Inuit girls at risk of human trafficking, says report author
The author of a new report says Inuit women and girls are at risk for human trafficking.
Helen Roos, who prepared the document for the federal Department of Justice, says Inuit communities are vulnerable because of the high rates of extreme poverty, shortage of housing and levels of abuse.
She says that makes it easier for women and girls to be lured by the promise of a job or a modelling contract in the south. Instead women and girls may find themselves forced into prostitution in Winnipeg or Ottawa.
Roos says her group talked to Inuit youth who were rescued from the street.
"Some girls were being approached, being given flights to go down south either as drug mules or there's some money being exchanged into families for them to leave and go south."
Roos says there are concerns about the lack of safeguards around Inuit custom adoption such as criminal record checks and home studies. She says there are reports Inuit women are being approached and asked to sell their babies.
Her report made headlines in a national newspaper with an article saying that Inuit families are selling their babies and children, sometimes into prostitution.
Rebecca Kudloo, president of Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, says she wasn't happy with the newspaper article.
"We're very disappointed and concerned about this article and how Inuit are being portrayed," she said. "I think it stereotypes Inuit parents and our society, our children."
But Kudloo says the report does voice valid concerns about the vulnerability of women and children via social media.
"Sometimes the predators grab our children through the Internet, so watch what children are doing on the computers," she said.
The author of the report hopes discussions will continue and that the RCMP and organizations will take a closer look at what's going on.