Trafficking of Aboriginal Women and Girls in Canada

Author: Anette Sikka

Although Aboriginal women and girls in Canada are at a higher risk of being trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation, the types of acts perpetrated against them are often not viewed as “trafficking.” Historical representations of Aboriginal women, poverty, racism and criminalization of Aboriginal girls have worked together to cloak crimes committed against them in invisibility. Aboriginal women and girls do not fit the “picture” of the trafficked victim constructed by mainstream media and work that has been done to deconstruct this image has been largely unsuccessful. This article discusses the particular ways in which Aboriginal women and girls in the Prairie Provinces are recruited into the sex trade by third parties under exploitative circumstances and the ways in which these acts fit within the definition of “trafficking in persons” in Canadian criminal law. It speaks to “trafficking” of Aboriginal women not as a new phenomenon but rather a new name given to a subset of the exploitation that has been persistently perpetrated against Aboriginal women and girls.


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