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Human sex trafficking is the fastest-growing crime in Canada, and North Bay women are being enticed to give it a try. Girls as young as 13 are being promised cash, pampering in hair and nail salons, as well as health and dental care, but it all comes at a cost — a steep one.
All had different stories, many horrific. Women are being threatened, beaten, brainwashed and housed in horrible conditions. One woman who confided in Couchie said she was housed in a basement with no windows for 10 days, only given water to drink, yet forced to perform for her male clients. Local girls are put on the circuit from Windsor to Quebec and another circuit that extends up to Timmins and Cochrane. They shared stories of women who defied the odds and left the game while others are too scared to report their perpetrators to police.
Carolyn Couchie, executive director with Victim Crisis and Assistance Referral Service, offers a glimpse into the world of human sex trafficking, Wednesday during the second of six Civilian Police Academy sessions at North Bay Police headquarters. Undercover police officers go through online advertisements identifying girls who are being controlled.
Programs like Northern Spotlight perform what is known as knock and talks. Undercover police officers set up a date with a sex worker, and once they gain entry they explain to the woman her rights and ask if she needs help. Following the chat, the women are given a tote bag with necessities like shampoo, pyjamas, safe sex products and underwear.
Organizations aiming to help the girls have their own challenges, such as wait lists for safe shelters and housing. Share Adjust Comment Print. Couchie shed some light on the local situation.