SD: How are young girls trafficked illegally into Canada?
CG: People from other nations come to Canada with a legal work permit but end up being forced into something different. The traffickers will prey on an insecurity or vulnerability that these girls might have. Most of the victims are between the ages of 14 to 16. A few are over 18. A boyfriend , an older good looking guy gives her gifts, convinces her to move away with him, and then eventually isolates her and then brings in prostitution quite subtly and eventually if she declines, he will have her gang raped and she is stuck in it and she believes she loves her and this is a difficult problem.
SD: There is a move to legalize prostitution in the province of Ontario. Will this fix the problem?
CG: Nobody would choose to prostitute their bodies if they had all the options. You cannot tell the difference between human trafficking and prostitution. Legalizing a body house in Ontario, would not allow the police to do their jobs. It’s difficult to tell the difference between someone who wants to do the job and those who do not. It has been proven with the Swedish model that by criminalizing the buyers, prostitution and human trafficking has gone down.
SD: How does Canada Fights Human Trafficking help these girls?
CG: We only take victims that go through the police force. If a police officer has a victim and we can help in any way we do. Faith houses throughout Canada are used for a couple of days, we have re-integration homes. They are safe places to start over and get an education. We offer counseling and try to use different resources. We have tattoo removal because these girls are branded with it to say that they belong to a particular buyer.
SD: What is the Canadian government doing about this?
CG: The government is not doing a whole lot. They say they are doing a lot but we do not see the results of it. It is a very complex problem. There is no single ministry that can take care this themselves. There are various ministries that should be involved such as public safety, immigration, and the rights of women.
A member of parliament Joy Smith just passed a law last June that includes a five- year mandatory minimum sentence for anyone who sells someone under 18 years of age. There should harsher penalties for traffickers and awareness in the justice system of the problem.
SD: What can the average Canadian do to help?
CG: Be aware of the problem. Get involved in organizations whether it’s fundraising, donating time, just letting member of parliament know through a quick email or letter that this a huge problem and that you do not want. There are a lot of ways to get involved big or small.
Being aware of the problem, and getting involved in organizations whether it’s fundraising, donating time, just letting member of parliament know through a quick email or letter that this a huge problem and that you do not want. There are a lot of ways to get involved big or small.