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Canadian News May 6, 2021 8:12 PM EST

Human trafficking at a record high in Canada: StatCan

On Tuesday, Statistics Canada released new data showing that human trafficking had increased by an alarming 44 percent from 2018 to 2019. But many experts say that the problem is even worse than statistics indicate.

Human trafficking at a record high in Canada: StatCan
James Anthony Montreal QC

This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be up to date.

On Tuesday, Statistics Canada released new data showing that human trafficking had increased by an alarming 44 percent from 2018 to 2019. But many experts say that the problem is even worse than statistics indicate.

Experts say that the vast majority of human trafficking cases go unreported, for various reasons.

According to the Globe and Mail, many victims feel that they wind up being re-victimized when they report cases due to an unresponsive justice system. In fact, many people are discouraged from going to the police because of what people who reported their abuse have personally told them.

"That is the tip of the iceberg. The majority of women or girls who are trafficked or sexually exploited do not report to police for many reasons," commented Megan Walker, the London Abused Women’s Centre's director.

Walker went on to mention that, during the five years were Statistics Canada reported 500 cases of human trafficking in the area in which she works, she personally watched 481 women and girls come through her door alone. This indicates that the number of cases reported by Statistics Canada is way too low and is "actually not the number."

She then went on to explain that there are a lot of cultural factors that need to be addressed in order to shed more light on the issue and bring more perpetrators to justice:

"If those systemic issues could be addressed meaningfully with outcomes that provide women with the support they need going through the process, the numbers reported to police would be significantly higher than 500,"

Authorities, however, have claimed that the increase in statistics means that more of these cases are actually now coming onto law enforcement's radar.

Corporal David Lane, NS's Coordinator for Human Trafficking cases, commented via e-mail:

"I believe the increase can be directly related to the rise in education, awareness and the great partnerships that law enforcement, NGOs and advocates are forming to combat this heinous crime. As we begin to shine a light on how these traffickers operate it is making it more difficult for them to hide."

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