Human trafficking is a global problem and Greater Victoria is not immune to it. According to the BC Office for Combating the Trafficking in Persons (OCTIP), the west coast of Canada is both a major transit and a destination point for human trafficking. Canada is also a source of trafficked persons and that involves domestic trafficking within its borders. Because of the hidden nature of this crime, most human trafficking activities remain undetected or unreported.
In the late spring of 2019, key questions related to human trafficking in Victoria were explored at a seminar organized by ICA and the CPN. More than 70 representatives – many of them CPN members – came together to learn about human trafficking and its impact on our community, in particular, vulnerable newcomer women. Participants included a range of stake-holders including local police, academics, faith groups, immigrant service agencies, women and youth organizations.
Often the most vulnerable populations in our community become victims of human trafficking. These vulnerable groups include: Aboriginal women, temporary foreign workers, youth and newcomer immigrants and refugees – especially newcomer women.
The seminar focused on raising awareness of the roots of human trafficking globally and locally on these vulnerable groups – while sharing strategies to prevent and combat human trafficking in the Greater Victoria Region and ensuring vulnerable newcomer females and their families receive key support from front line program and service providers. At the end of the session, an informal working group of key stakeholders was established to further guide, design and evaluate development of a community response protocol to address human trafficking in our region.
At the conclusion of the seminar, one participant commented:
“It was an eye opener that trafficking and smuggling is common in my province and more interesting that these could be practiced in front of my eyes without my knowledge. The education learned has given me strength to be on the look out in the community for trafficking or smuggling whereby I can take action by reporting to the authorities without endangering my life or the life of the victim.”
Additional funding has been received for 2019-20 that will see the planning and delivery of seminars and workshops that focus on human trafficking of vulnerable newcomer youth.
Learn more about Human Trafficking in BC: Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons
Photos of the seminar:
This project was made possible thanks to funding from the Government of BC – Civil Forfeiture Office and the United Way of Greater Victoria.