KEMPTVILLE — From shuttling victims along the 401 to predators using Snapchat and Instagram to target girls as young as 12, human trafficking is no small problem in Ontario. Hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, even libraries are used by human traffickers to set up and carry out these offences.
According to the website pimpingisnotcool.com, 89 percent of human trafficking cases in Canada involve Canadian youth between 12 and 21.
Precursor to Human Traffic Awareness Day in Canada on Feb. 22, information sessions on the topic have been organized for Friday, Feb. 21, in Leeds and Grenville counties:
- Kemptville Public library (1 Water Street Kemptville, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.)
- Prescott Public Library (360 Dibble Street W, Prescott, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
- Brockville Public Library (23 Buell Street, Brockville, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
- Rideau Lakes Public Library (26 Halladay Street Elgin, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.)
Organized by the Human Trafficking Coalition of Leeds and Grenville, the meetings follow a similar informational event on the subject held in neighbouring Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry counties this week. (During that Cornwall session, Ontario Provincial Police Sergeant Andrew Taylor from the Anti-Human Trafficking Investigation Coordination Team was set to present on the “seedy world of human trafficking, it’s prevalence and impact in this region.”)
The Coalition is composed of a small group of local professionals who have come together to address the issue of human trafficking, with the primary goal of public education and awareness. Members are drawn from the: Assault, Response & Care Centre; The Upper Canada District School Board; The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario; Brockville Police Service; Ontario Provincial Police (East Region); The Mayor of Westport; and Victim Services of Leeds & Grenville.