Looking for People and Answers
. . . CONTINUED FROM PART 2
4 - MP JOY SMITH's BLUE BLINDFOLD CAMPAIGN ANNOUNCEMENT
The email below is one I got from MP Joy Smith's office explaining it best.
There are also three websites listed there that go into greater detail about it.
Sent: Tuesday, September 07, 2010 1:16 PM
Subject: MP Joy Smith welcomes launch of national human trafficking awareness campaign
Office of Joy Smith, M.P. Kildonan-St. Paul Bureau de Joy Smith, députée Kildonan-St. Paul
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 7, 2010 News Release
MP Joy Smith welcomes launch of national human trafficking awareness campaign
Winnipeg, MB: Today, Joy Smith, Member of Parliament for Kildonan – St. Paul joined Public Safety Minister Vic Toews to announce the launch of a national human trafficking awareness campaign.
"As a former educator, I have always advocated education and awareness as our greatest weapons against human trafficking and child exploitation," said MP Joy Smith. "Equipping Canadians to recognize and report human trafficking is essential to ending this modern day form of slavery.
"The federal department of Public Safety will partner with the RCMP and the Canadian Crime Stoppers Association to launch the Crime Stoppers "Blue Blindfold" Campaign. The campaign will educate the public on human trafficking and provide tools for Canadians to join the fight against human trafficking.
"I commend our government for taking this important step forward to combat trafficking in persons," said MP Joy Smith. "Human trafficking is an egregious form of exploitation that impacts all corners of our nation. By engaging all Canadians, we can effectively fight human trafficking within our borders and protect our most vulnerable citizens.
"The RCMP Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre (HTNCC) has been working with Crime Stoppers to train Crime Stoppers members and staff in the call center receiving tips from the national human trafficking tip line. The HTNCC has also produced a human trafficking tool kit for law enforcement, non-governmental organizations and the Canadian public.
MP Joy Smith is one of Canada's leading human trafficking abolitionists and most recently succeeded in amending Canada's Criminal Code to include an offence of trafficking in minors.
Bill C-268 provides a minimum sentence of five years imprisonment for anyone convicted of trafficking a minor in Canada and a minimum of six years imprisonment for cases with aggravating factors. First introduced on January 29, 2009, by MP Joy Smith, Bill C-268 has attracted broad national support and received Royal Assent on June 29, 2010.
For information on MP Joy Smith's work on human trafficking, please visit: http://www.joysmith.ca
For information on the RCMP's Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre, please visit the website: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ht-tp/index-eng.htm
For information about the Blue Blindfold Campaign, please visit: http://www.canadiancrimestoppers.org/?content/human_trafficking.html
Crime Stoppers national human trafficking tip line is 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
For further information please contact:
Joel Oosterman, Chief of Staff
Office of Joy Smith, MP
Phone: (613) 220-6795
5 - SEVEN HUMAN TRAFFICKING ARTICLES by JEREMY DEUTSCH of K.T.W.
Many of you already know that I have been volunteering my time with my local Kamloops & District Crime Stoppers doing human trafficking education presentations in high schools in my area. One of our local newspapers, Kamloops This Week, has a reporter, Jeremy Deutsch, who has personally attended one of my presentations so he can also help bring human trafficking awareness. He has written several articles, I am posting them below:
In March 2010, Kamloops This Week published a four-part series on human trafficking, written by staff reporter Jeremy Deutsch. What follows is the complete series of Modern-Day Slavery: The four-part KTW series on human smuggling in its entirety by Jeremy Deutsch. Since then Jeremy has written several articles about Jessie's case and human trafficking.
1st - March 17, 2010 – Modern-Day Slavery PART I: A SURVIVOR'S TALE FROM THE MEAN STREETS
2nd - March 19, 2010 – Modern-Day Slavery PART II: IT'S HAPPENING IN KAMLOOPS
3rd - March 24, 2010 – Modern-Day Slavery PART III: OPENING INNOCENT EYES
4th - March 26, 2010 – Modern-Day Slavery PART IV: A MOTHER'S AGONIZING ODYSSEY
5th - April 22, 2010 – CITY MOM TO GIVE INPUT ON HUMAN-TRAFFICKING BILL
6th - June 15, 2010 – VALLEYVIEW STUDENTS GET 'REALITY CHECK' ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING
7th - September 09, 2010 – OTTAWA HELPS FIGHT TRAFFICKING
1st - Modern-Day Slavery PART I: A SURVIVOR'S TALE FROM THE MEAN STREETS
March 17, 2010 by Jeremy Deutsch, Kamloops This Week (not about Jessie)
2nd - Modern-Day Slavery Part II: IT'S HAPPENING IN KAMLOOPS
March 19, 2010 by Jeremy Deutsch, Kamloops This Week
It could easily begin with a smile or a Facebook poke.
It might then progress to a gift or a secret rendezvous.
Often, a vulnerable teenage girl is the target.
She'll be showered with gifts and given access to any drug imaginable. Without even suspecting a thing, the teen is being groomed for a life of prostitution.
They are common tactics used to lure young Canadian girls from their homes into a life of modern-day slavery.
According to one leading expert on the issue of domestic human trafficking, it's happening right here in Kamloops.
Benjamin Perrin, an assistant professor at the UBC faculty of law, has studied human trafficking for several years and has just completed a two-year study on Canada's involvement in the issue.
His research has found that, not only do trafficking rings operate in larger cities, but they're
active in smaller communities — recruiting young women from towns in the Interior of B.C.
In many cases, girls are lured to cities like Vancouver or across the border by lavish promises from a "boyfriend".
They'll offer drugs or gifts, such as a free airline ticket to a vacation destination.
But, in the end, the victim — often through the threat of violence — ends up being sold for sex.
"Kamloops has come up in our research as an area where traffickers have engaged in efforts to recruit Canadian victims," Perrin told KTW.
Social-media websites like Facebook and MySpace have made it easier for traffickers to operate across vast geographical areas with the push of a button.
One of the highest-profile suspected cases of human trafficking in Western Canada is that of Jessie Foster.
The Kamloops woman went missing in the spring of 2006 after moving to Las Vegas with a boyfriend.
If getting caught up in human trafficking appears easy, getting out is a different story.
The underground nature of the crime makes it difficult for law enforcement to detect it within a community.According to Perrin, the traffickers — most of them men — have ties to violent street gangs.
The federal government made human smuggling a criminal-code offence in 2005, but Perrin argued the province has been slow in prosecuting human traffickers.
While Perrin noted 30 active RCMP files of trafficking, not a single person has been convicted of the crime in B.C.
The province has also created an office to combat trafficking — but the B.C. Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons (OCTIP) has six staff members whose primary focus is on Victoria and Vancouver.
Perrin suggested there is little offered for Canadian victims of trafficking in the way of counselling, shelter or exit programs from life in the sex trade.
There is also little help for communities to defend against the growing scourge.
"We don't see the same level of support for victims of human trafficking in our country as we witness in other jurisdictions," Perrin said.
Instead, he said, victims are often left to fend for themselves once they are identified and rescued.
But the head of OCTIP said the agency's intention is to pull together in a variety of communities the same sort of network of services it has on the Coast.
"Not building anything new, but linking and training the various community partners and agencies that would be involved," Robin Pike, the executive director of OCTIP, told KTW.
The groups would include social agencies, child-protection workers and law enforcement.
Besides providing education and awareness programs, OCTIP works with the police when it encounters a situation of human trafficking.
Pike noted the agency has been to Kamloops to bring public awareness to the issue, but it hasn't been asked to help specifically on any cases in Kamloops.
Pike couldn't say just how large a problem domestic human trafficking has become.
"We just know there is a fair amount of movement of women," she said, noting the agency has been involved in 50 different cases in the last year.
OCTIP hopes to start a greater public-awareness campaign this year. Pike said the first step is to help communities understand what human trafficking looks like.
If human trafficking is happening in Kamloops, it hasn't come to the attention of the local RCMP.
Kamloops Mounties said they have yet to deal with a single trafficking file, nor do they have members set aside to deal with any cases.
Complaints of human trafficking are typically dealt with out of RCMP offices in Vancouver.
However, if there was an incident reported, RCMP Const. Pat Nagy said, police would treat it like any other file, with the seriousness of the complaint determining where on the investigative ladder it would fall.
MANY CITY MINORS 'OWNED' BY GANGS
Experts on human trafficking say there isn't enough being done to help women once they get out of the sex trade.
It was the same helpless feeling that drove Kamloops' Heather Cameron, a former prostitute, to create Mothers For Recovery.
The grassroots agency lends support to mothers or pregnant women who are trying break their addiction.
Cameron spent years on streets of Vancouver before finally getting free in 2004 (her story was featured in the March 17 edition of KTW and can be read online at http://www.kamloopsthisweek.com).
But, when she returned to Kamloops, she had trouble staying clean and out of the lifestyle.
Cameron believes part of the problem is the general attitude to the local sex-trade industry.
"It's such a hidden thing, especially behind closed doors in Kamloops," she said.
Cameron knows just how much of a problem the lure of prostitution is in the city. When she began her agency in 2007, she surveyed 30 mothers and found 17 were involved in the sex-trade.
The AIDS Society of Kamloops' SHOP (Social and Health Options for Persons in the Sex Trade program) has 94 open sex-trade client files.
An open file refers to someone who has had contact with SHOP in the past year.
That's mostly at street level and doesn't include escort agencies and massage parlours.
Heidi Starr, the SHOP co-ordinator, said the number of sex-trade workers in Kamloops is disproportionate for the size of the city.
She contends many of the minors involved in prostitution are owned by local gangs, often caught up in the lifestyle after being lured by a supposed "boyfriend" and a promise of drugs.
Starr said communities like Kamloops are popular recruiting grounds for human traffickers because there is the promise of going to bigger cities, like Vancouver.
After spending years in the trade, Cameron has some well-earned advice for teens who may find themselves in her shoes.
"Learn to listen to your own intuition," she said. "If I look back, I know that feeling in my tummy told me something was wrong and I never listened to it.
"I got to the point where I could block it out."
In addition, Cameron said it is crucial that young girls find women to look up to and confide in. Though it might not be a parent, Cameron said it can be someone who is safe and confidential.
KEEPING YOUR EYES OPEN
They are the signs of modern-day human slavery.
A growing number of teenage girls are being targeted and recruited into the sex trade, in what is effectively human trafficking.
While the crime is difficult to detect, experts say there are warning signs parents and teacher can look for.
According to Benjamin Perrin, an assistant professor at the UBC Faculty of Law, the signs a teen is falling victim to human trafficking include unexplained absences from school, aninability to keep a regular schedule, bruising and depression.
In some cases, there could be some form of branding on body parts, like a tattoo.
3rd - Modern-Day Slavery PART III: OPENING INNOCENT EYES
March 24, 2010 by Jeremy Deutsch, Kamloops This Week
At first glance, it would appear Mark Price and Glendene Grant would never need to cross paths.
Price is a gruff former cop who now heads the Kamloops and District Crime Stoppers Society.
Grant is a quiet mother of four and grandmother who worked at the Convergys call centre in Valleyview until recently being laid off.
But tragic circumstances have brought the two together for a very important project.
Grant's daughter, Jessie Foster, went missing after moving to Las Vegas with a boyfriend in the spring of 2006.
Her disappearance is a case of suspected human trafficking.
Since then, Grant has worked tirelessly to find her.
Today, the cop and the mom are teaming up to educate Kamloops teens on the growing problem of human trafficking.
The pair will be a part of a three-person, 45-minute presentation at local high schools that will touch on two aspects of modern-day slavery — trafficking into the sex trade and slave labour in the global trade market.
The presentations will target senior grades in a classroom setting.
Grant hopes to use Jessie's story as a warning to other teens, so they can avoid being lured into slavery.
"The kids need to learn while they're in school that they could be a potential victim at that age," Grant said.
No one knows that better than Grant herself.
While her daughter was seen as beautiful, she said she wasn't as self-confident as she appears in her photos.
Grant said it's easy for a girl with low self-esteem to be drawn to somebody who compliments her.
"Unfortunately, she [Jessie] fell victim to someone who gained her trust while still in high school," she said.
For her presentation, Grant has put together a short video, set to music, filled with pictures that encapsulate Jessie's story.
Experts on human trafficking say victims are often too afraid to come forward and get help.
Grant believes that was the case with her daughter.
That's where Price and his organization come in.
Crime Stoppers International has been involved in human-trafficking education campaigns for several years.
Price intends to tell the kids that, if they are being targeted and don't know where to turn, they can call Crime Stoppers.
"They can phone in and feel safe," he said.
The idea for the program was actually the brainchild of Debra Noel, a member of the Catholic Women's League.
She was interested in the subject and figured Grant and Price would be the perfect duo to talk to kids.
Noel said she wants to shine a spotlight on human trafficking and offer solutions to teens to avoid getting caught up in the sex trade.
"As I think about it more, often it bugs me that people don't know enough about it," she said.
"The problem of slavery is very well hidden. People get locked away and no one sees them. "Noel will be presenting the slave-labour portion of the program.
While the group has just started putting a package together to bring to the schools, there's already interest in the presentation.
St. Ann's Academy, an independent Catholic school, has expressed interest, and Noel is confidant public schools in the Kamloops-Thompson district will follow.
Grant hopes the program will make its way through every school in the district and beyond.
"Even if all they saw was the video, I think it would be extremely effective," she said.
THE HUMAN COST OF SMUGGLING
•Trafficking in Canada has consequences estimated between $120 million and $400 million per year and accounts for approximately 8,000 to 16,000 people arriving annually in Canada illegally.
— Organized Crime Impact Study, Solicitor General of Canada
•Although accurate statistics on human trafficking are hard to obtain, the U.S. State Department estimates between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year.
Of these, 80 per cent are women and girls and up to 50 per cent are minors.
The International Labour Organization estimates there are 12.3 million victims of forced labour (including sexual servitude) at any given time.
Other estimates range from four million to 27 million.
The RCMP estimates between 600 and 800 victims are trafficked into Canada each year, while another 1,500 to 2,200 persons are trafficked through Canada to the United States annually.
Trafficking in people ranks with the drug trade and arms smuggling as a major source of revenue for organized crime.
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations estimates the trade in human life generates global profits approaching $10 billion annually.
— The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
4th - Modern-Day Slavery PART IV: A MOTHER'S AGONIZING ODYSSEY
March 26, 2010 by Jeremy Deutsch, Kamloops This Week
Flipping through the pages of the neatly organized newspaper clippings of Jessie Foster is likeopening a vault to a heart-wrenching mystery.
With each turn, her bright hazel eyes, blonde hair and slightly roguish smile still seem to lightup the pages.
But the images are in contrast to a brutal reality.
They were captured before the 21-year-old Kamloops resident vanished in 2006 after movingto Las Vegas with a boyfriend, a case of suspected human trafficking.
Four years later, that vault of stories is her mother Glendene Grant's bible.
The collection also represents the crusade-like efforts by the mother of four to find herdaughter and shine a spotlight on the issue of human trafficking.
Monday (March 28) will mark the four-year anniversary since Jessie was last seen alive.
She would be turning 26 in May.
Foster's disappearance is a disturbing tale of modern-day slavery that has hit close to home for many in the Kamloops community.
Grant believes Jessie was lured to Las Vegas by a boyfriend who eventually forced her into prostitution.
She spoke with Jessie on the phone just days before she went missing. At the time, Grant recalled having a sense something just wasn't right with her daughter. There was something in Jessie's voice in those last phone calls that didn't sit well.
Grant was close to Jessie and assumed the adventurous girl would open up.
She didn't find out what kind of living hell her daughter was living in until it was too late.
"I knew better, but I didn't think it was happening," she said.
Following Jessie's disappearance, Grant learned her daughter, who had maintained regular contact with her family, had previously been arrested by Las Vegas police for prostitution.
Jessie was last seen by her boyfriend, Peter Todd, a Jamaican national authorities have labeled a pimp.
Up until Jessie's disappearance, Grant thought of human trafficking as a Third-World problem.
That was until the crime came crashing through her white picket fence.
She never thought her own daughter would end up in an international human-trafficking ring. She hopes her struggle will serve as a reminder to parents to talk their kids and not take answers to their queries at face value.
As the days turned into weeks, then months and now years, Grant has never given up hope the daughter she held in her arms countless times will some day return.
"My heart just isn't telling me she's dead," she told KTW.
"I can't argue with that."
But Grant has not been sitting idly by, waiting for Jessie to walk through her front door.
Instead, she has worked with a dogged determination to find her daughter in the years following her disappearance, along the way educating others on the shadowy world of human trafficking.
Besides the dozens of stories in the media, including appearances on America's Most Wanted and The Montel Williams Show, Grant hired a private investigator, flew to Las Vegas twice to hold her own search, held fundraisers, created websites and acquainted herself with various social media.
Grant is also teaming up with the Kamloops and District Crime Stoppers Society to give a presentation to local schools on the subject of human trafficking.
Most importantly, she will tell Jessie's story to anyone who will listen with a kind ear.
Grant conceded her effort has almost become an obsession.
Her laptop computer rarely leaves her side.
"Not one person out there considered missing deserves to be missing and have their case sitting in a drawer," she said.
But the preoccupation has taken its toll on Grant, both mentally and financially. Her teenaged daughter recently divulged to her that she can't wait until Jessie is found so she can get her mom back.
Surely a sad admission, but even if Jessie were found today, Grant said she can't go back to being the mother she once was.
"That mom is forever gone," she said.
Grant also decided to take on the stress of Jessie's cause alone, so the rest of the family can move on and try to live a normal life.
"Even if I don't get Jessie back and, even if anything I've ever done will prevent one child from going missing, all that I've done was so worth it," she said.
Matters were only made worse after she was laid off from her job at the Convergys call centre in November. Grant has spent thousands of dollars of her own money in the last four years in her search for her daughter.
While those efforts have left her near-destitute, none of that seems to matter to Grant.
All she wants is Jessie to come home.
GRANT'S JOURNEY CONTINUES
While the case of Jessie Foster appears to have gone cold for investigators, it hasn't for her mother, Glendene Grant.
The Kamloops resident has led a crusade to find her daughter and keep Jessie's case in the media spotlight.
To mark the four-year anniversary of Foster's disappearance, Grant will be flying to Vancouver for an interview on CTV's Canada AM program on Monday, March 29.
She will be joined by forensic artist Diana Trepkov, who recently sketched new age enhancement drawings of Foster.
A couple of weeks later, Grant intends to fly to Toronto to attend the Walk With Me ceremony.
Organizers have named an award after Grant and Foster in recognition of the work she has done to bring attention to human trafficking.
The Jessie and Glendene Award honours police officers, social workers and media for their work with human trafficking and victims of the crime.
The ceremony takes place on April 15.
For the latest updates and more information on the case, go online to http://www.jessiefoster.ca.
CONTINUED IN PART 4 . . .