A young woman from Hungary is lured to Canada under false pretenses and then coerced into the sex trade. After enduring months of unimaginable exploitation and cruelty, including physical, psychological and emotional abuse, she broke free from the invisible chains that bound her. Today she speaks for those human trafficking victims in Canada who are too broken, too afraid or too ashamed to speak for themselves.
When she was 19, Timea Nagy had a promising career producing music videos in her native Hungary. But needing money, she answered a newspaper ad promising a chance to earn some quick money in Canada as a nanny or house cleaner. No English required. But when she arrived in Canada, she discovered the ad was a scam and she was now caught in the snare of human trafficking.
Her captors used intimidation to force her to work in strip clubs and perform sexual acts in massage parlours. She suffered months of physical and emotional abuse and sexual assaults. She worked 18 hour days, was not allowed to keep any of the money she earned, and was denied medical treatment.
But Timea escaped and later founded a support group called Walk With Me for survivors of human trafficking. Police across North America use her as a consultant as they attempt to battle a growing problem.
According to the United Nations, there are, at any one time, about 2.5 million people in forced labour, including sexual exploitation around the world. Around 11 per cent, or 270,000, are enslaved in industrialized nations, including Canada and the United States. It's a $30 billion-a-year industry, the third most lucrative criminal business in the world.
Because of the work of people like Timea Nagy, the issue of human slavery is being placed on the public agenda. So now, as William Wilberforce, the 19th century leader of the movement to abolish slavery in the U.K said, "You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know."