February 22, 2018 was designated as Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Peel Regional Police Major Drugs and Vice Unit went out of their way to let the public know that this wasn’t something that happened in other countries or at-risk communities, but right here in Peel.
Police say human trafficking occurs when a group or individual recruits, transports, transfers, receives, holds, conceals or harbours a person—or exercises control, direction or influence over the movements of a person—to exploit them.
Human trafficking, it appears, is on the rise everywhere.
According to Statistics Canada, human trafficking violations in Canada doubled between 2013 and 2014. Between 2009 and 2014, police reported 396 victims across Canada, of which 93 percent were women. Of those women, 47 per cent were between 18 and 24-years-old.
While most people associate trafficking with sexual exploitation, victims may also be coerced into providing forced labour.
Human trafficking is often described as a modern form of slavery.
Peel police say there are signs that may indicate that someone is a victim.
• Isolation from family and friends
• New circle of friends
• More than one cell phone
• Possession of expensive items with no source of income
• Change in style of dress
• Unexplained bruises/cuts
Police say that parents who are concerned about sexual exploitation can take note of the following tips:
• Monitor social media and internet use
• Stay current with apps and social sites their child is using
• Know your child’s friends
• Educate your child on healthy relationships
Peel police are encouraging individuals to come forward and report human trafficking incidents to the Major Drugs and Vice Unit at (905) 453-3311, ext. 3555 or 3515. – CINEWS