Human trafficking

Day 15: Sex Trafficking is a Human Rights Issue

Woman's face in profileFor the last two weeks, I have had the privilege to travel across the country to visit social service agencies and community-based organizations that are championing anti-trafficking initiatives at the local level. Most of these programs are run by women and informed by people who have experienced trafficking in one form or another. All of them are looking for ways to support those who have been trafficked while tackling the root causes of the problem in their communities.

When we speak of sex trafficking at the Canadian Women’s Foundation, we define it as an extreme form of violence against woman and girls. The coercion of a girl or a woman to engage in sex for the financial gain of another is nothing less than violent and an egregious form of abuse that must not be tolerated. Less often discussed in public forums is the fact that sex trafficking is also a human rights violation. Sex trafficking is more than just one person mistreating another — it is the result of systemic problems in our society that need to be urgently addressed.

One Year Later: Working Together to End Sex Trafficking in Canada

ButterflySince the fall 2014 publication of the ground-breaking “NO MORE” Report of the Task Force on Trafficking of Women and Girls in Canada”, the Canadian Women’s Foundation has made dramatic strides to combat sex trafficking in Canada. Through a five year strategy, the Foundation addresses this abhorrent crime in three strategic areas:

1. Financial support for critical anti-trafficking efforts.

2. Promotion of a collective action approach with many important stakeholders.

3. Sharing of knowledge and expertise to promote system change at the three levels of government.

La traite des enfants : à bas les mythes

Black and white photo of teen girlLa traite des personnes à des fins sexuelles, c’est une forme de violence. Et tous les jours au Canada, des enfants en sont victimes. 

Si nous comprenions mieux les complexités de la traite à des fins sexuelles, nous en reconnaitrions bien plus souvent les manifestations. Mais si nous n’avons pas une idée claire de ce qu’est la traite des personnes et de ce qui y amène les jeunes, nous perdons la capacité d’intervenir. Voici donc une liste des mythes qui circulent à propos de la traite de personnes mineures à des fins sexuelles, accompagnées des mises au point qui s’imposent.

Sex-trafficking Roundtable: A First for Atlantic Canada

Denise John speaks at sex-trafficking roundtable (Photo: Denise John, Victim Support Navigator at the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre in Halifax, was one of the participants at the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s recent roundtable discussion on sex trafficking.)

Windsor, Nova Scotia, is known as the “birthplace of hockey” and is famous for its giant pumpkins. The population of the town, which is an hour from Halifax, is around 3,700.

When veteran officer Luc Côté got stationed at the Windsor RCMP detachment in April, it was “a bit shocking” to learn his colleagues were working on a sex-trafficking case.

Debunking Common Myths About Trafficking

Woman Trafficking of underage girls and boys is child abuse, yet it happens on a daily basis in Canada. 

Many people may witness sex trafficking happening, but in order to recognize it, we need to understand the complexities of it. When we don’t have a clear idea of what sex trafficking is or how it happens to youth, it deters our ability to respond to this crime. As such, here is a list of misconceptions regarding sex trafficking of minors and what the real facts are.  

My Successes

ButterflyMy successes are hard to tell today,

I just knew I didn't want to live and die this way.

It was up to me to make changes in the way I live,

To stop the cycle was the best I could give.

Must Reads for the Week of August 15

Newspaper stackThis week for the first time a woman is awarded the top mathematics prize in a highly male-dominated field. But  women have always played an important role in math and sciences, as one article tells showcases 18 inventions by women that changed the world.

A great article tells us about the problem with rescue narratives in anti-trafficking efforts while another article debates the role of theatre in feminism.

We learned that the number of colleges in the U.S. investigated for mishandling rape has now increased and read on op-ed written by a male NFL fan of why he won’t watch the NFL this year.

Take off the cape: Why using the word “rescue” is harmful to anti-trafficking efforts

Here He Comes to Save the DayThis article first appeared on the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault blog and is re-published with the author's permission.

When I came to the human trafficking field from working on domestic and sexual violence, I was shocked by a lot of things. It was disturbing to learn about the various ways traffickers abuse and exploit victims for labor and sex and surprising to see how frequently human trafficking intersected directly with intimate partner violence, sex assault and child abuse.

House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights - Diane Redsky Speaking Notes

House of CommonsOn July 8, 2014 Diane Redsky, Project Director, Human Trafficking Task Force at the Canadian Women's Foundation spoke at the Justice and Human Rights Committee on Bill C36 - Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act. Below are the speaking notes from her presentation.

For a French translation, please download the PDF here

Please note that some of the content below may be disturbing for some readrs.

Must Reads for the Week of June 20

Newspaper stackThis week FIFA World Cup began with much excitement. Yet one article accurately calls out the many ways the media perpetuates gender stereotypes during this global soccer event. In light of many attention calls to increased human trafficking in Brazil during the games, in Ontario a new study reveals shocking facts about human trafficking right here at home. 

Two commercials got our attention this week; one that hilariously captures awkwardness of puberty and the other calling out women for saying ‘sorry’ too often.