On Feb. 22, in recognition of National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, the Alberta RCMP is working to educate Albertans on the dangers of human trafficking and exploitation – serious crimes that occur across Canada, including in our own province, everyday.
“Trafficking is an extremely lucrative crime, netting billions of dollars for traffickers worldwide,” said Cst. Kristin Appleton, Alberta RCMP Missing Persons Unit.
“This is because victims can be continuously sold time and time again unlike illicit drugs or other illegal contraband.”
Under the Canadian Criminal Code, human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation or harbouring of persons, or the control of their movements, for exploitation. Individuals are most commonly trafficked for the purpose of forced labour or sexual exploitation.
The Alberta RCMP hopes to provide Albertans with a better awareness and understanding of this serious crime type – the more you know about human trafficking, the easier it is to detect and prevent.
· Traffickers coerce victims in many different ways such as pretending to be potential partners or friends, reaching out via social media, listing ads for work opportunities, using threats, kidnapping, and more (The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, 2020).
· Perpetrators often use threats, emotional and physical abuse, and isolation to control victims (The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, 2020). These forms of abuse make it difficult for victims to report their traffickers, as they fear the risk of repercussions.
· As of 2018, 97% of trafficking victims in Canada were female and 73% were 24-years-old or younger (Statistics Canada, 2020). Individuals at greater risk of being trafficked in Canada include Indigenous females, new immigrants, LGBTQ2 persons, those with disabilities, at-risk youths or kids in the child welfare system, and individuals who are socially or economically vulnerable (Government of Canada, 2020).
For more information on human trafficking, Albertans can visit www.notinmycity.ca. #NotInMyCity offers an online course that teaches Canadians more about this crime type and actions they can take against it. Additional resources can be found through The Action Coalition on Human Trafficking (ACT) Alberta and the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE).
If you suspect human trafficking activity, or are a victim, please call 2-1-1 or contact your local law enforcement. Human trafficking can also be reported through the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline or by calling the RCMP Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre at 1-855-850-4640.