Project focuses on human trafficking victims

Project Safe Horizon, a Barrie Police Service initiative, focuses primarily on the victims of human trafficking and their safety, both immediate and longer term care, in the hopes of ending human trafficking in our area. This collaborative effort allows agencies to effectively react to victims of human trafficking, in order to provide all the necessary services.
Human trafficking is a crime and human rights abuse that’s sometimes referred to as “modern day slavery.” There are different types of human trafficking that take place in Ontario, including sex trafficking and labour trafficking. Forced marriage is also considered a form of human trafficking.
Human trafficking targets young adolescents trying to fit in, police note. They are vulnerable to someone giving them attention, and they (traffickers/pimps) make young girls feel special, and in doing so they buy them things, taking them shopping, etc. They know just how to buy their trust and sometimes even love. Traffickers control their victims in many ways, including psychological manipulation, emotional abuse, lies, addiction, threats, violence, isolation, and taking control of ID/documents and money.
More than 90 per cent of the victims of sex trafficking within Canada come from Canada, according to government statistics. Sex-trafficking victims often are forced to work out of hotels and motels, where staff and visitors aren’t aware of the warning signs.
Human trafficking targets primarily adolescents as young as 13. Parents/guardians need to pay attention to what their teens may be doing on the internet/social media, as it may be a tool used by people (traffickers/pimps) to lure youths into exploitive acts.
There are several signs that a young person, may be in trouble including;

  • a new boyfriend nobody has met
  • new gifts
  • being absent from school
  • becoming isolated from friends and family
  • secrecy around on-line activities
  • any physical symptoms of bruising or injuries

For further information on Ontario’s Strategy to End Human Trafficking click here.