Thousands of vulnerable men, women and children fall prey to traffickers in their own country or become a victim of international racket of human trafficking. Trafficking in persons is a heinous crime and violation of human rights. It involves the recruiting, transporting, transferring, receiving, holding, concealing, harbouring as well as exercise of control over the movements of a person, in order to exploit.
Although many parts of the world came to a standstill, the COVID pandemic did not slow down human trafficking. Canada and almost all the countries around the world have seen a rise in trafficking cases during the COVID-19 lockdown. Loss of jobs, income and increased amount of time on social networking sites has made easy access to targeting and exploitation of both adults and children. Systems failed to provide necessary protection to the victims and the survivors due to the limited access to essential services during the pandemic. In Canada, 119 new cases were identified and reported by police in 2019, up 44% from the previous years. Majority of victims are women, youth, indigenous peoples and LGBTQS+ members that are vulnerable to such crimes.
United Nations observes July 30th as World Day Against Trafficking in Persons to create global awareness about the issue. In 2019, the government of Canada announced the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, a five-year plan to address human trafficking in Canada and internationally. Creating awareness against such crimes, protecting victims, and potential victims, collaborating and coordinating to identify, and prosecute human trafficking cases will strengthen the efforts to keep the vulnerable secure. Till then the Blue Heart, a campaign by UN, will remind us of sadness of the victims and the cold heartedness of the perpetrators. Every Canadian needs to challenge and speak out against this inhuman trade of buying and selling of fellow humans for personal gain.