Most of you have probably heard the shocking story in the news of three teenage girls in Ottawa who have been charged with trafficking other teenage girls between the ages of 13 and 17 for sex. This CBC clip brings up some good points about this case.
When I first heard about this, these were the questions that came to mind:
- Where did these girls learn this behaviour?
- Were they exploited at one point themselves?
- Who provided them with the drugs which they used on at least one of the victims?
- How did they know where “paying customers” were?
- Was there a promise or lure of money? Or were their actions driven by threats? Or both?
It is quite common for traffickers to use their victims to recruit others. Since most sex trafficking victims are female, and because women are more likely to trust other women, pimps can recruit more victims in a more invisible, risk-free manner.
This would never have happened if it had not been profitable. If men were not willing to pay for sex, the market for flesh would dry up. The news loves to focus on supply when the issue is demand.
As my friend Jennifer Lucking from Walk With Me pointed out in this article, technology is a vital part of pimping and exploitation. The victims were lured through facebook. Parents need to be aware of their children’s online friends.
What do you think about this? If these teenage girls are found guilty, what kind of punishment is suitable? Should they be punished at all? How do you think we can protect kids from falling prey to these types of situations without robbing them of free will completely? Do you think a 15 year old is capable of pimping without outside involvement? Would love to hear your comment below.
Whatever unfolds over the coming weeks, this case is a reminder to us that there are cracks in our society which young boys and girls can falls through, and it is our responsibility to prevent those vulnerabilities. Please, would you consider making a Personal Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking in response to this horrific and sad trafficking case?