October 24, 2014
The Native Women’s Association of Canada’s (NWAC) has just released their comprehensive report on the trafficking of Aboriginal women and girls in Canada for sexual exploitation. The report is part of several reports that were funded by the Canadian Women’s Foundation, along with their National Task Force Report. To access all the reports, please go to:http://canadianwomen.org/reports/trafficking
NWAC’s report is solutions-oriented and provides many recommendations and practices to help prevent trafficking and help Aboriginal women and girls to exit situations of sexual exploitation. The report also helps shed light on the nature of Aboriginal women and girls’ vulnerabilities to trafficking, and explores the larger societal factors that contribute to their over-representation in sex trafficking in Canada. Service providers, government, and those who engage with and support trafficked Aboriginal women and girls will find the resource valuable for the insights, strategies, and recommendations.
The report contains a comprehensive literature review, key information interviews, and surveys. NWAC worked with women who were experiential survivors, service providers, officers of the law, and judicial officers to gather information and stories. The report covers root causes, recruitment, prevention, exit strategies, legal, justice, and policy measures, as well as exploring some current Canadian initiatives into trafficking from a perspective that recognizes the importance of addressing the needs of Aboriginal women and girls.
One of the key findings from the report are that Aboriginal women and girls are over-represented in trafficking; with some research going so far as to find Aboriginal women and girls as the majority of those being sex trafficked in Canada today. Key informants in NWAC’s interviews, the survey, and in the literature repeatedly identified the Indian Residential School impacts and intergenerational trauma, systemic poverty, and discrimination as major factors in contributing to increasing vulnerability of Aboriginal women and girls.
The report calls for more initiatives to ensure and promote educational access and success for Aboriginal women and girls as a key preventative measure; and that for Aboriginal women and girls exiting exploitative circumstances, they require non-judgmental attitudes, harm reductionist approaches, culturally-relevant programming, safe housing, long-term counselling, and education and training to make sustainable alternative healthy lifestyles. As a result of its findings and in recognition of the needs and well-being of trafficked Aboriginal women and girls, NWAC recommends decriminalizing women in prostitution and prosecuting pimps and johns.
Teresa Edwards, B.A., JD.
Director, International Affairs and Human Rights,
Native Women’s Association of Canada
1 Nicholas Street, 9th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Tel: 613.722.3033 x 235
Toll Free: 1.800.461.4043