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Human Trafficking

A Growing Problem


As Edmund Burke, an Irish philosopher in the 1700’s once said “Slavery is a weed that grows in any soil” (Perrin, 2010); indeed slavery is a weed that has not yet been exterminated from our society. Like most weeds, it grows fast and is stubborn to stay. In the world today this unwanted slavery has manifested in the form of human trafficking. You may be surprised to learn that even today people are still being bought and sold as if objects and property. Human trafficking is a global problem that is on the rise particularly in Asia (Government of Canada, 2012). There are an estimated number of 2.44 million people trafficked and exploited around the world today (BAGLAY, 2011). Yet human trafficking is not only a global problem, but is increasingly being committed in our own land. In many, cases children are abducted, held against their will and forced into prostitution (U.S. Department of State, 2013). In Canada human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation leads to increased prostitution, especially underage prostitution (RCMP Criminal Intelligence, 2010). Tina Marlane recalls her firsthand experience with human trafficking after she had run away from her abusive home at 16 years old.

Figure 1 : Victims of Human Trafficking. (Agence France-Presse, 2013) “By the time I was seventeen, I moved to the bigger city, and ended up dating a guy who was trouble, troubled, and really troubled. And we were together, and when you are homeless and a kid, you end up sticking with whoever sticks with you. So we ended up living together, and he had a brother who was a little bit older, and who was a pimp. He had a girl who was his prostitute, and she was his properly. Every day and every night she would have to go out on the street, and sometimes they would make me go out and watch her. Someone always had to be watching. I guess to make sure she always came back, but what do I know I was a kid. She had the most horrible life; it was what opened my eyes to what is prostitution and human trafficking. Because people have the ideas that it’s these girls who are rebellious, or they are just living this life because they want this money. That isn’t what’s going on at all. She was put into a foster home at two years old, and her foster father started putting her out at two years old. Two years old. By the time she was 13 she ran away, and ended up on the streets, and she met two guys, and she would be bounced back between them, who she belonged to. she was totally addicted to heroin so was he, and that’s why he would send her out every night so they would have enough for it. Every morning they would fight, he would beat on her badly every night, and the neighbors would call the police. And every single morning I would have to go down and tell the police everything was fine. I had to do that. And then I had to come up and clean her hair and blood from the floor. It was awful. I came out of that because it wasn’t a world I understood or knew. But she ended up going back to Vancouver, and that’s where she got into some bad heroin and over dosed and died. And that’s her life. Her whole entire life. She’s not here anymore, but the girls that are out there, you don’t know what their stories are, you don’t know why they are there, you can be sure they are there because something went terribly wrong.” (Jakab, 2013) What Tina describes may not be every girl’s story, yet these kinds of stories continue to happen; there is something wrong with this picture. The Canadian government and law enforcement play a key role in bringing light to this issue, and helping to prevent these kinds of situations from happening. The RCMP has several initiatives to combat human trafficking; however any amount of human trafficking is cause for concern. The Canadian government and RCMP should increase their efforts to reduce human trafficking because it is a significant and ever growing problem for, it is linked...