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Human trafficking generates $150 billion each year globally – know the signs of grooming

Sudbury & Area Victim Services supports victims, survivors and those at-risk

Sudbury & Area Victim Services (SAVS) provides support and resources to individuals who have experienced traumatic events, such as sexual exploitation and human trafficking. SAVS offers individualized services based on client need. It provides safe and effective crisis intervention to victims of crime and tragic circumstance.

Human trafficking is the exploitation of individuals at the hands of others. Sudbury is a known hub for human trafficking and statistics show that 50 per cent of victims and survivors identify as Indigenous.

Human trafficking is the world’s fastest growing criminal enterprise and earns a staggering $150 billion each year.

One of the key tactics used by traffickers is the notion of grooming, which is a process that involves building a relationship with a potential victim and manipulating them into a situation of exploitation.

Traffickers often look for individuals who are vulnerable in some way, such as those with emotional need low self-esteem, or economic stress. With the rise of social media and apps with private messaging features, traffickers can easily identify and target potential victims.

Once a potential victim has been identified, the trafficker moves on to gathering trust and information. This can involve casual conversations with the victim, monitoring their social media posts and updates, and direct questioning. By gaining the victim's trust and learning more about their vulnerabilities, the trafficker can begin to fill a need in the victim’s life. This could involve buying gifts, pretending to be a friend or romantic partner, or providing drugs and alcohol. This creates a sense of dependence on the trafficker and can make it difficult for the victim to leave the situation.

Victims are then isolated in an attempt to distance them from their friends and family. This allows the trafficker to have more control over the victim's thoughts and actions. Traffickers will begin demanding illicit images or engaging in other forms of exploitation. This exploitation can create trauma bonds that make it difficult for the victim to leave the situation even after they have had a perceived opportunity to do so. recovered.

SAVS provides support and resources to individuals who have experienced grooming and other forms of exploitation. By understanding the tactics used by traffickers, we can work to prevent these crimes and support victims on their journey to healing and recovery.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of human trafficking or sexual exploitation, reach out to SAVS for help and support. Call 705-522-6970 or email [email protected]. For immediate emergency situations, call 9-1-1.