We might be inclined to think that human trafficking, namely the trafficking of young women for the purpose of prostitution, is a rather “new” phenomenon. Given the influx of films like The Whistleblower (2010) and Robert Bilheimer’s Not My Life (also 2010), in which he asks “What kind of society cannibalizes its own children? […] Can we do these sorts of things on such a large scale and still call ourselves human in any meaningful sense of the term?”
But sadly, grotesquely, it is not new but perhaps is more universal. The CBC reported yesterday on a human trafficking bust in Toronto where many of the victims were from my province of Nova Scotia.
The arrests came as no surprise to Hailey Thomas, a Grade 12 student at Prince Andrew High School in Dartmouth.
“So many young girls are recruited from schools, group homes, things like that,” she said. “If we could give this information to young women, they could identify, ‘I think I am in this situation’ or ‘I think one of my friends might be in this situation.'”
Nova Scotia is fertile ground for trafficking for a number of reasons, but I would argue that the largest reason is the vulnerability of our children. A 2014 report exposed that “not only have we broken the promise to end child poverty for the children who were living it in 1989, but a higher percentage of our children now live in poverty than was the case in 1989.”
This socioeconomic vulnerability, paired with the degenerating state of young women’s confidence and self-worth (source: Nearly every high-school aged girl’s Facebook page) alongside a loosening on the legislation of prostitution is creating a supply and demand for trafficking that Canada has perhaps never seen before. When Grade 12 students aren’t shocked to hear about their schoolmates being trafficked, it’s time to wake up to the reality of the situation and take the blinders off.by