The Flesh Trade - Part Two Video Transcript

Linda Olsen: It is a hidden truth in our city and it’s troubling. The luring of children, selling them to the sex trade.

Gord Gillies: Human traffickers are taking them out of this province in an attempt to escape a law unique to Alberta. The Protection of Sexually Exploited Children Act allows police to apprehend kids who are at risk of being exploited.

Linda Olsen: Here’s Jill Croteau with the continuation of our feature, the Flesh Trade and what happens when they wind up on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Narrator: For countless children, this is the beginning of a journey—a road that leads to perceived opportunity. These highways are a gateway to a troubling destination. Nearly every single day something very valuable and vulnerable is being forced in the wrong direction. Most end up on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Man: Once a week I see a new girl down here.

Narrator: The number of girls and even boys being luring and stolen from familiarity is staggering.

Diane Sowden: My daughter was only 13. I didn’t think that would ever happen in our community.

Narrator: But it did happen and nearly two decades later, her daughter is still trapped.

Diane Sowden: I used to go down and go into some of the crack houses and into the trick pads and I would offer people cigarettes to let me know where she was so I could find her.

Narrator: Because she’s living it, she helps other families.

Diane Sowden: I’m doing what I wish someone had done for my family and my daughter. As long as she’s alive, there’s hope and that’s what you hold onto.

Narrator: Because that belief in happy endings isn’t always within reach.

Angel Wolf: For me, it runs close to home. I kind of know the end result of human trafficking.

Narrator: After being sold into the sex trade, Angel’s mom was murdered by Robert Pickton.

Angel Wolf: Finally the cold, brutal truth came knocking at that door, which was a police officer. They decide to tell me that, “your mother’s jaw bone was found in a pig sty.”

Narrator: Protecting them from predators is getting harder.

Dave Dickson (former Vancouver Police officer): There’s no shortage of up and coming victims to be preyed upon. They’re all over the place.

Narrator: After working the beat with the police department, Dave Dickson became an outreach worker in a desperate attempt to save them.

Dave Dickson: I met my first ten year old when she was involved in the sex trade. The mother was actually bringing dates home and charging the date extra to have sex with her daughter.

Narrator: With promises of a privileged life, kids are plucked from places like Calgary, Edmonton, and towns and villages in between.

Sgt. Richard Atkin (Vancouver Police Vice Squad):  It’s as tawdry as a Hollywood screenplay but it actually happens. People come from the countryside so to speak into the bright lights of the city.

Narrator: The transfer of these girls between provinces is happening at a disturbing rate.

Saskia Taylor (Watari Youth and Family Services): Any time someone is new, we zone in and find out who they are. You want to get connected with them early before entrenchment happens and that can happen really quick, within a week.

Michelle Fortin (Watari Youth and Family Services): The spiral is amazing. We feel like we’re pulling them out of the river and really we should be up figuring out where they’re jumping in. My biggest fear is that even the work that we’re doing becomes band-aid work, despite the fact that we’re trying to meet them days after they arrive on the street.

Narrator: They’re so controlled some don’t ever realize or admit they’ve been trafficked. Even if support workers can get to them, it’s only the beginning.

Sister Nancy Brown (Covenant House Vancouver): If they’ve been abused by adults, they’re not going to trust us.

Narrator: Because they’ve been threatened.

Sister Nancy Brown: It’s not an easy process to move a young person who’s been caught into the web.

Narrator: It’s a delicate maneuver showing these women their worth after dignity was taken from them.

Naomi Krueger (Deborah’s Gate Safe House): Girls who’ve been kept captive in a room, unable to leave for five months at a time and her only contact with people on the outside was just passing money over to her pimp and getting food through the door. That isolation, that loneliness, the dehumanizing effect of serving men day in and day out, that’s not something that I could have survived.

Narrator: And witnessing the strength that it takes to live through that kind of torture propels them to do whatever it takes.

Naomi Krueger: We have an obligation to step up.

Narrator: Jill Croteau, Global News.

Gord Gillies: Now, tomorrow in the conclusion of our series, we hear from some survivors who have managed to escape from human traffickers.