Ben Perrin researched human trafficking in Canada and has just published a book: “Invisible Chains”. A few sisters and associates attended his book launching. Just when you think you are well informed about this topic, you learn there is more to the horror story.
Neither Quebec nor Canada has an action plan to combat human trafficking. Traffickers have a plan, Canada doesn’t. Ben Perrin illustrated what this means concretely:
Last January the guards with the Canada Border Services Agency met Natalie and believed her to be a victim of human trafficking because of the mysterious circumstances of her arrival. “Authorities placed Natalie in the immigration detention centre just outside Montreal, a prison-like complex surrounded by barbed wire.” The Montreal Refugee Centre called this: “a breakdown of the child protection system…” This 11-year-old spent her first month in Quebec alone because there is no system in place to co-ordinate services required for trafficking victims.
Another injustice is that traffickers who are brought to justice are sentenced but there is no law that demands that traffickers return the money they made off their victims. Consequently after a few years in jail, they leave prison rich people. Presently a member of the Bloc Quebecois plans to table a bill in parliament to change this law so that the money will be used to rehabilitate victims.
The highlight of the book launching for me was meeting a young woman who had been in the sex trade 14 years and who is now very militant and speaks out against all forms of prostitution. She is truly a sign of HOPE. Ben Perrin also challenged Canada to become a sign of HOPE. “Together we can unearth the injustice that has taken part in our country and around the world.”
Phyllis Douillard SNJM