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The Freedom Tour
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By Stan Burditt, founder of MAST

London Anti-Human Trafficking Committee and Men Against Sexual Trafficking

With funding provided by Justice Canada, the London Anti-Human Trafficking Committee (LAHT) and Men Against Sexual Trafficking (MAST) recently concluded The Freedom Tour to raise awareness about the growing problem of the sexual exploitation and trafficking of Ontario's youth. Our young people, especially aboriginal youth, are at risk of being trafficked and the problem exists in virtually every community in the province.

The tour took place during National Victims Of Crime Awareness week from April 21st -27th with the theme being "We All Have A Role". Stops were made in Barrie, North Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Marathon, Thunder Bay and Pic River First Nation and spoke to hundreds of people about the issue of sex trafficking. Those who attended were shocked by what they learned about what happens in their own communities.

During the same week an information booth was established outside the London Central Library and members of LAHT distributed information about the issue of human trafficking and other problems such as domestic violence and bullying.

Stan Burditt, founder of MAST, says "When I learned about the severity of the problem of human trafficking about 3 years ago my faith in God led me to become actively involved to make others aware of this issue."

The Freedom Tour also had a petition for the Ontario Government which urges them to support stronger legislation against human trafficking and also to provide more funding for those who are working so diligently to combat this horrendous crime. Burditt says "The government of Ontario has fallen far behind other provinces in providing funding. More money is required for law enforcement to dedicate officers to investigation and Non-Governmental Organizations involved in rescue, restoration and raising awareness require more funds to do their work efficiently."

Sex Trafficking happens right here in London so both LAHT and MAST are ready to make presentations to churches, service clubs, men's groups and anyone else who wants to learn more about this problem. It is important for parents and grandparents to be educated about this issue so that they can protect the children in their lives from being exploited. THE NEXT VICTIM COULD BE SOMEONE YOU LOVE!

To contact LAHT please go to: www.stopht.ca

MAST can be reached at www.mast-canada.com

Please pray for the safety of our young people and the work of these two fine groups.


Asking Questions to Identify Human Trafficking
  • Are they doing the work and being paid what was promised?
  • Are they being forced or pressured to work?
  • Do they have access to their papers/travel documents/identification?
  • Are they or their loved ones being threatened?
  • Are they free to go where they please?

Human trafficking is a global and multi-faceted phenomenon. This modern form of slavery is characterized by the exploitation of women, men and children who are deprived of liberty. The United Nations has stated that human trafficking is tied with illegal arms sales as the second largest criminal activity in the world.

We're Talking Human Trafficking - Not Human Smuggling

While the two terms are often used interchangeably, it is important to distinguish between human trafficking and human smuggling. The major difference involves matters of exploitation.

What's the Difference?

HUMAN SMUGGLING involves the organized transport of persons across an international border, usually in exchange for a sum of money, and sometimes involving dangerous conditions. The relationship between the smuggler and the person being smuggled is a voluntary business transaction if it ends when the client reaches the intended destination. In this case, the financial component of a human smuggling transaction is a one-time fee paid to the smuggler before arrival or installment payments after arrival.

However, smuggling turns into a situation of HUMAN TRAFFICKING if there is exploitation of people through force, coercion, threat, fraud or deception including acts generally defined as human rights abuses. The relationship between trafficker and victim does not end upon arrival at destination, and the trafficked person may be subjected to debt bondage, forced labor or sexual exploitation.

Human Trafficking occurs both across international borders and within national boundaries. International Human Trafficking involves someone who, in the process of being trafficked, crosses an international border. Although it may include an element of human smuggling, internationally trafficked persons do not necessarily enter a country clandestinely or illegally. They may enter with a valid passport, visa or working papers. Domestic Human Trafficking

While human trafficking is usually associated with migrants who are trafficked into Canada, it may also be a purely domestic phenomenon occurring wholly with Canada. Vulnerable, economically challenged and socially dislocated sectors of the Canadian population represent a potential pool of trafficking victims. This includes teenage runaways, as well as those who may be lured to urban centres or who migrate there voluntarily.

The Promises Made to People Who Are Trafficked
  • Money
  • Work
  • Education
  • Freedom
  • The life of your dreams
  • Financial help for the family
  • A better life
  • A promising future

How to Recognize A Person Who is Being Trafficked
People who are being trafficked may:
  • Speak neither English or French, or may not speak on their own behalf;
  • Originate from foreign countries;
  • Be unaware of local surroundings even though they have been in the area for an extended period of time;
  • Show evidence of control, intimidation or abnormal psychological fear;
  • Not be able to move or leave job;
  • Have bruises or show other signs of abuse;
  • Show signs of malnourishment;
  • Be frequently accompanied or moved by their trafficker.

What is the Mindset of A Person Who Has Been Trafficked?

The person may:
  • Not self-identify as a victim of human trafficking. People who are trafficked may not appear to need social services because they have a place to live, food to eat, medical care and what they think is a paying job;
  • Be taught to distrust outsiders, especially law enforcement. They have a sense of fear and distrust toward the government and police (i.e. fear of deportation in international cases);
  • Feel better in their current situation than where they came from, even if they are being exploited;
  • Be completely unaware of their rights or may have been intentionally misinformed about their rights in Canada;
  • Fear for their families or loved ones as some traffickers may threaten to harm them if they report their situations to, or cooperate with, law enforcement.

If you wish to report a crime anonymously, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).