Canada: Sex Traffickers Target Aboriginal Women and Girls
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 10:20 AM

Aboriginal women and girls in Canada are highly vulnerable to sex trafficking, according to a new study by Public Safety Canada. The study, “Trafficking of Aboriginal Women and Girls,” explores how aboriginal women and girls are recruited and forced to participate in Canada’s commercial sex trade by pimps, friends and family members. Participants in the study told Public Safety researchers that, “the trafficking of aboriginal women and girls was part of a wider 'Canadian crisis’” involving extensive violence and abuse of indigenous women and girls.

According to the study’s findings, trafficking and violence are fueled by poverty, neglect and a “deep distrust” of law enforcement and Canadian institutions by the aboriginal community. A lack of faith in the criminal justice system is related in part to allegations of police participation in the sexual exploitation of aboriginal women and girls. 

The Canadian government released the study in September after the Canadian Press submitted a public records request. The study brought renewed attention to a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) report released earlier this year that revealed elevated homicide rates among aboriginal women. The RCMP report found that at least 1200 aboriginal women and girls disappeared or were murdered between 1980 and 2012.

Compiled from: Rennie, Steve, Aboriginal women, girls targets for human trafficking, says new report, Canadian Press and CBC News (September 19, 2014); Boyer, Yvonne and Kampouris, Peggy, Trafficking of Aboriginal Women and Girls, Community Safety and Countering Crime Branch, Public Safety Canada (May 2014).