I think I can comfortably speak for all Nova Scotians when I say that this is something we never want to have to worry about happening to our children, partners, siblings, or neighbours. And yet, we are now hearing that a number of Nova Scotian women have been identified as victims, and survivors, across Canada.
It is upsetting and scary to think about the odds of this happening to someone you know, but the odds are there. Human trafficking and sex trafficking can happen to anyone, however, adult women and female children represent a large part of victims and survivors.
Actions like this still exist in our communities because of the ways in which our society perpetuates the idea that certain groups inherently deserve more power than others. We are failing so many communities, including women and girls, Indigenous peoples, African Nova Scotians, and the queer and trans communities, who experience sexualized and violent crimes at intolerable rates, when we fail to teach our youth to treat one another with respect.
Furthermore, we need to escape from the impression that victims and survivors of human trafficking are at fault for their realities. Human trafficking is a result of coercion, exploitation, physical force, financial control, manipulation, and other dishonest actions on the part of traffickers, and not the mere result of poor decision making.
While we all need to do our part to encourage the systemic change needed to truly end the cycle of violence, in the meantime we also need to know the signs of human trafficking, and how to respond, to effectively protect ourselves and our loved ones.
In response to this need, the Pictou County Women’s Resource and Sexual Assault Centre will be offering a free, one-day workshop on human trafficking to residents of Pictou County, on Nov. 10, 2017, through the MORPH initiative. Anyone looking to prepare themselves for responding to human trafficking can follow Pictou County Women’s Resource and Sexual Assault Centre or MORPH Pictou County on Facebook for updates, or contact Shelley Curtis-Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay safe, Pictou County.