Becoming Aware of Human Trafficking in Alberta

Becoming Aware of Human Trafficking in Alberta

Human trafficking is a serious issue that occurs across the globe. While we may not always be aware of it, trafficking also happens right here in Canada. Unfortunately, the number of police-reported incidents of human trafficking has increased in recent years. It has become one of the fastest-growing crimes. As a result, it has become more important than ever to be aware of human trafficking in our community. Knowing what it is and what techniques traffickers use to recruit individuals, you can keep yourself and those around you safer.

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking can be described as a modern-day form of slavery. People are transported, bought and sold to perform sexual acts or forced labour.

There are different types of human trafficking:

  • Sexual exploitation
  • Sex trafficking
  • Forced labour
  • Slavery
  • Forced organ removal
  • Forced marriage

Human Trafficking in Alberta

The problem with human trafficking is that it is often invisible. It is hard to see the signs in those affected by it and those who are trafficking individuals. We often don’t think it could happen in our own communities, but unfortunately, human trafficking is present in Alberta. There have been cases where human trafficking charges have been laid in rural communities and major urban centres in Alberta.

Traffickers and those who are being trafficked are our neighbours. According to Statics Canada,93% of the individuals that are sex trafficked in Canada are Canadian, not foreigners.

Who Could Be Targetted by Human Traffickers?

Human traffickers are looking for vulnerable individuals susceptible to their recruitment methods. Human traffickers will use tactics to develop relationships with victims and gain their trust; this is called grooming. Grooming may include:

  • Compliments
  • Attention and affection
  • Giving gifts and money
  • Telling they love/care for them

Those affected by human trafficking can come from different backgrounds and a wide range of ages. Nearly 30% of human trafficking victims are under the age of 18. Homeless youths are especially vulnerable to trafficking.

If an individual has experienced violence, discrimination or sexual assault, their trauma makes them more vulnerable to exploitation. Traffickers can recognize their vulnerabilities, and they exploit that through grooming.

Effects of Human Trafficking

Human trafficking victims can experience long-term effects from the abuse they experience. These individuals may even be susceptible to falling back into the trap of traffickers due to their past trauma. There are both physical and mental effects on those who are currently in or who have escaped human trafficking cases.

People who experience human trafficking may also be at risk for:

  • Mental health issues
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Compulsive disorders
  • Trauma bonds being formed (Stockholm Syndrom)
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Suicide or thoughts of suicide
  • Pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Homelessness

It is important to become more aware of this crime to help combat human trafficking, not only here in Alberta but across the globe. You may be able to help someone get out of their situation. You could even prevent someone you know from becoming a victim of human trafficking.

July 28, 2022