Indigenous communities are not new to being victims of abuse and mistreatment, since the 1500’s they have been targets for the colonist man to push their agenda. They have experienced a cultural genocide, where their traditions, beliefs, skin colour, land and children have been subjected to abuse, manipulation, and death. Human trafficking continues to prey these communities with the sexual exploitation of aboriginal women and girls who are as young as 12 years old. Even worse, half of the victims in Canada who experience human trafficking are aboriginal.
Beatrice Wallace-Littlechief recounts her story of where she was was left unwanted by her family and was placed in the system where the pimps were able to get hold of her and take advantage of her for sexual exploitation. When she tried to escape, they found her again. She experienced years of abuse that have left her scarred physically and emotionally.*
The reason there is such a disproportionate victimization on indigenous populations is because they experience the highest level of poverty in Canada, with every 1 in 4 persons living below the poverty line. Other problem’s include an inadequate education system for young children, lack of social services, high crime rates, and employment barriers. Traffickers see how vulnerable these people are and try to appeal to the idea that they can offer them a better future, when coercion and deception is what underlies it all.
- “There are about 400 children and youth exploited on the streets of Winnipeg each year, 70–80% of which are of Aboriginal descent”
- “The process of grooming and prepping Aboriginal children and youth for entry into the sex trade is a long process that begins in childhood”
- “Most participants have a family history that involves residential schools and/or the child welfare system”
- “Youth are more likely to work the street trade than the indoor trade, working most often in cars and trick pads”
- “Predators are typically middle to upper class white males”**