QUEEN’S PARK - Ontario has a horrifying and rapidly-growing human sex trafficking problem. The statistics are staggering and undeniable:
- Over 93% of human sex trafficking victims in Canada are Canadian-born
- 60% of victims in Canada are trafficked right here in Ontario
- Ontario serves as a major trafficking hub, with the proximity of cities along the 401 and other highway corridors creating easy access and aiding secrecy and invisibility
A victim can be swept up into this criminal underworld and disappear in less than 24 hours. The average age of a trafficking victim is 14, but some have been as young as 11 years old. Once they fall into this life, victims face horrific conditions that make escape very, very difficult.
The Saving the Girl Next Door Act tabled in the Legislature two years ago was the culmination of the tireless work of so many advocates, police officers, service providers and experts. Their voices helped to make the important changes proposed in the bill the law of the land, and they are a huge part of today’s important Awareness Day.
“There is great work being done across the province by steadfast advocates fighting against human sex trafficking. As information is shared and groups come together to coordinate their efforts, we develop a better understanding about how serious and widespread this horrific crime really is. What is clear is that more resources are desperately needed to save lives,” MPP Laurie Scott said.
The time is now to inform Ontarians about what is happening to their children and grandchildren in their own neighbourhoods and communities.
“When all sectors come together and work in collaboration, we will eradicate this crime indefinitely,” said Timea Nagy, who after being lured to Canada twenty years ago, now helps to fight the human sex trafficking epidemic.
Parents and guardians need to know what to look for in order to protect their children:
- They need to monitor social media and internet use;
- Stay current with the apps and social sites children are using;
- Have conversations with their children about school;
- Know their child’s friends, not just by nicknames;
- Know where their child is;
- Talk to their child about strangers; and
- Educate their child on healthy relationships.
For more information about this issue, please visit my website at http://www.lauriescottmpp.com/human_sex_trafficking