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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Human Trafficking - some interesting data

A recent presentation led by Dr. John Winterdyk at Mount Royal University brought forward some interesting data on human trafficking. He noted that it now represents the second or third most profitable crime worldwide. It is the fastest growing crime and represents about $10 billion. It affects about 1 million people per year.

The forms of human trafficking include such things as sexual exploitation, forced labour, domestic servitude, benefit fraud and being made to work in the illicit drug industry (for example being brought to Canada and made to manage a grow operation).

This is a global problem in which technology has assisted in the ease of communication and movement. There is classic economics at work with a supply and demand equation.

There are countries of origin for trafficking; countries of transit and countries of destination. Canada likely is included in the latter two categories.  For many who are trafficked, they may well believe that they are being brought into a country for legitimate purposes only to find otherwise when they have arrived.

In this presentation evening we were offered a shortened version of act 1 of the play, "She has a name". This is a gritty, powerful play that highlights not only the impact of human smuggling on the victims but also on those who are vicariously traumatized by working against this intensely human crime. Excerpts and more details can be found at their website.

When watching the play, you are thrust into the reality that it is very hard for a victim to come forward and report the crime. The fear that they possess is powerful and the ability of society to protect may be wanting. At a conference I attended in May 2011, a worker from a mid east country spoke of trying to rescue trafficked children from China, only to see them returned to China where there was a high probability that they would be re-trafficked.

Dr. Winterdyk, along with Benjamin Perrin and Philip Reichel have published a new book, Human Trafficking: Exploring the international nature, concerns and complexities. It is published  by CRC Press.

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