Constable Wendy Lee - Human Trafficking
"Trafficking of girls and women is illegal, a human rights violation and an extreme form of violence against women."
Occupation: Human Trafficking Coordinator for OPS
At any given time, it is believed that worldwide at least 2.45 million people are forced to perform degrading, dehumanizing and dangerous work in conditions akin to slavery.
This crime is taking place in Canada, where human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation is, to date, the most common manifestation of this crime and where the vast majority of the victims are Canadian women and children. (Government of Canada, Public Safety)
Personal and Professional Experiences
- Hired by Ottawa Police in 2007.
- Competitive boxer from 2000-2007, Ontario Champion in the 57kg weight class from 2006-2007, silver medalist at the 2007 Nationals.
- From 2009-2013 I was assigned as the Human Trafficking Coordinator for Ottawa Police and in 2011 I was assigned as part of the 'Sex Trade Outreach Team" which provided safe reporting to sex trade workers at risk of violence at the street level.
My role was quite varied but included:
- Identifying and providing outreach to victims of human trafficking/sexual exploitation both within Ottawa but also Internationally as victims are transported on a regular basis from city to city.
- Working with police agencies and NGO's both nationally and internationally to share information on pimps and traffickers and to assist in locating victims
- Training of various police agencies, government agencies and social service agencies on best case practises when working with a victim
- Developing rapport with women engaged in the sex trade at the street level who have been victims of "bad dates" and violence.
- Assisted working the Amy Paul homicide in 2013 with Major Crime
- Wendy has worked with victims of trafficking as well as sex trade workers on the street who are at constant risk of extreme violence and exploitation.
- Through reports and our consultations with 250 Canadian organizations and 150 survivors of sex trafficking, we have learned that many girls in Canada are first trafficked into forced prostitution when they are 13-years-old.
- Girls and women are being trafficked into forced prostitution inside Canada, to Canada and across Canadian borders.
- Girls and women who are bought and sold from inside Canada are most often-marginalized young girls and women (Aboriginal, racialized, immigrant and abuse survivors).
- Traffickers in Canada can receive an annual financial gain of $280,000 for each girl or woman they have trafficked and forced into prostitution.
- Traffickers receive a higher financial gain for girls under the age of 18, making vulnerable young girls particularly at risk of being forced into prostitution by traffickers.
- Sex trafficking may be referred to as “modern day slavery.”