The sale and exploitation of human beings is not just an international concern; it affects communities like Greater Sudbury as well.
This is evident in the number of sex trafficking victims Greater Sudbury Police Service's Vice and Gang Unit interacted with last year.
According to a news release in 2017, authorities offered support to nearly 60 victims of human trafficking who police say were either controlled, forced, intimidated or deceived, and exploited through sexual acts of forced labour.
January is National Human Trafficking Prevention month, and GSPS is taking the opportunity to raise awareness through Project Impact.
The police in partnership with Sudbury and Area Victim Services have developed an awareness campaign called “Know the Signs, Make the Call." The campaign outlines various signs the public use to identify possible victims of trafficking.
Some of the signs include, but are not restricted to, a disheveled appearance. The person may appear withdrawn or intimidated. They may not possess any identification or credit cards, and be in the company of a person who is significantly older.
About a quarter of victims of the sex trade are minors, fewer than half falling into the 18 – 24 demographic, according to Statistics Canada numbers from 2014.
Exploiters lure youth or at-risk persons into a fantasy world, police say, and control them through threats, abuse and isolation.
If you see the signs or have information on possible human trafficking, contact police. If you would like more information on the support services available to victims, call Sudbury and Area Victim Services at 705-522-6970.