By Marie-Josée Kelly
Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries worldwide; it is second to drug trafficking as the most profitable. In an effort to raise awareness of human trafficking, the third edition of Freedom Relay Montreal took place on Sept. 18.
A small group of people marched through the downtown core to call for an end to human trafficking. The walk was followed by a vigil, hosted at the Dawson College Peace Garden. Representatives of local NGOs Les Affranchies, Le Comité D’Action Contre La Traite Humaine Interne et Internationale (CATHII) and Chab Dai Canada spoke on its contributions towards educating the public.
Inspired by the Freedom Ticket For Life relay created by Stop The Traffik, Freedom Relay Canada takes place in locations across the country during the month of September.
According to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report, of the hundreds of thousands of people that are trafficked across international borders, women and girls make up 75 per cent of victims and trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation accounts for 58 per cent of all cases.
Canada has been identified as a transit and destination country for human trafficking and Montreal is recognized as a hub for organized crime, having over 330 establishments that offer sexual services.