Because the terms sexual exploitation, sex work and trafficking are often conflated, understand that in this report: sexual exploitation refers to when a person in a position of power takes advantage of a vulnerable person for sexual purposes; and human trafficking refers to the recruitment, transportation, harbouring and exercising control over a person to exploit them, through sexual exploitation or forced labour.
There are many reasons for the disproportionate targeting of Indigenous women and girls for sexual exploitation and trafficking. This includes fewer economic, educational, and housing opportunities, the child welfare system, and over-sexualized stereotypes in the media.
When something happens to these women, the very systems meant to protect them turn to victim-blaming instead. This must stop.
We must end the normalization of violence against Indigenous sex workers, hold exploiters accountable for their crimes, and ensure that Indigenous women and girls have access to education, housing, health care and safety. Indigenous women and girls deserve the same safety and respect as every other person in Canada.
The truth can be hard to see.
Positive relationships and allyship between non-Indigenous and Indigenous Peoples can exist. The first step to building these relationships is for Canadians to learn about the colonial past and how it influences our society, and help get the message out. Once you have read the reports, we encourage you to share this information with your networks by connecting them to this page.