Human trafficking is a heinous crime that affects millions of people worldwide. According to the United Nations, human trafficking is defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by means of threat, use of force, or other forms of coercion for the purpose of exploitation. Human trafficking is a violation of human rights, and it poses a real and growing threat to the children and youth of our province.
In Ontario, sex trafficking is the most reported type of human trafficking. Over 70% of human trafficking victims identified by police are under the age of 25, and approximately two-thirds of police-reported human trafficking cases in Canada occur in Ontario. It is a vicious crime that creates lasting emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental trauma for survivors. The Ontario government is taking action to fight this horrific crime through a five-year Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy with an investment of over $307 million dollars.
Young girls are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking for various reasons. One reason is that they are often targeted because of their age and vulnerability. Traffickers often look for individuals who are easy to control and manipulate, and young girls tend to that description.
Another reason is poverty. Many young girls come from impoverished backgrounds and are lured into trafficking with the promise of a better life. Traffickers often use false promises of jobs, education, and a better future to lure them into the sex trade.
A third reason is the lack of education and awareness. Many young girls are not aware of the dangers of trafficking and are not taught how to protect themselves from it. They may not recognize the warning signs of trafficking, which makes them more vulnerable to exploitation.
The impact of human trafficking on young girls is devastating. Many survivors suffer from physical and psychological trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. They may also suffer from physical injuries, sexually transmitted infections, and unwanted pregnancies.
The trauma of trafficking can also impact survivors’ long-term health and well-being. Survivors may experience ongoing physical health problems, such as chronic pain, and may have difficulty building and maintaining relationships due to their experiences.
Preventing human trafficking is a complex issue requiring a multi-faceted approach, and any investment into preventing it is significant and important. We must continue to raise awareness and work towards ending this brutal crime to protect our most vulnerable members of society. The Ontario government’s $307 million investment will go a long way in combating this issue, and we hope to see more initiatives like this to help end human trafficking for good.