Change The Story- It Starts With You

The recently released Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls identifies 231 Calls to Justice, including several recommendations related to human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Specifically recommended in the Calls for Transportation Service Providers and the Hospitality Industry and the Calls for Social Workers and Those Implicated in Child Welfare, the Report calls for “intensive and ongoing training” in “sexual exploitation and trafficking training to recognize the signs and develop specialized responses” so individuals are equipped to identify the signs of exploitation and trafficking and are able to report and respond appropriately. The Chief Commissioner of the Inquiry, Marion Buller, describes human trafficking as “big business” and a brutal reality that Canada needs to wake up to.

Although these Calls are directed towards professionals in these particular sectors, we believe it to be crucial for all Canadians to be familiar with the signs of exploitation and what resources are available for victims, so that we can work diligently together as a country to put an end to exploitation. Every Canadian is uniquely positioned in their career, volunteer positions, and neighborhood to make a difference in their community.

We champion the growing awareness and conversation happening in Canadian communities about the prevalence of trafficking and sexual exploitation, and are grateful for the needed media attention being given to the issue.

CAN YOU IDENTIFY THE SIGNS?

HRC has resources available to identify some of the potential signs of someone who may be experiencing sexual exploitation, as well as the potential signs of someone who may be exploiting or trafficking others.

Someone who is being sexually exploited may:

  • show fear and avoidance of law enforcement

  • not have control or access to their finances, personal ID, or privacy in their social media

  • show signs of a controlling or abusive relationship (often accompanied, marks of physical harm, or fear of their “partner”)

  • become increasingly socially isolated, often with unusual sleeping patterns & erratic schedule

  • further potential signs can be found here

If you notice these signs, especially in combination, in someone within your community- it’s important to know and be familiar with the resources available to support someone experiencing sexual exploitation or trafficking. We’ve found it helpful to save the following resources in an easily accessible location, like a Note on your cell phone.

RESOURCES

The Chrysalis Network has a National Toll-Free Counselling Line available for sex workers, including those experiencing exploitation and trafficking. They also offer Project Lifeline, a “safe buddy system for sex workers operating in isolation”. Their website has further resources available, and their Hotline is 1-866-528-7109.

The Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline has been recently launched and offers crisis support to being trafficked (including referrals to local social service providers and law enforcement as requested), tip reporting for concerned members of the public, as well as general information and tools to equip communities in their response to trafficking. The CHT Hotline is 1-833-900-1010.

Lilies of Liberty hosts a local Saskatoon 24/7 Hotline for those in the sex industry and offers In-person and/or texting contact, practical life support, friendship & emotional support, local connection with needed services, and an opportunity for life transition if desired. Lilies of Liberty can be reached (toll-free) at 1-833-283-SAFE (7233).

Over the next few weeks, follow our social media as we highlight potential indicators of trafficking. By committing to grow in awareness of the signs of exploitation and trafficking and the various resources available, you are helping to change the story.