There are an estimated 17,000 people living in conditions of slavery in Canada (GSI 2018). Both Canadian and foreign citizens are exploited in forced labour and sex trafficking. Forced labour affects migrant workers under ‘low-skilled’ temporary visa streams including the low-wage and primary agricultural streams. These workers are often in restaurants, hotels, agriculture, food preparation, construction or domestic work. Sexual exploitation of Canadian citizens is the most common form of slavery detected by authorities in the country, with 93% of sex trafficking victims being Canadian. Leann developed an addiction issue after a serious industry left her in a wheelchair. She borrowed money to feed her addiction that resulted in her owing money to her traffickers, who forced her into forced criminal activity to pay off her debt. Leanna was forced to open bank accounts, assume fake identities and have multiple IDs to get money for her traffickers. Though she was arrested on a number of occasions, her traffickers were always waiting for her outside jail when she was released. This cycle continued for three years until her traffickers suspected she had stolen from them and locked her in a room where she was sexual and physical abused. She was finally able to escape when one day someone left the door open and she was helped by a passerby.
Men, women and children make up those trafficked in Indonesia, subjected to forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Brokers working in rural areas are known to lure men and boys into forced labour on palm oil, rubber and tobacco plantations, while women and under-age girls are lured into work as domestics in private homes and as commercial sex workers. Rising unemployment and slowed job creation has pushed people into the informal sector unprotected by labour laws and thus made them more vulnerable to exploitation. There are currently only 18 shelters in Indonesia working to rescue and rehabilitate survivors of human trafficking. Lea, now 26 and a native of Nafai village in Savannakhet province’s Kaisone district, was first sold as a teen to work in Thailand on a rubber plantation by a neighbour. After four months working to pay off their 'debt' to their employer, Lea escaped the plantation. At 15 years old, alone and with no money, he made his way to Bangkok where a taxi driver told him her could earn good money working on a fishing boat. Lea was locked in a house for 3 days before being taken on to the fishing boat where he would work long hours with little rest for 3 years without pay. Lea was finally able to escape, hiding in a forest after being taken ashore. Lea now works as a labourer on construction sites on and in other jobs on Tuan Island as he waits to go home.
Angela Guanzon was brought to the United States from Bacolod City, Philippines, in 2005, to work at an elderly care home in California. But upon arrival she was told she owed $12,000 in fees, to be deducted before wages. She worked 18 hours a day and slept on hallway floors for two and half years. The FBI rescued Angela and several other workers in 2008. Angela testified against her trafficker in criminal court and the woman received a five-year prison sentence. Angela is now a survivor-organizer with the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST), a nonprofit organization that provided her with shelter and legal assistance.