Call me sheltered, unaware and totally blinded. But I was shocked to find out that human trafficking was occurring in my own backyard (so to speak). Human trafficking – a term most women shy away from, want to ignore, pray to God that they never have to experience it either personally or through their children. A term that is on every mother’s mind when their daughter’s want to go overseas for a trip with friends (or alone).

Remember the 2008 movie “Taken” with Liam Neeson? His daughter goes to France on a vacation with a friend and ends up being sold into slavery, only to have daddy (Liam) rescue her before she is taken to Saudi Arabia (or somewhere else). I remember watching that movie and swearing my girls will NEVER go on a trip without me. But in my head … it was something that happened ‘over there’, never here in my own country, let alone in my own province!

It’s been all over the news lately here. In Edmonton, their first human trafficking charges were laid. Below is the story…

The following is from the Edmonton Sun dated September 16th, 2009:

“Edmonton’s first human trafficking charges were laid last week after police raided the Sachi Professional Massage and Spa, a licensed massage parlour at 17519 100 Ave. Cops allege that while some of Sachi’s staff were properly licensed, three immigrant women — one from China and two from Fiji — had been kept under lock and key for several weeks, forced to live at the business and service clients around the clock. Cops say the women, who were in Canada legally, were lured here from other cities. Their ID was allegedly confiscated and they were threatened with being exposed to their families if they didn’t co-operate. A man and two women were slapped with 20 charges, including human trafficking, living off the avails of prostitution and exercising control, direction or influence over a person for the purposes of prostitution. While he wouldn’t talk about any specifics in regard to any other massage parlours under investigation, Prince said Sachi “will not be the last.”

Prince said Ontario prostitutes are also being drawn to Alberta because of the economy.”

I’m shocked, appalled and upset. I’m mortified that in our culture, where woman’s lib is strong, where slavery is (supposedly) decimated and extinct … this could happen. Appalled that our culture still allows this to happen, that prostitution is too commonplace and that others believe they are ‘entitled’ to control others with sex – all for money. I am mortified for those woman who are subjected to the fear, shame and guilt of what they are forced to endure.