Saskatoon police face jurisdictional challenge in fight against human trafficking
A constable and sergeant with Saskatoon Police Service’s vice unit will be heading to the Canadian Police College in September to learn more about human trafficking.
Staff Sgt. Grant Obst said the movement of victims is one of the challenges police face with human trafficking cases.
“They’re moving from one police jurisdiction into another. So they may move from the Saskatoon Police Service's investigative jurisdiction, into the RCMP Swift Current jurisdiction and then to the Medicine Hat jurisdiction and then to the Edmonton jurisdiction – so you can see the amount of coordination that needs to be in place,” Obst said.
Obst said the biggest challenge is to get victims to come forward.
“We're talking about people that have been intimidated, that have been threatened by bad people and they're still scared for their lives,” Obst told CTV News.
The education comes at the heels of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls report, which found Saskatoon is a point in “human trafficking city triangles.”
“Victims are shipped between cities in different provinces … These are known as ‘city triangles,’” the report reads, referring to cities such as Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina and Saskatoon.
The vice-president of an organization that builds awareness about human trafficking said the findings were not a surprise.
“People don’t just pass through here, people are being sold here. Plain and simple, it’s slavery,” Andrew Allsopp, vice-president of NASHI told CTV News.
Allsopp said Saskatoon victims and perpetrators in human trafficking often know each other.
“There are some that I know of, that are missing, that are young girls and they were enticed by a new boyfriend … and convince them to run away with them – and then they’re gone.”