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April 24, 2013 / Man in the Mirror

Simcoe County: Human slavery awareness topic of tour

Barrie Advance

Human trafficking is not just about kidnapped children working in the sex trade in Thailand.

It’s about women in Canada who may be paid escorts or exotic dancers, trapped in a meagre lifestyle that sees them relocated on an underground circuit, according to the founder of Men Against Sexual Trafficking in London, Ont.

Stan Burditt is coming to Barrie this weekend to raise awareness about human trafficking.

Getting into the sex trade can happen all too easily, Burditt explained.

The average age a girl gets into the trade is 14. For aboriginal girls, it’s 12.

Pimps or recruiters can hang around high schools and befriend those who may be vulnerable because they don’t feel like they’re part of the ‘in crowd’.

“They give them a ride in their high-end car and eventually become their boyfriend. That’s what the victim thinks. Then they start going to parties and get them drinking and into drugs. It’s easy to slip something into someone’s drink.”

Girls and women who are trapped can be tough to spot. Some may be confined to rooms where they serve a steady stream of clients. Others may be under constant surveillance by a driver or a pimp.

Still others may be working in legitimate businesses, but offer other services on the side, he said.

Local anti-human trafficking advocate Judy Nuttall is establishing a committee to raise awareness, stop human trafficking and help workers escape. Workers can be male or female, minors or adults.

The Freedom Tour stops in Barrie Sunday. Burditt will speak at 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn’s Churchill Room South. Along with Burditt will be a former sex-trade worker and a survivor who now serves on the London Committee Against Human Trafficking.

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