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February 22 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Human trafficking has a pervasive impact on the lives of its victims. Each stage of the trafficking process can involve abuse, violence, deprivation and torture. Human trafficking usually results in prolonged and recurring trauma. It is also very common. Worldwide, at least 2.45 million people are being forced to perform degrading, dehumanizing and dangerous work in conditions akin to slavery. That number is nearly equal to the population of Toronto.

February 22 marks the National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. At Media Sonar, we are proud of our partnership with the London Abused Women’s Centre (LAWC), Salvation Army Correctional & Justice Services (SACJS) and Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) to provide coordinated support to trafficked and sexually exploited women and girls.

London is considered a main corridor for human trafficking due to its location along the 401 series in Ontario. An estimated 71% of human trafficking in Canada is classified as domestic sex trade trafficking. Women and girls, typically between the ages of 18 and 24, who are born in Canada, are being forced into the sex trade. Traffickers continue to reap large profits while robbing victims of their freedom and dignity at great cost to the individual and society. The United Nations (UN) estimates that this illegal activity generates approximately $32 billion (US) annually for its perpetrators worldwide. It is a lucrative crime with high rewards for traffickers, and since it is often goes unreported, it is often characterized as a low-risk crime.

Human trafficking crimes are difficult to detect, measure and investigate, due in part to their hidden nature. Human trafficking goes under-reported because:

  • Victims are usually in a physically, socially, or economically vulnerable position and are unwilling or unable to report to police.
  • Traffickers sometimes deliberately implicate victims in humiliating or illegal activities to keep them from reporting.
  • Physical force or psychological techniques are used to intimidate victims.
  • Victims may have language barriers or may be unaware of their legal rights.

Learn more about human trafficking: