Local MPP Laurie Scott hosted almost 200 members of the public yesterday at an open forum to mark the inaugural Human Trafficking Awareness Day in Ontario on Thursday, February 22.
“Human Sex Trafficking is one of the fastest-growing crimes in Canada and raising public awareness is an urgent priority,” says Scott.
“Most people I talk to have no idea that this is happening in our communities – big and small – so we all need to get the word out to better inform parents, grandparents and children themselves. That is why events like this are important,” she adds.
“This Thursday marks Ontario’s first-ever Human Trafficking Awareness Day. We all need to do our part to raise awareness of a crime that targets children who are on average only 14 years old,” Scott added.
- Detective Sergeant Nunzio Tramontozzi of the Toronto Police Service, who has been the officer in charge of the Human Trafficking Enforcement Team since 2014
- Karyn Kennedy, the president and CEO of BOOST Child Advocacy Centre, Toronto’s first child and youth advocacy centre.
- Karly, a survivor and community outreach worker for the gender-based violence program at East Metro Youth Services.
- Joseph Mari is a senior manager in the Anti-Money Laundering Financial Intelligence Unit at Bank of Montreal.
The moderator of the event was Peter MacKay, former federal minister of justice.
According to Global News, Statistics Canada notes that minors not only make up a significant portion of victims of forced labour or sex trafficking crimes, but that they also make up around seven per cent of the perpetrators.
The 18 to 24 age cohort was even more startling, with nearly 50 per cent of victims and 41 per cent of perpetrators falling into that range.
From MPP Laurie Scott’s website:
Signs of Exploitation: how to recognize a possible trafficking victim:
- Unable to produce identification documents
- No cell phone
- Limited personal money and resources
- Never alone/Always accompanied
- Apparent signs of physical abuse / ‘branded’
- Showing signs of fear
- Doesn’t speak for self
- Isolated from family and friends
Tips for Parents
- Monitor social media and internet use
- Stay current with apps and social media sites your child is using
- Have conversations with your child about School
- Know who your child’s friends are (not just nicknames)
- Know where your child is at all times
- Talk to your child about strangers
- Educate your child on healthy relationships
To learn more about human sex trafficking, visit MPP Scott’s website for more information.