According to the Nova Scotia website, Nova Scotia has the highest rate of human trafficking incidents in the country.
Cst. Kelli Gaudet (Kings County), told a reporter that sex trafficking is "a modern-day form of slavery that’s affecting our youth in Kings County.”
Why? Because young women in our rural communities are being targeted as easy prey.
RCMP officers working in Nova Scotia say that sex trafficking in our province is a "hidden epidemic."
Recruiters of victims lure a girl, enticing her by making her feel special, including her in special events, buying her clothes, trips to big cities or even a promise of love. She receives the attention willingly, but it doesn't take long before she finds herself trapped in a prison of unexpected debt, abuse, fear and forced sex.
Escape for the victim is extremely complex once her recruiter has formed an emotional bond with her (and perhaps even had a child with her). She may be told that unless she sells herself, her recruiter will share incriminating video with her family or friends. She may be threatened with violence toward herself or her family and/or be threatened by those who have bought sex from her.
One mother of a trafficked girl told a reporter, “It doesn’t matter if you have a mother or father. It doesn’t matter if you’re loved. Sometimes you feel neglected and these people (recruiters) seem to get you at this point. It’s not easy growing up.”
At present, it is difficult to prosecute recruiters because of the way women are treated when they come forward to give a sworn statement. The present process is not conducive to the care an abused woman needs in that situation. Policies in our province must change so that women who come forward are welcomed warmly, protected, and treated gently. They must be protected from having to testify in front of their abusers (they need to be able to testify through video).
The responsibility lies with each community. Speaking about human trafficking in Nova Scotia, Cpl. David Lane from Halifax told a reporter, "Communities need to step up and take responsibility for protecting vulnerable girls. People could have a daughter who's been recruited into the human trafficking sex trade and they wouldn't even realize it."
Cst. Kelli Gaudet says that public awareness is the best tool in combating this problem. She said, "the more people know about this, the more it will prevent our girls and boys from getting in with this."
At the same time, public awareness can make it appear that something is being done about it. Not much is being done at the moment. That is why we need you to help. Check out our "Fight Human Trafficking" section to find out how you can become more involved in preventing this from continuing.