidents went from 1 case in 2015 to 16 reported cases in 2019, including incidents in the surrounding areas of Huron and Perth. However, the actual numbers are unknown as these do not reflect reports from other community police services in the area.
Source: Violence Prevention Grey-Bruce
Why GREy and bruce counties?
While the communities in this region are mainly comprised of rural areas, Grey-Bruce is certainly not immune to the ever-growing issue of sexual trafficking. There are several factors that make Grey and Bruce counties particularly vulnerable to human trafficking.
what are the signs?
Victims are often unaware of what is happening to them, are unable to or don't know where to turn to for help. It is crucial that we continue to educate each other and recognize when trafficking is happening around us. Being able to spot the signs and know what to do can make a life-changing difference for someone in your community.
who can help?
Trafficking victims have varying needs, and not all survivors require the same services. However, some needs are common and can include addressing physical health needs, emotional and mental health needs, having peer support, trauma counselling, legal assistance, safe housing, educational assistance, and more.
If you identify that a person has been trafficked, there are many local resources that can help, including the new Anti-Human Trafficking Youth Program, women’s shelters, Victim Services, various health care providers and our police services. It is crucial we share resources with each other within the community, and continue to develop adequate support services to meet every trafficking victim's needs.
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