On February 5, 2018, the Timmins Police Service and Victim Services launched a new initiative designed to educate the public and raise awareness about human trafficking.
Human trafficking happens when victims are deceived or forced to work in places like the sex industry, sweatshops, businesses or on the streets. It can happen anywhere, including in airports hotels, or on public transportation.
The #EndHumanTrafficking campaign is predominately media/awareness based, however also includes extra training for police officers, as well as those in the hospitality industry who may encounter victims of human trafficking in their workplaces.
“Our ultimate goal here is to get help for the victims that we know are out there, even in our own community,” said TPS Staff Sergeant Danny Charest. “That starts with educating residents about the signs of human trafficking, as well as letting any victims know that there are resources available to assist them.”
Signs that someone may be a victim include:
• They appear withdrawn/intimidated
• They may show signs of physical abuse
• They may be made up to look older than they actually are
• The person/people they’re with appears to be preventing them from moving about freely
• They may have tattoos that mark ownership
• They don’t have their own credit cards or forms of identification
The initiative will run for the next several months, thanks to funding from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. The funding has allowed additional advertising to further increase awareness about human trafficking.
If you think a criminal offence has taken place, or may be taking place, don’t intervene. Call police to report any concerns about human trafficking/sexual exploitation. Record all relevant
information including locations and addresses of possible suspicious activity, descriptors of people, vehicle license plates, makes and models of vehicles, and a description of the concerning activity.