Human trafficking and sex trafficking are major concerns regarding safety and freedom worldwide. However, this has been going on blatantly in many countries. Though the actual number of victims remains unknown, sex trafficking in Canada has been supposedly growing and spreading just like the rest of the world.
The majority of human trafficking occurs with the intent of sexually exploiting the victims. This takes place in small towns and large cities alike. The victims mostly belong to the at-risk groups and are usually at a disadvantage financially and socially.
Understanding Human Trafficking
It’s not always like they show in the movies crossing borders in shady ships or containers. Human trafficking can occur even in the most civilized, aristocratic scenarios too. In fact, it’s happening worldwide in various arrangements, and Canada is no different.
Human trafficking refers to the process of luring/manipulating/recruiting, illegally holding, or transporting victims to exploit or help someone exploit them for profit by making them work (typically for sexual purposes).
Traffickers use many techniques to coerce the victims into complying or forcing them to participate in these despicable acts.
The bottom line is traffickers lure, manipulate, or force people into changing their location and get them engaged forcefully in illegal activities for profit.
Purposes of Human Trafficking
Why do traffickers do what they do? The simple answer is the profit, of course. But to understand how they reach that goal by trafficking people, we would have to understand what they do to and with them.
Following are the three most prevalent reasons and purposes of human trafficking:
This is perhaps the most common reason or purpose for trafficking people. Women, teenagers, children, and in some cases, men are manipulated, lured, or forced into becoming instruments for sexual exploitation.
In many cases, victims are trafficked and forced into providing service and labor for very little or no wage. The traffickers who are connected to many illegal industries mostly commit this type of crime.
The victims are usually promised work with attractive pay and later get threatened, blackmailed, or forced into serving as cheap or free labor.
Victims are often involuntarily employed after being trafficked under unique circumstances to work in private residences, creating distinct vulnerabilities.
Upon being trafficked for domestic servitude, the victims are not allowed to leave their employment and are physically/psychologically abused and significantly underpaid or not paid at all.
We are going to focus on sex trafficking in this article. Let’s look at the details and implications:
Signs of Sex Trafficking
Since trafficking is not a natural process or event, there will be some red flags or warning signs around it. These signs may not always be evident.
Common signs could include:
- Getting into a new relationship with someone you met online who is rich and older and it seems manipulative and controlling.
- Receiving large sums of cash or expensive gifts from a partner suddenly without reason.
- Being in a comparatively new relationship suddenly took a turn for the worse without any possible reason.
- Having intimate or objectionable images shared online with or without consent.
- Feeling like your phone is being tapped or hacked and controlled.
- Working or living in brutal and abusive conditions.
Realistically speaking, anyone belonging to any demographic group can be targeted for trafficking to exploit sexually or physically. However, sex traffickers often consider many factors before choosing a target.
It’s easier for them to target:
- Women and younger girls
- People from indigenous backgrounds
- Children under the welfare system
- New immigrants
- People with disabilities
- People struggling financially or socially
Moreover, working immigrants are easy targets for traffickers due to their lifestyle and work. They work in remote or isolated areas, have language barriers, don’t have sufficient access to support, services, or knowledge of legal rights.
Let’s shed light on some statistical data regarding human trafficking to understand the crime and the victims better.
The following are the data available from police-reported human trafficking incidents:
- 95% of the victims were women and girls of younger age. They were mostly trafficked for sexual exploitation
- Most of the human trafficking cases (roughly 2/3) between 2009-2019 reportedly took place in Ontario. This suggests that large cities may be thought to have greater crowds, but that doesn’t necessarily mean more safety.
- Victims between the ages of 18-24 years account for 43% of total victims of human trafficking, suggesting that younger people are prime targets of traffickers.
No matter who, where, and how you are, you might be getting targeted by traffickers and not even have any idea. Hence, you should stay cautious to prevent any such tragedies in your life.
Always be informed of your rights, possible legal and social services, and preventive measures before migrating to a new area or country or interacting with a suspicious stranger. Protect yourself and your loved ones. Stay safe from traffickers and report any such suspicious activities immediately.