It was just a few weeks ago that the Joint Waterloo-Guelph Human Trafficking team, which is staffed by members of both police services, arrested a Guelph man for both both trafficking the victim, and assaulting them himself. It’s a good reminder that human trafficking happens in our backyard, and it’s not what pop culture and conspiracy theories make you think it is.
According to Statistics Canada there was a 44 per cent increase in human trafficking incidents over one-year from 2018 to 2019. It’s why this summer the Government of Ontario made $2.4 million available for necessary training and resources so that every school board in the province can create a new curriculum that will educate children about the dangers of trafficking, and to create new anti-trafficking protocols.
Having said that, some people have been critical of the Provincial government’s direction to educate young people about the dangers of human trafficking because they say it focuses on one small aspect of gender-based violence. There’s also the elephant in the room, QAnon conspiracy theories that focus on imaginary boogeymen instead of real victims, which not only hurts the cause, but ironically hurts the people they supposedly want to help.
We’re joined this week by Jensen Williams, who is the public educator at Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis. She will tell us how human trafficking works, and where our region sits in the the human trafficking criminal ecosytem. She will also talk about the way that trafficking issues get sensationalized, and the impact of QAnon on the real efforts to end trafficking. And finally, she will discuss what trafficking curriculum in schools should look like, and what kind of help the victims of trafficking need.
WARNING: Since we’re talking about issues of human trafficking and sexual and gender-based violence, listener discretion is advised.
So let’s talk about the real issue of human trafficking on this week’s Guelph Politicast!
You can get in touch with Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis, and their Anti-Human Trafficking Program at their website, or by calling the 24-hour crisis line at 519-836-5710, or 1-800-265-7233 (SAFE). Also, this year’s virtual Take Back the Night event, hosted by Women in Crisis, will be held on Facebook Live on Thursday September 16 at 6:30 pm.
NOTE: You can hear interviews with all of the Federal election candidates running in Guelph every Monday on the podcast version of Open Sources Guelph, and every Thursday at 5 pm on CFRU 93.3 fm or cfru.ca! For interviews with candidates from Wellington-Halton Hills, tune into special editions of the Wellington-Halton Hills Politicast here on Saturdays.
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Photo Credit: Protest against human trafficking in Market Square in October 2017.