Human trafficking is an issue all over Canada and, according to police, it is on the rise in Brampton, Mississauga and Oakville. In Brampton, a man has been charged for forcing girls into the sex trade. A Mississauga man is facing 22 human trafficking charges after a woman was assaulted. In Oakville, a 30-year-old is facing numerous charges regarding human trafficking.
Constable Shawn Thomas of Halton Regional Police has been investigating human trafficking. He says, “Sex trafficking is a crisis throughout Ontario, whether it is big cities or small towns and we are taking actions to reduce this crime. “
Terry Kostiv, a professor in the criminal justice department at Sheridan College says socio-economics play a part in human trafficking: “As we continue to witness a growing gap between the rich and poor, it seems that the economic and gender power imbalance in our society could be one of the factors. Many of the exploited children and victims of this crime are socially, academically and economically disadvantaged.”
Thomas added, “Human trafficking is a complex and often hidden crime that results in a serious and long term trauma for victims.”
In the Criminal code, there are six offences that address human trafficking.
- Trafficking in Persons- Section 279.01
- Trafficking of a person under the age of eighteen years- Section 279.011.
- Receiving financial or other material benefits for the purpose of committing or facilitating trafficking in persons- Adult victim(subsection 279.02(1)).
- Receiving financial or other material benefits for the purpose of committing or facilitating trafficking in persons- Child victim(subsection 279.02(2)).
- Withholding or Destroying a Person identity documents for the purpose of committing or facilitating trafficking for that person- Adult Victim(subsection 279.03(1)).
- Withholding or destroying a person’s identity documents for the purpose of committing or facilitating trafficking for that person- Child Victim(subsection 279.03(2)).
Constable Thomas said that the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness has a plan to combat human trafficking and that education should be given a priority: “A comprehensive education campaign at all government levels, particularly geared at the most vulnerable potential victims, needs to be expanded.”
Sheridan College has also been taking initiative. Josh Fortier, manager, security operation at Sheridan college says, “Sheridan Security and Sheridan College, through the Office of Student Success, offer many resources internally and externally for awareness and for those who are involved in any type of crisis.”
If anyone has a concern they can contact Sheridan college security at 905-815-4044, firstname.lastname@example.org, or through the SheridanALERT app.