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Build Compassionate Communities

Human Trafficking + Slavery

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. Victims of human trafficking are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of commercial sex, debt bondage, or forced labour. They are young children, teenagers, men and women. Trafficking in persons occurs throughout the world, including in the United States and other developed countries.

Awareness, Advocacy and Education

  • Is our community aware of human trafficking for sex and for labour, and its growing prevalence in the U.S. and the rest of the developed world?
  • Is our community aware of what human trafficking and slavery might look like in our community?
  • What are some indicators of human trafficking? Do members of our community know how to identify and report those they suspect might be trafficked individuals and groups?
  • What local, regional and national resources are available to assist your community with respect to human trafficking? How can they be combined to build an effective plan to combat and prevent trafficking in your community?
  • Are businesses in the community aware of purchasing and sourcing best practices for ensuring sweatshops, bonded labour and slavery is not active in any part of the supply chain?
  • Are community members aware that products labelled “fair trade” are created ethically and not by trafficked workers?


Programs and Services

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all


Pending Goal:

Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labor in all its forms.


Pending Goal:

Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation


“The World We Want, 2015” Priorities:

  • Protection against crime and violence
  • Better job opportunities


Are there support groups and facilities available to provide an accessible and safe place for trafficked labourers and sex workers to communicate and to escape their situations? Are these facilities and personnel sufficiently equipped and trained?

Are public safety and policing organizations in our community approachable by victims in trafficking situations? Are they trained on best practices in identification, intervention and rescue?

Where would posters advertising the national Human Trafficking Hotline be posted in our community, to best advantage?


Prevention of Recruiting by Traffickers

Traffickers also recruit their victims from our communities. Regardless of ethnicity, age or social background, every child is at risk of being human trafficked in the US and the developed world.

As a community member, police, parent, educator, or school administrator, are we aware of how traffickers target our school-aged children?

Are our schools (elementary, middle and high schools), teachers, counsellors and parents aware 
of how to recognize vulnerable and at-risk individuals?

Are young people themselves aware of human trafficking and recruiting practices of traffickers?

Can your community’s schools partner with students and include the issue of modern day trafficking and slavery in their curriculum?

Are local groups and organizations available and adequately trained to work with youth at risk of exploitation by human traffickers?

How might we minimize root causes that make youth vulnerable to traffickers?


The Larger Picture

How can we align our goals with other organizations to form potential coalitions locally and nationally to strengthen our commitment to those in need beyond the borders of our community?

Does your state or other community jurisdiction have Vacating Trafficking Conviction Laws? 
These laws permit courts to vacate convictions for prostitution-related offenses and other non-violent crimes that victims of trafficking were forced to commit. If such laws are not available in your community, work with lawmakers to introduce them.


Operation Northern Spotlight, Human Trafficking Investigation, Leads To Rescue Of 20 People
By The Canadian Press

TORONTO — A major investigation into human trafficking has led to the rescue earlier this month of 20 people — some as young as 14 — suspected of working in the sex trade as minors or against their will, police said Thursday.

The investigation — called Operation Northern Spotlight — led to the arrest of 47 people who are now facing 135 charges, including trafficking in persons, forcible confinement, child pornography, and sexual assault with a weapon.

Officers met with people suspected of taking part in the sex trade in early October at locations across the country.

Most of those rescued were under the age of 19, said Ontario Provincial Police Deputy Commissioner Scott Tod.

"Human trafficking victims rarely identify themselves to authorities, so we have to take a proactive approach," Tod said at a news conference.

Ontario Provincial Police led the latest phase of Operation Northern Spotlight, which involved officers from 40 police agencies across Canada and 350 officers and support staff.

The OPP said it worked extensively with the RCMP and the FBI during the investigation.

In September 2005, the RCMP established the Human Trafficking National Co-ordination Centre at its headquarters in Ottawa to combat the growing problem.

"The role is to provide a focal point for law enforcement in their efforts to combat and disrupt individuals and criminal organizations involved in human trafficking activities," said RCMP Chief Superintendent Warren Coons.

In the 10 years since, the centre has had a hand in laying human trafficking charges in 308 cases across the country, Coons said, adding that 93 per cent of those cases involve domestic trafficking.

"These statistics are just the tip of the iceberg," Coons said.

South of the border, U.S. law enforcement agencies conducted a similar operation — called Cross Country — which resulted in the rescue of 152 children and the arrest of 153 "pimps," according to Joseph Campbell, assistant director of the FBI's criminal investigation division.

Over the past year, Canadian police forces have worked with the FBI in a co-ordinated effort to fight human traffickers.

The FBI's massive operation this past year involved more than 500 state and local law-enforcement partners in 135 American cities. This is the ninth year of the operation during which the FBI said it has rescued more than 750 children.

"It is important to send a message to the children of our countries that we are here to protect them," Campbell said.



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