Human trafficking fight brought to Northern College
An ongoing campaign by local police forces in northern Ontario to fight human trafficking was brought to the Northern College campus in Timmins Wednesday.
The campaign is aimed at making people aware of the signs to watch out for in possible victims.
Important information waiting was for students at the Northern College residence when they got home.
Victim services workers say someone the students see every day could be a victim of human trafficking.
Melissa Turcotte is the Executive Director of Timmins and District Victim Services.
"Because we're that central hub, we're often seeing traffickers coming through and being trafficked on Highway 11, which will then turn into Highway 101. We'll then get them when they're at a hotel, potentially a college and that's why it's important to have this campaign going." said Turcotte.Two months ago, Timmins Police along with Timmins and District Victim Services launched the End Human Trafficking campaign to the general public, and now they hope college students will also pay attention.
Marc Depatie is the Community Liaison Officer for Timmins Police Service.
"These bits of information provided by the Timmins Police Service will better enable someone to be aware of the fact there are danger signs that they can be aware of and curtail their activity, so they don't become a victim of crime." said Depatie.
Some of the things to look out for include:
- someone being picked up or dropped off at irregular hours
- someone who is under someone else's control
- someone who is excessively tired or looks drugged
John Adams is a student at Northern College.
"People that are between the ages of 18-25, the very people that live in the same building, they're at a risk for being human trafficked." said Adams.
To date, officials say they have helped twelve victims of human trafficking in Timmins over the past 18 months.
"They may come in as a domestic violence situation, however, when we prompt questions to the victim, we will then determine that she is fact being trafficked." said Turcotte.
Taylor Purdy is also a student at Northern College.
"There's a lot of stigma around human trafficking, so people would think it's more prevalent in southern Ontario and bigger cities, than Timmins.” said Purdy.
Police urge people not to intervene if they think a human trafficking is taking place, but they do want you to report any information such as addresses and descriptions of people and vehicles that may help solve such crimes.