GF City Council Commends Presentation on Human Trafficking Education

CityofGrandForks

Grand Forks City Council was visited by Cathy Peters this week, May 9th, as part of her mission to "traffick-proof" BC communities through education on human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

She calls the 54% indigenous representation in Canada's sex trade one of the country's worst cases of systemic racism, adding that the global sex trade is growing and the internet is where luring is happening.

“I’m one person trying to work on this, just know Alberta has got a whole taskforce working on- they’re 30 years ahead of us. The gangs now from Ontario and Quebec are pouring into BC; you need to know this…. We are at a tipping point: The federal government is actually listening to the sex industry from Vancouver to Victoria to fully legalize prostitution in the entire country.” Cathy Peters tells City Council

“Thirteen years old is the average age of recruitment; much lower for indigenous girls. In the Lower Mainland the target age is now 10 to 12 year old girls. COVID has made this worse; traffickers are organized and sophisticated.” she adds

Documents shared with Council include strategies for Municipalities to consider, tips for parents, strategies for police and much more.

Mayor Brian Taylor says the statistics were difficult for him to get through:

“I entered this with some scepticism but reading your package I learned a lot, and really I thought this only happened on television and yet in small communities we are still experiencing these things with vulnerable youth….”

Councillor Christine Thompson says no community is excluded:

“You don’t like to think that the sex trade is in a small community like Grand Forks but I do know for a fact that it is and that’s unfortunate. A question: Do you make this presentation into the Secondary Schools or even Elementary Schools?”

While City Council expressed interest in getting this knowledge to the SD51 schoolboard; Peters says it can be challenging getting this information into schools at all, calling a recent presentation the SD20 School Board an unusual occasion. She generally presents to local governments and other agencies, like for example a human trafficking webinar for all of law enforcement across Canada just last week.