“ [T]here is but one coward on earth, and that is the coward that dare not know.” -W.E.B Du Bois
Human trafficking is an invisible, modern-day form of slavery, that is prevalent throughout Canada. When one thinks about “human trafficking”, an image of Vietnam or Thailand pops into their head, and not in our Canada. However, this crime has penetrated our soil and it is a problem needing to be dealt with by force. This unspeakable crime has been invisible to the majority of Canadians, due to the lack of awareness and political will to combat it. About a year ago, I went to a BPW London meeting, where a speaker named Julia Parker, from the Salvation Army Correctional and Justice Department, enlightened me on the topic. She stated that human trafficking is in Canada, and is even in London, Ontario. “At least 2,500 foreign women are brought into the Canadian sex trade each year by human traffickers” and this number does not include individuals trafficked domestically. (The Salvation Army, 2010) This realization, stunned me. I was one of those individuals, where the image of a foreign country was closely tied to the thought of human trafficking.
Fortunately, awareness for human trafficking has increased dramatically in recent years, thanks to the help of dedicated individuals and NGOs throughout Canada. BPW, at the local, provincial and national level has worked tirelessly to advocate and lobby for the combatting of human trafficking in Canada at all fronts of the problem.
The above paragraphs represent an excerpt from a final paper that I submitted to my professor on current criminal justice policy in Canada. In class, I was trying to determine what my final paper topic would be. Human trafficking has always been an interest of mine, so I discussed with my professor about writing on this topic. I also mentioned the NGO I was involved in and how BPW advocates for stronger legislation to act as a deterrent for perpetrators of this crime. My professor showed an interest in the topic and the group and encouraged me to write on different perspectives and influences on Canadian human trafficking policy.
The dynamic women that I have encountered throughout my two year membership at BPW London, have further developed my interest to write on the “invisible” topic and to bring this issue to the attention of my fellow classmates. My contacts also provided me with valuable information for my paper, in particular I interviewed BPW London member, National BPW President, Doris Hall and a BPW meeting speaker, Julia Parker. Their passion and knowledge of the issues were great assets which contributed towards my paper.
BPW as an NGO is an important part of our society and should continue their advocacy in bringing the issue of human trafficking to the forefront of the Canadian conscience.