Human Trafficking on the Rise in Mississauga

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Human trafficking isn't something people often think about when discussing Brampton or Mississauga, but it's a growing issue in Peel that authorities are trying to curb.

As recently as October, Peel police investigators from the Major Drugs and Vice Unit charged three people in relation to the human trafficking of an 18-year-old woman. According to police, the victim was lured into the sex trade by the three suspects and worked as an escort under their control throughout the GTA.

"Human trafficking is a complex and often a hidden crime that results in serious and long-term trauma for victims," Peel police said in a news release related to the arrests. "Human traffickers prey on the most vulnerable people in our society and use different tactics to control, abuse, exploit and profit from them."

Since human trafficking has become a more insidious issue in the area, a protocol has been launched to address it.

The protocol was launched by the Peel Human Trafficking Service Providers Committee at an event hosted by Trillium Health Partners - Chantel's Place. According to Trillium, service providers are now better equipped to deal with the once hidden—and absolutely terrifying—tragedy of human trafficking. The committee is made up of community, law enforcement and medical service providers across Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga and their protocol is intended to provide an overview of the issue and streamline support for victims and survivors.

While few people associate the suburbs with forced prostitution, the GTA is absolutely affected by devastating trafficking incidents. One of the committee’s more important tasks is actually raising awareness and informing members of the community that such abuses are not relegated to big urban areas and faraway countries. The committee is also working to encourage victims to come forward.

The campaign includes posters, placed throughout Peel, that provide information to victims seeking help.

"As police and community service providers, it is our responsibility to prevent victimization, enforce the human trafficking laws, including the prosecution of offenders, and to ensure that victims have the supports and services they need to begin to put their lives back together," said Peel Regional Police Chief Jennifer Evans in a news release.

Victims can also reach out to such organizations as Rising Angels and Trillium's Chantel's Place

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