Internet Recruitment Video Transcript

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

The technology of trafficking has really changed this phenomenon dramatically. We have seen everything in our research from traffickers have used sites like Facebook and MySpace to recruit to meet potential victims and then use that to lure them to meet them in a physical environment and then they’ve made contact, and it goes from there.

A huge percentage of Canadian youth become friends with someone on Facebook who they don’t even know. Most commonly it’s a friend of a friend, and people who have Facebook accounts would know this. Facebook now recommends that you become friends with people that you don’t even know. If you have a certain number of common friends with someone, it will say, your friend Bob, who you know very well or Suzie, who you know very well, she’s friends with Tyrell Henwood, wouldn’t you like to? A lot of youth want to accumulate friends, you know, there is a bit of thing, you know, who has the most friends, who is the most popular? Some people click yes.

Tyrell Henwood is someone in British Columbia who was out on bail at the time for having horribly beaten a prostituted woman, in that case with a field hockey stick, a very violent act in Victoria. And while he was on bail he went on the Internet and met a fourteen year old girl from the interior of British Columbia, and convinced her to come to Victoria, on bus. She was reported missing by her parents, very quickly, we don’t know what the home situation was, but it’s a runaway situation that we see all the time, every day.

And when she got there, very quickly, he made it clear to her that he wasn’t going to be her friend. He was going to earn money by forcing her to be sold for sex and put her out on the street corner. Now fortunately, the Victoria police bike patrol unit saw this young girl and asked her for her name and she gave two false names and had fake ages, of course she was quite young. And then broke down, and fortunately was helped. And he was charged with a number of different criminal accounts. The definition of human trafficking here fits his case although he was not convicted of that crime.