Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The cold reality of global human trafficking

abuse accountability child prostitution crime corruption sex trafficking slavery exploitation

On Oct. 17, 2017, Cathy Peters, a longtime anti-human trafficking educator and speaker, presented to Whistler's mayor and council about human trafficking, sexual exploitation and youth exploitation.

Peters spoke for five minutes, detailing the disturbing realities of the clandestine global sex trade.

"Since Whistler is a global tourism destination, there will be a robust sex trade with a very large and growing demand," Peters said.

"To satisfy that growing demand, there has to be a supply. The supply is typically youth, children and the vulnerable—Aboriginal, Asian, migrants, disabled, mentally challenged, the poor, in foster care, and every girl under 14."

Peters finished with three asks: a resolution at the local level to present to the Union of BC Municipalities and Federation of Canadian Municipalities, as well as the federal public safety and health ministries; that Whistler council write a letter of support for Peters to present to the Lower Mainland Local Government Association, and; that she be permitted to do a presentation to the local RCMP detachment.

No resolutions were passed that night, with then-Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden saying council would discuss the issue with staff before taking next steps.

Since that presentation, Peters has sent two follow-up letters to mayor and council, with no substantial responses aside from the token acknowledgment of receipt.

"No response, no action, no questions, no follow-up, although I did receive a couple of letters from city council acknowledging that they had received my correspondence," Peters said, contrasting that with her presentation to Courtenay city council, in which she was given 10 minutes to present and fielded several questions.

Asked why council never followed up with Peters or supported her asks, a spokesperson for the Resort Municipality of Whistler said it defers to the RCMP on criminal and public safety matters.

But it was interesting that out of all her presentations to city councils (a dozen in total), Whistler's mayor and council were the only ones with nothing to say and no questions to ask, Peters said.

Was she surprised by that?

"Not really," she said.

"I believe council is aware there is crime in their area, but they do not want to deter from impacting tourism business and real estate development/growth and their world-class sports reputation."  (more...)


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