Globe and Mail: The Trafficked–Costing Lives

Tavia Grant
Feb 10, 2016


“Natalie just wanted to belong. Her home life was troubled – parents who drank too much, an abusive boyfriend and a sense she didn’t fit in. So, although just 14, she moved in with members of a street gang.

They were her family, her protectors, at least in the beginning. She began to sell crack for them. Then she started using as well, which cost money that she didn’t have.

Suddenly her protectors took control of her life – where she could go, whom she could talk to, at times even fighting over her, as if she were a piece of property.

And there was only one way to pay the debt: sell herself. Along with crack, they trafficked her.”


“Natalie, like every survivor The Globe and Mail encountered during three months of research – which included more than 60 interviews with trafficked women, their families, police, researchers, advocates and front-line service providers here and in the U.S. – firmly believes that she nearly wound up among the more than 1,200 aboriginal women who have gone missing or been murdered in Canada since 1980. “They’re scary,” she says of the gang. “You see what they’re capable of.”

The situation is an open secret.”

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