What should the Church do?
Sex trafficking is forced prostitution and an extreme form of violence against women. Like other forms of human trafficking—such as forced labour—sex trafficking is illegal and a serious human rights violation.
Although most people think sex trafficking only involves women from overseas, according to the RCMP most victims in Canada are actually from Canada. Victims of sex trafficking are typically recruited through a betrayal of trust or the promise of a better life, then manipulated, intimidated, confined, threatened, and beaten. Many are forced into debt bondage or drug addiction. Victims have no choice and no voice. Few escape, and those who do face a long and lonely journey to recovery. Working to have gender-based violence such as sex trafficking recognized as a human rights issue is an essential step to achieving full equality for women and girls. The result will be a stronger Canada with more political, social and economic equality, where each person can succeed to their greatest potential.
Isn’t sex trafficking more of a problem in other countries, but not Canada In Canada, 93% of sex trafficking victims come from Canada, not other countries. In 2013, the Canadian Women’s Foundation conducted a national survey of community service providers, who reported serving a total of 2,872 trafficked girls and women in one year. We also consulted with 160 women from across Canada who identified themselves as trafficked. 67% of Canadians agree that Canadian girls under the age of 16 are being recruited/trafficked to work in prostitution against their will. Canada does not currently have a standard system for tracking incidents of sex trafficking: national, coordinated research is necessary for sustainable data collection. Currently, incidents of sex trafficking are recorded only when they involve law enforcement or federal agencies. Like with other types of sexual or physical violence, victims rarely come forward to report being trafficked. For example, fewer than 10% of sexual assaults are reported to the police and given their experiences of control and coercion, trafficking victims are likely even less able to report their abuse. When trafficked women do come into contact with the law, they are often seen as criminals or consensual participants in the sex industry, not victims.
How can I help
You can help the Canadian Women’s Foundation to end sex trafficking in Canada: o Learn about it: Get informed about sex trafficking in Canada by reading our report: From Heartbreaking to Ground-breaking: Stories and Strategies to End Sex Trafficking. o Speak up: Share what you have learned – talk to your friends, neighbours and family members about the crime of sex trafficking in Canada. Challenge it: Contact your federal, provincial or local government representative to ask what they’re doing to end sex trafficking in Canada, or write a blog post or a letter to the editor of your favourite newspaper. Stop it: If you suspect sex trafficking is happening in your community—or you are a victim of sex trafficking—contact a local sexual assault line, women’s crisis line, or