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Human trafficking a big problem in Canada

As many as 15,000 people become victims of human trafficking every year in Canada. That's far too many, says an MP who has devoted herself to the cause.

"Modern day slavery is really manipulation of the mind," said Joy Smith before speaking to a group of University of Alberta students Thursday afternoon.

"To convince people that they'll give them everything they want, but their real intention is to sell them."

It was part of the school's iCraveFreedom campaign, aimed to shine light on modern day slavery.

"The youth are our future. They're important people. Education is our greatest weapon. The more they know, the safer they are." Smith said.

"It's making a difference today when people are here listening to this, because they learn what to look for."

Students should keep their eyes open for signs of abuse, she added.

Her passion to combat human trafficking was sparked by her son, who spent two years on the RCMP's Integrated Child Exploitation Unit.

"The things he has seen has turned his hair grey," she said. "I found out more than I wanted to know, and that's when I started to try and do something about it."

She says organizers of human trafficking rings target the unsuspecting, the vulnerable.

They're manipulated into giving up their lives, and then once isolated, they are sold.

The trade is the second most profitable in the country next to the drug trade, said Smith.

So far, the RCMP have documented 49 ongoing cases of human trafficking before the courts, involving 76 human trafficking and 143 victims. Out of these 49 cases, 44 are cases of domestic trafficking.


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