Sex trafficking in Canada’s Ontario province has grown so quickly in recent years due to the influence of the internet that detectives and social workers believe thousands of women, some as young as 12, have been trafficked and ended up as prostitutes in what is casually referred to as “The Game” by those involved. According to an in-depth investigation by The Toronto Star, many of the women involved in prostitution are Canadian-born, and are often at the mercy of local pimps who earn up to $280,000 per sex worker by selling their services on sites like Backpage.com. Six victims spoke with the newspaper about how they ended up in the trade and how they eventually escaped. They described running away from their families, being abandoned by their parents, and being recruited at high school parties to enter a life where they were forced to have sex with all types of men, from lawyers and doctors to drug dealers and soldiers.
Canada only recently criminalized human trafficking, in 2005. Last year, legislators proposed creating an official task force to combat trafficking, but it has not yet been put into action.
“This is a Toronto problem, an Ontario problem and a Canada problem. Everyone thinks it’s not happening here, but it is,” Inspector Joanna Beaven-Desjardins, commander of the Toronto Police Sex Crimes Unit, told the paper.
Read the full story in The Toronto Star.