An issue that continues to harm women around the world is human trafficking.
Human trafficking is the transportation and harboring of a person for the purposes of forced service. Traditional images of trafficking victims are of women and children forced into the sex industry, but trafficked persons also include men, women and children exploited through farm, domestic or other labor.
The United Nations estimates that 700,000 people are trafficked annually world-wide and that this illegal activity generates annual global revenues approaching US $10 billion. Other estimates have indicated that as many as 4 million women and girls are sold world-wide into forced prostitution, slavery or forced marriage.
Canada has been identified as a source, destination and transit country for trafficking victims. Human Trafficking victims can be Canadians or foreigners. The RCMP conservatively estimates that between 800 – 1,200 people are victims of human trafficking each year; however, nongovernmental organizations estimate this number is as high as 16,000 per year, most of who end up working in forced labor or the illegal sex trade. The International Labor Organization has estimated that at any given time a minimum of 2.45 million people are in situations of forced labor as a result of human trafficking.
To exercise control over one’s body and maintain dignity is a universal right that all women are entitled to. Those who are victims of human trafficking deserve no different.
By working with NGO’s, community stakeholders and all levels of government to address shortfalls within the current legislative framework we will be helping ensure that there is better protection for trafficking victims.