Police Warning Residents to Be Aware of Human Trafficking in Mississauga

Most people don’t associate Mississauga with human trafficking, but police say there are victims in Peel.

February 22, 2018, has been designated as Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Peel Regional Police Major Drugs and Vice Unit would like to make the public aware that Human Trafficking is not only an international issue, it is occurring within our own community,” Peel police said in a statement.

Police say human trafficking occurs when a group or individual recruits, transports, transfers, receives, holds, conceals or harbours a person—or exercises control, direction or influence over the movements of a person—to exploit them.

Human trafficking, it appears, is on the rise everywhere.

According to Statistics Canada, human trafficking violations in Canada doubled between 2013 and 2014. Between 2009 and 2014, police reported 396 victims across Canada, of which 93 per cdent were women. Of those women, 47 per cent were between 18 and 24-years-old.

While most people associate trafficking with sexual exploitation, victims may also be coerced into providing forced labour.

Human trafficking is often described as a modern form of slavery.

Peel police say there are signs that may indicate that someone is a victim. They include:

  • Isolation from family and friends
  • New circle of friends
  • More than one cell phone
  • Possession of expensive items with no source of income
  • Change in style of dress
  • Unexplained bruises/cuts

Police say that parents who are concerned about sexual exploitation can take note of the following tips:

  • Monitor social media and internet use
  • Stay current with apps and social sites their child is using
  • Know your child’s friends
  • Educate your child on healthy relationships

Peel police are encouraging individuals to come forward and report human trafficking incidents to the Major Drugs and Vice Unit at (905) 453-3311, ext. 3555 or 3515.

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