Human trafficking, it's a difficult conversation to have, but it's a topic that all families should be discussing
Former Member of Parliament, Joy Smith says if family members and friends don't discuss this problem, they could also become victims.
Smith has been fighting to end human trafficking for over 25 years. She first became aware of human trafficking from her police officer son, Edward, who was working in the Integrated Child Exploitation Unit (ICE). Over the years she has helped many young victims who have been exploited or trafficked by their abusers.
She says the average age of a girl entering the sex trade, or being trafficked is between 12-14 years old. She says 93 percent of those trafficked are born and bred right here in Canada.
In Parliament, Joy Smith made Canadian history as the first sitting MP to amend the Criminal Code twice, passing Bill C-268, mandatory minimum sentencing for trafficking of children 18 years and younger, and Bill C-310, which reaches Canadian law into other countries where Canadian citizens or permanent residents traffic or exploit others abroad. These laws provide an incentive for survivors to testify against their abusers, knowing that their perpetrators will be brought to justice under Canadian law.
In 2011 she founded the Joy Smith Foundation, which seeks to end human trafficking in Canda by raising awareness through education, and by providing funds to frontline organizations that rescue and rehabilitate victims of this terrible crime.