Transportation corridors allow traffickers to exploit more victims

Constant movement helps traffickers stay out of sight of law enforcement and leaves victims confused about their location
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Defined transportation corridors in Canada are being used by human traffickers in order to exploit and control more victims, according to a new study by The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking.

The study, which is the first ever of its kind in the country, indicated that human traffickers benefit from the primary transportation routes across the country in order to maximize profit without being caught by law enforcement.

The routes they used are ones that ensure they can have maximum control over victims and ensure the victim has virtually no opportunity to escape.

Through constant movement between cities and provinces, the victim has a limited opportunity to understand where they are or how to escape. This method also allows the trafficker to stay out of the sight of law enforcement as it takes time for police to set up an investigation, and by the time they do, the trafficker may have already left to another city.

The study also found that at least half of the victims of human trafficking come from other cities within the same province. 

The map provides a visual of the major corridors that traffickers often frequent when transporting victims (PHOTO: Courtesy of the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking)

Victims of this crime often face major obstacles in navigating services, addictions, housing, and lack of trust. A service provider respondent told the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking that victims face “multiple layers of trauma and abuse,” adding that they “need an entire wrap around model — dental, tattoo cover up, treatment for addiction, medical care,” and more.

The Executive Director of The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, Julia Drydyk, said, “human trafficking exists in every community in Canada with human traffickers having onlyone goal: to generate as much revenue as possible. To do this, they rob survivors of their basic human rights.

“We implore all levels of government to commit to a pan-Canadian, inter-jurisdictional approach to end human trafficking by funding services in perpetuity. We must ensure that programs and services provide exceptional, meaningful and effective support to victims and survivors.”

Ontario’s new anti-human trafficking legislature

Last week, the Government of Ontario introduced the “Combatting Human Trafficking Act,” a new legislation with amendments to the existing legislation.

The proposed legislation, which was announced on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day by Premier Ford, reinforces Ontario’s commitment to fight human trafficking and aims to build upon the province’s $307 million Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy.

“Our government is taking deliberate steps to put an end to human trafficking and protect victims and potential victims of this terrible crime” said Premier Ford.

Premier Ford calls it a “terrible crime” and aims to help law enforcement crack down on criminals with the new legislation (PHOTO: Courtesy of Frank Gunn / The Canadian Press)

“This tough new legislation builds on our Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy we introduced nearly a year ago, giving law enforcement additional tools to help prevent and deter human trafficking.”

Jill Dunlop, the Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues added, “human trafficking is happening in both urban centres and small communities across Ontario.

“This new proposed legislation further supports our cross-government approach, as well as our work with partners across jurisdictions and various sections, to combat human trafficking,” she said.

Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the world according to Forbes. Ontario is known to be a major hotspot.

The study also stated that Ontario had the most police-reported incidents of human trafficking in the country in 2019, “accounting for approximately 55 per cent of all police-reported incidents of human trafficking nationally”.

It also found that the average age of recruitment into sex trafficking is 13-years-old, stating that “over 70 per cent of human trafficking victims identified by police are under the age of 25”. 

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