Perspectives on Working with a Trafficked Person Video Transcript

Perspectives on Working with a Trafficked Person

Mary Pichette, Executive Director of Servants Anonymous Society, Surrey:

Allow time. I think sometimes we want to make our best effort to help trafficked women and we do way too much, way too fast as far as their frame of reference, and just allowing them to just kind of settle. You have to follow the person that’s leaving the traffic situation; they need to be in charge. And I think the only way that they can gain a sense of willingness, not even trust, but a willingness to stay put, is to see that they have some power to be in charge of themselves, in whatever way they might define it. I think it’s very very important that the human services individuals or agencies recognize that that is up to the person, to the woman who’s in this process of change or being rescued. She’s the one that needs to be allowed to set the pace at which she will proceed with other issues in her life, like medical, like immigration, before you just throw a whole bunch of steps that she’s going to eventually need to take.

Rose Henry, Aboriginal Community Consultant, Coast Salish Territory:

As a service provider I think that there are some indicators that they could take a closer look at, but they also don’t look at it, because they just take it for granted that it’s a person’s normal behaviour. When they’re constantly pacing back and forth, or they’re playing with their hair, or they’re sleeping for unusually long periods of any given time. Or they’re not able to sleep. Or they’re eating excessively. So you know the compulsive behaviours usually are a strong indicator that there’s something going wrong. If a person is saying I have to do this, I have to do that, and they’re saying that they are doing it for somebody else. You don’t know whether that person is a family member, if it is their best friend, or is it somebody that is really giving you the creeps.

And most people when you get those vibes, that you don’t know whether it’s a good situation, they would appreciate it if you said something, rather than saying nothing, because a lot of times when a person is being trafficked they don’t know that other people can see it too. And they don’t know how to get out of, I call it, the pickled jar. They don’t know how to get out of it until somebody reaches in and pulls them out.

By first of all sharing your own story is how you encourage people to tell their story. But how do you get them to tell it in front of the cameras, or in front of a total stranger, is done in many different ways. For me, when I’m telling my story it’s because I want to share. I want to share it with the idea that one day I might make a difference to one person. I might be able to get them to say, hey, this is wrong. I might be able to save one person’s life. So when I talk about that with other people, I hope you can learn something from this. I hope that you learn that your life is valuable, that I honour you as a person by sharing my story. And that you honour me as a person when I share my story with you.