If you think it doesn’t happen here, think again.
Human trafficking is happening in Lanark, Perth, Carleton Place and Smiths Falls. “It’s all over Canada, all over the world,” said Constable Aaron Tompkins, community services officer with the Smiths Falls Police Service. “It’s a domestic problem,” he went on, adding that recently he has seen at least two cases within the town.
Human trafficking has become the third largest issue police deal with after guns and drugs.
This was the message to an audience of 40 plus people at the Smiths Falls Memorial Community Centre on March 27. The talk was jointly presented by the police, Victim Services and Crime Stoppers. After a short presentation titled, Human Trafficking – Modern Day Slavery, Ashley Struthers and Collette Johnson of Victim Services continued to describe how youth are enticed and then become enmeshed in the trade.
Pimps troll social media sites looking for vulnerable girls and boys, and trap them by offering a listening ear and lots of attention.
Susceptible kids range from ages 13 to 20 (some older); once caught, they are fed drugs, given little food, moved from town to town frequently – sometimes daily – and not allowed to sleep.
Their identification is taken and they have no money. Pimps look for vulnerabilities and, once found, ‘groom’ their catches. For the pimp, it’s a lucrative business.
One youth can bring in $360,000 a year; three could potentially bring in over $1,000,000.
As well as human trafficking for sexual purposes, there’s trafficking for labour, child trafficking, organ trafficking, and enforced marriages.
Lyle Clancy of Crime Stoppers concluded the evening urging anyone with a tip on human trafficking to go to the police or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). And be assured, he said, the calls are anonymous.