- Jun 14, 2011
- Reaction score
Hi everyone . I've been following this case for quite some time, and have just recently read through all the comments here on WS. This case hits very close to home for me, and has been a difficult pill to swallow, but I want to offer some insight on what Human Trafficking looks like in our country. I have lost many folks to the grips of HT, and now work with survivors of HT in my career as a social services worker. I also have deep roots in Nova Scotia, and a good understanding of how NPF operates.
FIrst off, North Preston is one of the most marginalized communities in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Over the years, it has lacked an abundance of social resources, which has often been criticized and attributed to systemic racism. NPF is often classified as a gang, but it's not really the "organized crime" we often picture when reflecting on the topic. It is more of a way of life for people from this community, having to resort to criminal activity to support themselves. The way they operate and live their lives, is attributed to an inter-generational knowledge, often passed down from father to son, uncle to nephew, brother to brother, friend to friend. Their main source of income is human sex trafficking. Whether organized or not, they are incredibly dangerous, and ruin lives. Their methods of HT date back decades, and can be traced to every major community in Canada, but most predominantly Calgary, Montreal, and the Greater Toronto Area. Most folks from Dartmouth or North Preston specifically, could be said to have "connections" to NPF, but then there are those who are deeply embedded within the gang. It's my belief that ED is one of those people.
The way traffickers in Canada and specifically in NPF operate, is they make these women believe they are choosing to engage in the sex trade. They often feel that they are making an empowered choice at first. Traffickers use the strongest of manipulation tactics, and often groom their victims for months. The women will often believe they are in a relationship with these men, or at least there is a substantial level of trust. Shortly after engaging in the sex trade, the trafficker will exercise his control over the victim to ensure that she's handing over her money to him. Eventually the women realize that they are being completely exploited, that this is no longer an empowered choice, and they try to go at it independently, or exist the trade all together. This becomes nearly impossible. The pimp ensures that the victim stays through violence, threat, coercion, and debt, stating that if they want out, they need to provide an exiting fee. This can be anywhere from $5000 to $20 000, but the fee isn't real, and the debt only continues to grow with the "you owe me for this, you owe me for that" and rarely are drugs involved. The women think the fee is real however, and feel deeply frightened that if they don't pay it, they or their loved ones will die. IF a woman is lucky enough to escape the cycle of HT and press charges (which are the majority of women I work with) these pimps rarely ever see a conviction. Their defence relies heavily on the fact that these women often agreed to enter the sex trade in the beginning. The threats and violence and coercion become too difficult to prove with our burden of proof being so high, and they often walk on these charges. They see it as a fool proof, low risk, highly profitable crime, and then they just go on to lure, groom, and exploit the next woman. It is one of the most heinous and under-reported crimes in Canada, but we are running rampant with it. The majority of my clients go on to live the rest of their lives affected by the trauma of Human Trafficking.
The good news here though, but also the most unforgiving, tragic and sickening part, is that ED isn't charged with Human Trafficking. He's charged with two counts of first degree murder, and I can only hope and assume that LE have all the evidence they need to secure the convictions. Why ED murdered SB and her daughter, I'm unable to understand at this point. My speculation, is that SB at one time showed interest in engaging in the sex trade in order to support herself, her daughter, and create a future for them, like many women often do. Sex work is not criminalized in Canada, and empowered choices to engage in it should not be met with judgement. However, she was met with ED, and it's my belief that she fell victim to the cycle of Human Trafficking to some degree.
The murder of SB and her daughter was likely never a decision made or supported by NPF. In order for women to be made a commodity, and remain profitable, they must be alive. I can only speculate, but I would attribute their murders to some sick and twisted trait of ED, and his obvious disvalue of human life.
Sorry for the length, and all in my opinion, of course. I wish I could source my lived experience for you all, but because I can't, I would suggest the book Somebody's Daughter by Phonse Jessome. It actively describes the history of NPF.
Also, the author and story of one of my closest friends.
Oh, Grey-St, thank you ever so much for all the detailed information you have so kindly related to us. I am astonished. This has been eye-opening and heart-wrenching. I am going to order the books from your links. You are amazing. So good to know that some of these women are in your good hands.
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