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Human Sexual Trafficking in Canada

Human Sexual Trafficking in Canada. The Salvation Army's Response. Outline of Presentation. The Reality Why The Existence of Human Trafficking The Big Picture – Sex Trafficking and its connection to Prostitution = the Commercial Sex Trade Those Involved (Buyers & those being sold)

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Human Sexual Trafficking in Canada

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  1. Human Sexual Trafficking in Canada The Salvation Army's Response

  2. Outline of Presentation • The Reality • Why The Existence of Human Trafficking • The Big Picture – Sex Trafficking and its connection to Prostitution = the Commercial Sex Trade • Those Involved (Buyers & those being sold) • Canada’s Legislation and Where It Can Improve • What we can all do to get involved

  3. The Reality • Sources cite anywhere from 700,000 and up per year are trafficked world wide. • It is estimated that about 2500 foreign women & girls are coerced into joining the Canadian sex trade each year. This is considered a very conservative number. • Another 2200 people are coming to Canada, in transit to the United States, for work in brothels, sweat shops, domestic jobs and construction.

  4. …Cont’d • As of 2004, it appears most of the trafficking activity in Canada was occurring in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and Halifax. • “Mail Order Bride” programs being used by Eastern European crime groups to bring women into Canada to exploit them. • Asian women being trafficked to work in brothels in Vancouver

  5. In addition, Canadian girls are coerced/kidnapped, fraudulently entering into the United States, and forced into the Sex Trade. Criminal Organizations operating in Canada can move 30 to 40 people in a month’s time into the United States. Trafficking in Persons became an offense in Canada in June of 2002. …Cont’d

  6. There are also many Canadian women and girls being trafficked within Canada. Aboriginal women and girls are being trafficked at horrifying, and disproportionate rates.

  7. Why the Existence of Trafficking? • Poverty in the Country of origin • It is very lucrative ($$) for the trafficker • People are displaced due to war • There are people who are willing to exploit others to make $ • Ultimately, trafficking exists because there is a demand for it!

  8. The Big Picture – Sex Trafficking & Its Relation to The Commercial Sex Trade • When local demand for women/children in prostitution exceeds the supply, trafficking is the mechanism for meeting the supply needs.

  9. The Demand/The Consumers • The consumers (the johns) are individuals who have bought into the commercial sex trade in a number of ways and trafficked persons are present in all areas: • Pornography – progressing from soft core to hard core which comes in all forms in the media and the internet. • Strip Clubs/Bars –Entertainment Industry • Escort Services and Brothels • Street Prostitution

  10. Stats on “the demand” • He is in his 30’s (35%) • He is married (60%) • He works as a laborer or professional (55%) • He is caucasian (65%) • He lives in upper socio-economic neighbourhoods or out of town. (26% or 21%) • The Exploitation of Persons is less about sex and more about power.

  11. Characteristics of the Demand • Generally want younger women/girls. • Self Centered • Sex addictions are present • New Canadians seem to be over-represented • Conflicting cultural beliefs • Internet Pornography plays significant role • Think they are entitled to purchase sex • Want particular act to fulfill their fantasy • Often Looking for “girlfriend experience” • Often Reaching out for help – don’t know how to get it

  12. The Survivors - Supply • Victims of trafficking and the sex trade experience damage in all areas of the self: physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. • All of these areas overlap, and all need to be addressed simultaneously in order for restoration and wholeness to be achieved. • It is essential that all care be taken to ensure that trafficked persons are not re-victimised through carelessness in the social service/helping system.

  13. Identifying a Trafficked Person A victim of trafficking may look like many of the people you help every day. You can help trafficking victims get the assistance they need by looking beneath the surface for the following clues. Many of the indicators for trafficked persons are similar to those identifying women who are being abused by their partners. • Evidence of being controlled

  14. Identifying a Trafficked Person – cont’d • Evidence of an inability to move or leave job • Bruises or other signs of battering (both physical and non-physical) • Fear or depression • Newcomer to Canada/Non-English speaking • Lack of passport, immigration or identification documentation

  15. Questions To Ask If you suspect that someone may have been trafficked, in a respectful, non-suspicious way, try to speak with the person privately and confidentially. The person they came with could be a trafficker posing as a spouse, family member or interpreter. • Interpreters must be screened carefully to ensure they do not know the victim or the traffickers and do not otherwise have a conflict of interest. Preference is to use an interpreter hired by the centre.

  16. Questions To Ask – cont’d • Has your identification or documentation been taken from you? • Can you leave your job or situation if you want? • Can you come and go as you please? • Have you been threatened if you try to leave? • Have you been physically harmed in any way? • What are your working or living conditions like? • Where do you sleep and eat? • Do you sleep in a bed, on a cot or on the floor?

  17. Questions to Ask cont. Is anyone forcing you to do anything that you do not want to do? Have you ever been deprived of food, water, sleep or medical care? • Do you have to ask permission to eat, sleep or go to the bathroom? • Are there locks on your doors and windows so you cannot get out? • Has anyone threatened your family?

  18. Statistics on The Supply • The average age of recruitment into commercial sexual exploitation is 14 – 15 years of age. • 90% of people sexually trafficked or prostituted are women and girls • Things that make women/girls more vulnerable to trafficking are: poverty, loss of parents, and histories of (sexual) abuse

  19. Case Study This case study is similar to a case that took place here in Canada. Names and identifying characteristics are fictional. • Three women from rural Asia: • Wendy – 21 years old and an only child who supports her parents and extended family • Lilian – 28 years old living with extended family and her 2 year old son. Husband died. • Joan – in her 20’s, married and husband is a teacher who works 12 hour days seven days per week and makes $100 per month.

  20. Cont’d • All these families live in poverty and answered an add for a job in Canada offering $2000 per month waitressing - plus tips. • All that was necessary was that the women pay back the cost of the air ticket and fee to the organization that made the arrangements, but that should be easily done in the first month or so. • The women made their way a city in their country and met each other and being away from their families, found comfort in each other. • The trip organizers equipped the women with false travel documents such as passports, student or travel visas, and new identities and briefed them on what to say to immigration authorities etc.

  21. Cont’d • The women knew they were breaking the law, but they were told that otherwise the process was worth the risk because it was foolproof and that the legal route took a very long time and might not work out. • Within the week they were on a plane and met at the airport by the owner of the restaurant who took them to his home. • He suggested they get a good night’s sleep and would go to the restaurant the next day. • He should also hold on to their passports for safe keeping.

  22. Cont’d • The next day they were taken to an apartment on the west side of the city and met by an older Chinese lady who said that the restaurant was closed and they would instead be working as prostitutes. • The three women said they would not do so, but the woman reminded them that they knowingly broke the law coming into Canada and so the only alternative was to do as they were told, work to pay back the money. If they did not, the police would be contacted and they would go to jail (keep in mind their perception of law enforcement in their country). • The women did not speak any English, and were frightened, isolated, embarrassed, trapped, did not have passports, and the older Chinese woman never left them alone.

  23. Cont’d • The monthly quota was $10,000.00 each doing 12 – 16 hour days and they were told they could keep the extra above that, but if they did not make the quota, violence would follow. • The women were constantly reminded that they were only prostitutes and were moved every few months being advertised in chat rooms and the Buy and Sell. • A raid was conducted by the police on the apartment because they had information it was a “common bawdy house” and the owners were jailed for “keeping a common bawdy house”. • The three women being charged as “inmates of a common bawdy house” were taken to jail that night, but as interviews were conducted with them in their own language, the police began to realize they were trafficked.

  24. Cont’d • Once a positive relationship was developed, the lack of trust, embarrassment, and fear of the unknown slowly was overcome and a flood of information followed. • The women needed a huge spectrum of services ranging from housing, funding for personal needs, emotional and mental health supports, safety, and medical attention. • In addition, if they were to testify against the traffickers, they would need to continue in Canada for another 2 – 3 years. • Since the enactment of Canada’s new TRP – Temporary Residence Permit for Human Trafficked person, much of the requirements for the women are able to be addressed, but NGO’s are still needed to fill in the gaps. • The TRP is a permit that is issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada in cases where it is required to override a person being in Canada illegally. It is valid for 180 days and can be given an extension.

  25. The Salvation Army Anti- Trafficking Response in Canada Mission • In May 2004, at the International Leaders’ Conference, General Larsson declared trafficking as a priority for The Salvation Army. • Since then, throughout The Salvation Army world, programs and initiatives have been organized and implemented to combat this evil that strikes at the heart of families and communities. • In this territory, we joyfully and determinedly accept the General’s challenge to combat the evil and injustice of human trafficking for sexual exploitation. We are motivated by love for a particular group of our neighbours, and out of respect for the inherent dignity of our brothers and sisters involved in human sexual trafficking.

  26. To Date – In Canada • The Canadian Anti-Trafficking Network is made up of representatives from each of the divisions, and has been active for some time. • Most divisional representatives have brought around them a committee consisting of Salvation Army and likeminded Community representatives working in areas that (potentially) come in contact with trafficked persons • Various written works have come out of discussions with the network and committees • A subcommittee has been formed from the main network that addresses The Salvation Army’s position on current government legislation and what improvements The Salvation Army should lobby for. • International Weekend of Prayer – each September

  27. Goals • To eliminate or reduce sexual trafficking. • To raise awareness of the evil and injustice of sexual trafficking. • To engage Christians in prayer about sexual trafficking. • To care for and assist those who have been trafficked into Canada for the purposes of sexual exploitation. • To lobby the Canadian Government to alter and enhance legislations applicable to trafficking. • To financially support people at-risk of sexual trafficking in developing countries. • To prevent at-risk Canadian youth from being trafficked into the commercial sex trade.

  28. Guiding Principles • The Salvation Army, in partnership with other like-minded organizations, seeks to educate ourselves internally so that we might take an active, informed approach to this crisis. The Salvation Army also seeks to make others in the general public more aware of this issue and to offer them meaningful ways to combat sexual trafficking. • Trafficked persons are human beings with inherent human dignity and worth that must always be upheld and respected. • Building relationships of unconditional love with survivors of commercial sexual exploitation is essential to understanding where they are coming from. • Trafficked persons escaping the sex trade need real, meaningful and positive alternatives made available to them so that restoration is possible.

  29. Guiding Principles cont’d • Efforts could be made to reduce the stigma of those who are sexually exploited, upholding the dignity and worth of all. • Work could be done towards the decriminalization of the survivors of trafficking, as well as regularizing their immigration status in Canada. • The Salvation Army maintains that there is a direct connection between sexual trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation (prostitution, pornography, etc.) and that reducing/eliminating one will directly influence the other.

  30. Guiding Principles cont’d • Education is needed around the harm of trafficking as well as the harm of commercial sexual exploitation, in general. • Redemption and restoration for consumers (johns) is possible and achievable. • Perpetrators (Traffickers and Pimps) should be brought to justice. • Redemption and restoration for traffickers/perpetrators is possible.

  31. We Want You to get Involved Become more informed and educate others! • Awareness materials have been prepared by the Network and are available online at www.salvationist.ca/trafficking • These include: fact sheet, brochures, resource list (including links to the IHQ anti-trafficking site and other Salvation Army sites), contact list of regional network members, powerpoint presentations, action steps and prayer materials • Information is available online so that any officer, Salvationist, friend of The Salvation Army, etc. can access the information, become aware of the issue, download it, and use it to teach and make others aware.

  32. Other Resources • The issue is highlighted for youth on www.sendthefire.ca • Salvation Army publications/sites have highlighted, and will continue to highlight, the issue. • Anti- Trafficking Network Divisional Representatives are familiar with the awareness materials and available to make presentations on human sexual trafficking using them to present at DHQs/corps/divisional events, etc. • Please promote the issue and pray about it in corps, at women’s rallies, through men’s ministry, to youth, to Ministry units, etc.

  33. Other Resources • A Best Practices Handbook is being created by the Network and will soon be available on www.salvationist.ca/trafficking. • The Handbook is for ministry units who may be coming into contact with trafficked persons, and includes tips on looking for identifying signs of trafficked persons, and best practices for serving trafficked persons. • Encourage ministry units to adapt these materials to their particular location

  34. Take Action! • Support fair trade initiatives. Fair trade items (like coffee and handicrafts) often cost more than if you buy them at Wal-Mart, and yet they ensure that those who are making them are given living wages and treated fairly with respect. Pay the extra – it makes a big difference! • The Salvation Army operates a fair trade shop (www.sallyann.no) with handicrafts made by former prostituted persons in Bangladesh.

  35. Action Cont’d • Encourage Salvationists to give to Partners in Mission and to support Salvation Army overseas development programs working with vulnerable women and children. • As poverty is such a large push factor for sexual trafficking, join the Make Poverty History Campaign wholeheartedly, advocating for the poor on behalf of The Salvation Army.

  36. Take Action Politically • The Anti-Trafficking Network has developed 2 submissions to federal Government and presented them in 2005 and 2006. In 2006 this was accompanied by a letter-writing campaign from Salvationists across the Territory. Requests that we made – in partnership with other NGOs – were granted, although there is still much to be done. • Feel free to contact your Member of Parliament, expressing your commitment to this issue.

  37. Also related to Government • Build partnerships with other like-minded organizations bringing a united voice and further credibility. • Build relationships with influential women who can champion for the victims and issues. • Oppose the legalization of Prostitution.

  38. International Weekend of Prayer • This territory’s Anti-Trafficking Network initiated a weekend of prayer and fasting in 2006. It has since become an international, annual weekend endorsed and supported by the General. • Last weekend of every September • New materials are available each year at www.salvationist.ca/trafficking.

  39. A coordinated range of programming/services for trafficked persons • Sensitization and awareness raising within existing Salvation Army programs. • Street Outreach programs • (potential) Repatriation – reintegration programs • Cooperation procedure with government, immigration, and law enforcement. • Programs to address the demand for commercial sex.

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