An activist against human trafficking has appealed to Courtenay council to help curb the crime otherwise known as modern day slavery.
“This crime is now targeting our children,” Cathy Peters said Monday at council. “Children is where the money is. We cannot tolerate this.”
Peters is a retired inner city high school teacher who has spent 25 years working on the issue of human trafficking. It’s defined as the recruitment, transportation or harboring of individuals for the purpose of exploitation, typically in the sex trade or forced labour.
In her presentations, Peters outlines several strategies for police, cities and municipalities to consider. Cyberspace safety training, and initiating ‘john’ deterrents are examples. Another idea to help victims is to have exit strategies in place, and 24/7 wraparound programs involving an agency such as the Salvation Army.
Public awareness is also vital to combat human trafficking in order to combat a ‘culture of tolerance.’
Peters is encouraged by federal legislation that targets the demand by charging the buyer of sex. Demand, she notes, is driven by the three As of Internet porn: anonymous, accessible and affordable.
“We’re in a different world now,” Peters said.
She asked council to consider a resolution to help stop the “rapidly growing crime.” She said a letter to the provincial government would also help.
“The premier loves what I’m doing,” Peters said.
Mayor Larry Jangula acknowledged the existence of the “hidden crime.”
Due to its hidden nature, most human trafficking activities are undetected or unreported, says the Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons (OCTIP).
Peters hopes to make a presentation at the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities convention, April in Campbell River.
For more information about the topic, visit thetraffickedhuman.org