Canada’s aboriginal population is just over 1.4 million, making up just 4 percent of the populace. Despite the tiny ratio, more than half of the sex trafficking victims in Canada are indigenous.
For over three decades, more than 1000 indigenous people have gone missing or have been murdered, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). However, civil rights organization believe the number is many time higher, probably closer to 4000.
The reasons for the disproportionately huge number of indigenous women that have become victims of sex trafficking are wide and varied, but they all ultimately point to a history of racism, poverty and abuse.
”If you're not beat up, then you would get raped by a few of them at once,” said a victim.“There is a debt bondage that's between $1,000 and $2,000 a day that these girls must bring, must hand in to their trafficker or else,” explained Diane Redsky, an advocate for indigenous women and children.
Additionally, there have been concerns about the use of excessive force in the RCMP dealing with indigenous people and a broken relationship with their communities.
Danny Smyth, Winnipeg's deputy police chief, stated in the past a legacy of bias and racism prevented police officers from understanding the risks to indigenous girls, but he said they were taking steps to address it.
"We have a team that's dedicated just to outreach. Just to being out there and trying to get to know who's out on the street, and trying to establish a relationship with them," added Smyth.
Watch the video above to find out more.