First Conviction for Human Trafficking Video Transcript

Benjamin Perrin, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia:

We saw it in the Imani Nakpangi case, which is Canada’s first convicted human trafficker. He had two victims. This is a really important case for people to understand, not only because it’s historic in being the first human trafficking conviction, but because the same person, the same trafficker, used two totally different methods of control on two different victims at the same time.

So, one victim was 15 years old when she was transferred to his custody. By that, what I mean is she was homeless and became under the control of a pimp, or a trafficker, in the Greater Toronto area. And at one point, she is literally handed over to Nakpangi. From her perspective, she doesn’t know, was she sold, was she bought, was there a drug debt. All she knows is one day; Nakpangi is “her man.” That was the language used. And she was to follow everything that he said. It’s treating people like property, and this is again why we use the term modern-day slavery.

So what he did with this 15 year old girl, who we call Eve in Invisible Chains to protect her identity, is he began selling her for sex on Craigslist. In and out of hotel and motels and moving her frequently throughout the Greater Toronto area over a two and half year period. So from when she was 15 until just about her 18th birthday, he made $360,000.00 by exploiting her. And she did not want to be doing this. She tried several times to escape. He beat her horribly; he used physical violence; and then when that wasn’t enough to harm her, he did what all practitioners of torture do which is to threaten family members. And in the United States, the health workers there have compared the trauma suffered by human trafficking victims to long-term survivors of torture. And they use torture counselors or trauma counselors to help these young women in many cases. So it goes to show a very ruthless form of trafficking.