As part of the 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, officials raise awareness about human sex-trafficking
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence kicked off on Nov. 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until Dec. 10, Human Rights Day.
Officials said women who are victims of human sex trafficking may face fatal consequences if they attempt to escape which is an assault on the fundamental human rights of victims.
The Timmins and Area Women in Crisis Centre helps women who are victims of human sex trafficking, which it said is nothing new in Timmins, but said it's helping more women who are being trafficked than usual.
“It is much more pervasive and clearly looks almost very obvious at times and it’s really difficult because it’s scary. Women trying to leave a situation of trafficking is really difficult," said Julie Nobert-DeMarchi, executive director of the Timmins and Area Women in Crisis Centre.
Since May 2019, Timmins Police have only laid human sex trafficking charges against two men.
“The Justice system is really difficult to maneuver when it comes to dealing with traffickers so it’s really difficult to arrest and to get the information and to make to make those arrests and to charge them with trafficking charges," said Nobert-DeMarchi.
She said it is not easy for a woman or girl who's being sex trafficked to say she's done and leave the situation. She said what happens more around the Timmins area is that women are paying off their drug and shelter debts with sex and/or being used to smuggle drugs.
Timmins Police officials said often, women who are being sex trafficked done't even realize that what's happening to them is inappropriate and illegal.
“Human trafficking under the 'romeo-pimp' premise ... they don’t even realize that they’re being victimized. They feel as though my boyfriend is entitled to have me serve as an escort in various sets of circumstances.”
Nobert-DeMarchi said what is good is that the community is better educated on the issue and are more aware of the signs. Police said the average age of a victim of sex trafficking in Canada is fourteen years old.