Kingston Police: Human Trafficking, Sexual & Child Exploitation Awareness

As part of Crime Prevention Week, Kingston Police provide information and highlights on local initiatives, to inform and educate the public. Two such awareness initiatives are Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation Awareness, and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

As part of a comprehensive action plan to combat human trafficking and child exploitation the Ontario Provincial Police have established a new Intelligence led joint forces team from police agencies across Ontario, including the Ontario Provincial Police, municipal police services and First Nations police services, according to a release from Kingston Police, dated Thursday, Nov. 6, 2020. The East Region team will consist of officers from Kingston, Ottawa, Peterborough, Akwesasne and the Ontario Provincial Police. Kingston Police say they have one dedicated officer assigned to this newly appointed joint forces team.

The goal of this joint forces team is to identify, investigate and disrupt human trafficking organizations operating in Ontario, and address the associated threat of organized crime. According to police, children, youth, and adults are trafficked across the province on a daily basis and the City of Kingston is no exception, especially as our city is positioned along the Highway 401 corridor between Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa.

Often the physical state of an adult or child who is being trafficked can be a key indicator that the individual is a victim, Kingston Police said in the release. Some examples of this could be:

  • Tattoos, branding, signs of injury (e.g., cigarette burns, cutting), or malnourishment
  • Inappropriate dress, in the case of a child or youth (e.g., sexualized clothing, makeup)
  • Signs of intoxication or drug use (e.g., lethargic, level of alertness)
  • Appearance has been altered (e.g., hair coloured, makeup, clothing disguise)

 Children, youth, and adults who are involved may:

  • Avoid eye contact and interaction with others
  • Show evidence of fear, anxiety or resistance to speaking with police or other authorities
  • Display anger or an adversarial attitude

Often, when investigating incidents of Human Trafficking, authorities will find that victims are being moved by their adult handlers from city to city and often operating out of local motels/hotels, according to the release.

Human Trafficking can take various forms. Police say victims are recruited, transported, and kept isolated under coercion, threats, or use of force. Trafficking can take the form of sexual exploitation or even forced labour.

“Human Trafficking has been called a silent epidemic and is akin to modern day slavery,” said Ash Gutheinz, Media Relations Officer for Kingston Police. “It is everyone’s responsibility to speak out and denounce Human Trafficking. If you see something, or hear something, please do the right thing and say something.”

To further protect children and youth, Kingston Police became the 30th police service in Canada to enter into an agreement and partnership with The Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) at the beginning of September this year. Kingston Police say this partnership will collaboratively address the ever-growing and pervasive issue of child sexual exploitation on the internet.

Over the past number of years Kingston Police has been providing educational information derived from C3P, according to the release, and this new partnership will further solidify an already strong bond between the two organizations with the common goal of protecting children in the community who are at risk.

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) is a charitable organization dedicated to the personal safety of all children, with a focus on missing and sexually exploited children, including internet child sexual exploitation. According to the release, C3P is recognized as a leader in Canada in addressing these issues and, in that regard, C3P has created various educational materials aiming to help Canadians prevent and respond to instances of missing or sexually exploited children.

As part of the Government of Canada’s National Strategy for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation on the internet, C3P operates Cybertip.ca, a tip line (1-866-658-9022) and a website www.cybertip.ca for reporting potential crimes related to the sexual exploitation of children on the internet.

Through Cybertip.ca, C3P has established relationships with law enforcement agencies and other tip lines across Canada and around the world, Kingston Police say. C3P routinely refers reports related to internet child sexual exploitation to the agency or agencies with jurisdiction to act on the report.

Through this new partnership Kingston Police will provide:

  • Education and Information Referrals: Information and educational materials relating to internet child sexual exploitation are best delivered by C3P through the Cybertip.ca program, and accordingly Kingston Police will be able to direct such inquiries to the Cybertip.ca program for response when deemed appropriate.
  • Internal Use of C3P Materials: Kingston Police will, as appropriate, use internally various C3P print materials that may be provided by C3P to raise awareness about crimes of a sexual nature toward children and other resources that are made available through C3P websites.
  • Provision of C3P Materials to School Resource Officers: Kingston Police is committed to working with C3P to identify C3P print materials that are suitable for distribution by School Resource Officers to members of a school community (e.g. parents, educators, students) and to identify C3P websites that School Resource Officers should be made aware of to assist them in carrying out their work within schools throughout Kingston.
  • Public Awareness: Kingston Police will consider initiatives to increase public awareness of the programs and services offered by C3P and, to that end, may include these resources in media releases, awareness campaigns, and promotion of the C3P tipline and website.

According to Kingston Police, C3P regularly posts about online and personal safety resources on social media, so spreading the word can be as simple as a re-tweet or share. To keep up to date, follow C3P on Twitter at @CdnChildProtect, or like them on Facebook.

If you have information in regards to an individual who has demonstrated signs of being a victim of Human Trafficking please call Kingston Police at 613-549-4660. Alternatively if the victim is a child or youth you can visit the Canadian Centre for Child Protection website at www.cybertip.ca. If you are in Kingston’s surrounding rural areas you can contact the Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122.

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