EDMONTON, Alberta – Two separate cases of human trafficking were made public today, as Calgary Police and RCMP laid separate charges in Calgary and Okotoks.
Calgary Police charged a 32-year old Toronto man with human trafficking after he allegedly forced his girlfriend to work in the sex trade against her will.
After meeting in 2013, the man allegedly arranged for his girlfriend to travel to Edmonton to work in the sex trade, where she was forced to send all her earnings back to him electronically. According to police, the woman was repeatedly moved across Canada to work in the sex trade between 2014 and June 2016, when she told police her story.
It appears the victim was cut off from her friends and family and was denied routine medical treatments.
“Physical and social isolation is a common control tactic used by traffickers in Alberta,” noted Andrea Burkhart, Executive Director of ACT Alberta. “Recent research that ACT Alberta has conducted confirms this. That’s part of why it is so important to reach out to victims and ensure they are believed. ”
In an unrelated case, RCMP have charged Samantha Pederson of High River with multiple counts of human trafficking, procuring persons under the age of 18, sexual exploitation of a young person, and assault after allegedly using social media to recruit five girls between 13 and 16 years of age to work in the sex trade. She will appear in Okotoks Provincial Court on October 28.
“Human trafficking is an extreme violation of human rights and a horrific abuse,” Burkhart stressed. “Albertans are becoming more aware of human trafficking, but that has to come with action.”
“We need to ensure that victims receive the help they need.”
Human trafficking is the act of forcing, coercing, or deceiving an individual into selling sex or labour for the personal gain of another.
ACT Alberta works collaboratively with government agencies, law enforcement, and frontline service to coordinate services for victims of human trafficking, provide training and education to service providers and the public, research and collect data on human trafficking, and build capacity for community-based responses.
To learn more about ACT Alberta, please visit our website: www.actalberta.org