‘Human trafficking is happening in our own community’: Janet Campbell on Tuesday’s charges

‘Human trafficking is happening in our own community’: Janet Campbell on Tuesday’s charges

One day later charges have been laid for human trafficking and child exploitation, Janet Campbell of The Joy Smith Foundation responds to the news.

“We were very pleased to see these individuals charged. One of the things we know from all the cases we work on in our office is that these cases often go unreported,” said Campbell, president and CEO of The Joy Smith Foundation said.

Campbell says she hears about human trafficking every day, but others may be surprised at how common it is. “When people ask if human trafficking really exists in our own community, yesterday is an example of the answer: yes, it absolutely does. And it’s something we see in our work every day. But I think yesterday’s story really shines a light on the fact that this crime is happening in our own neighbourhoods, right here in Manitoba.”


She says there are warning signs that others can look out for to spot human trafficking. “You’ll notice changes in the child’s behavior or the way they dress. It could be a change in their grades suddenly starting to drop. It could be their attitude toward certain activities or their community. These changes are indicators that something is going on and it’s often very important for people to pay attention to new people who are coming into that circle of influence. Often, these cases are related to a new person coming into the child’s relationship.”

Campbell said of what happened Tuesday: “What we know is that a woman befriended these children and they were introduced to other people. It’s a very common pattern. So it’s important to pay attention to new influences and new connections in your child’s life.”

She says that if you suspect something is wrong, you should “trust your instincts. Yesterday, a community member noticed things that seemed wrong and reported it to the police. And that’s exactly what we encourage people to do: trust their instincts. It’s okay to be wrong and to pass that information on to the police so they can investigate, and it’s always confidential. So people don’t have to worry, and that information is very important to our law enforcement agencies and can often make a difference in connecting the dots and some investigations.”