A recent study on modern slavery finds Toronto has become one of the most common destinations of human trafficking in Ontario. The report looked at more than 500 cases in the province between 2011 and 2013.
The 50-page report was released at the annual conference of the Alliance Against Modern Slavery. According to its authors, Toronto has acted much like a hub for several human trafficking routes, with people brought in from at least 18 different countries, including the U.S., Afghanistan, Ukraine, the Philippines and India.
The city was also the hub for trafficking to destinations outside of Canada, destinations such as the US, Britain and Afghanistan.
The targets became victims of sexual exploitation, forced labor and forced marriages. More than 60 percent of those victims were described as Canadian citizens, most between the ages of 15 and 24, and 90 percent of them women or teenage girls.
The president of the Alliance Against Modern Slavery, Karlee Sapoznik, is one of the authors of the study. She says the findings show that Ontario must invest in urgently needed changes, such as a province-wide plan to fight human trafficking with a task force to implement such a plan and tougher provincial child welfare laws.
This spring, Toronto police arrested eight people and leveled more than 40 human trafficking charges. The allegations were that girls as young as 14 were recruited to work as prostitutes under threat of violence.