Trafficking in persons means the recruitment, transportation, harbouring and trade of persons, by means of threats, force, abduction, fraud, deception, and abuse of power for the purpose of exploitation. That exploitation may be sexual, forced slave labour, or even the removal of bodily organs.
We might think slavery is a thing of the past, but in today’s world two million women and children are being bought and sold before our very eyes. But not in Canada eh! Yes, in Canada RCMP report there are an estimated 600 foreign women and girls brought here each year as sex slaves and another 2,000 or more are smuggled into the US through Canada. Why? The root causes are poverty on one hand and greed on the other. This industry in human flesh is estimated to reap annual profits of $10 billion. Of course the victims don’t share in any of this money. Why isn’t there a global outcry at this scandalous affront to human rights?
Victor Malarek, an investigative journalist on CTV’ W-5 has written this book, The Natashas: The New Global Sex Trade. It is a well-researched exposé of modern-day slavery. The crippling poverty of women and young girls makes them vulnerable and easy prey for marketers of the global sex industry. The stories told by the few girls who have been rescued, and who have the courage to bring their stories to the attention of those working to stop human slavery, are heart wrenching.
We hear a lot about globalization. Globalization, at its best, unites the human community, but as global trade sweeps away borders for economic purposes a sense of global human community has not caught up with it. Globalization makes a few rich people even richer, but it often creates situations of desperate poverty for many in our world, particularly women and children.
According to Marlarek, the Internet is the steamiest whorehouse on the planet. With the click of a button, men can check out sex tours, scan pictures of young girls and get directions to where they can be bought for sex. He exposes the corruption that exists in the governments, politicians, police forces and even among United Nations peacekeepers. Wherever military bases are present, rest and relaxation for soldiers translate into sexual exploitation of local prostitutes.
Is there hope? Yes, so long as brave people continue to fight to eradicate this horrific exploitation of women and children. In the forefront of this important struggle are several religious communities. We can be proud of that, but can we do more to raise awareness about human trafficking and awaken to the reality that it is rich countries, including Canada, that are largely responsible for the demand side of the trafficking equation?
For the benefit of those who are moved to make a commitment to read Malarek’s book and to pray daily for all the victims of this vile crime, Information is available on the table and can be picked up at the break.
Also, anyone who wishes to ask questions about this topic may speak to any member serving on the HVAW committee.