Where humanity is lost, some are never found

Ryan Jones
By Ryan Jones January 12, 2018 11:47

A pedestrian walks down Pitt Street West of Windsor traffic. (Photo by Ryan Jones)

By Ryan Jones

 

Traffic.

 

Not the type a passerby will see zooming along the streets of New York City. Not the type where people will slam the heels of their hands against the steering wheel out of frustration in bumper-to-bumper congestion. It is not even the smooth-sailing type, vehicles sparse, where people are easily able to cross the thick meridian into the lane of their choice.

 

There are many definitions for the word traffic. Some are not as obvious as others such as the moving of illegal objects.

 

Like humans.

 

According to a website called Human Trafficking Search, most victims are targeted in “plain sight.” Sometimes it does not happen in a crowd, but behind private walls and closed doors.

 

The click of a mouse, the tapping of a keyboard. He sends sentiments to her over Facebook, his hook sinking into her. He pulls and pulls and pulls until eventually she is on her way to meet him via Toronto-bound train in hopes of love, the only love this 17-year-old girl knows. From there they drive to the man’s home in Montreal. Exciting, right? Fists are thrown and her skin is painted in bruises like a canvas. A mottled landscape that shouts, “Help me!” These imprints are marks of submission and soon she is traveling from hotel to hotel, her body being sold for the needs of men –  used and then discarded.

 

Mary was one of Windsor’s human trafficking victims from 2014. She was found and rescued in Ottawa by a police detective, but many victims never see the light of rescue.

 

Recent efforts have been established to combat local human trafficking. In the month of October the Windsor Police Service, alongside Amherstburg, Chatham-Kent and LaSalle police and Legal Assistance of Windsor, were involved in a national operation called Northern Spotlight. This six-day project lead the WPS to 13 women who worked in the sex trade.  

 

Sgt. Steve Betteridge is the public information officer with the WPS. He said the operation was a collaborative law effort to reach out to people in the sex trade industry.

 

“Human trafficking, it’s a very complex issue involving the recruitment and transportation or harbouring of people for the purposes of exploitation,” said Betteridge.

 

Betteridge said one of the main goals for the operation was to get the word out to the public about the severity of the sex trade. He said out of the 13 women they contacted, 11 accepted offers to speak with support agencies.

 

“It is not something that happens overnight or with the flick of a switch, it’s usually something that develops over time,” said Betteridge.

 

He also says human trafficking is not too common in the city of Windsor, but at the same time it is difficult to measure.

 

“You could have a human trafficking victim who’s not even fully aware that they’re being a victim.”

 

Betteridge said they will continue to work with support agencies to combat the sex trade issue.

 

And so, the vehicles keep moving, skidding along the pavement and…

Life goes on.

Ryan Jones
By Ryan Jones January 12, 2018 11:47

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