Last year, Dick entered the hotel room of a teenager whose online escorting ad “ticked all the right boxes” for a potential trafficked victim, such as a photo that doesn’t show her face, the offer to do “fetishes” and the request that clients text only (pimps often control the phone and pose as girls using flirtatious text messages).
“She was very aggressive with us at first and I remember being in the room and thinking ‘There’s something not right here, you are too defensive,’ ” Dick said, his voice breaking.
Seasoned detectives and social workers estimate the number of girls being trafficked in Ontario today to be in the thousands.
On the streets, it’s known as “The Game.” Some of the girls are beaten by pimps — whipped with coat hangers heated up on a stove, punched, choked, burnt and forced to sleep naked at the foot of the bed, like dogs.
Sexual human trafficking is the forced confinement or transportation of a person for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
Contrary to popular belief, almost all of the victims in Canada are Canadian born.
“There were suitcases on the floor and you could just tell that this was her life.
It’s so hard to walk out that door, because you don’t know what you’re leaving her to.” When the pimp returned to the hotel a few hours later, police arrested him for breaching bail and the teenage girl ran away.
Then it’s the grooming, the gifts and the hints about how much money she could make working in the sex trade.
Finally it comes to the “sale,” where a pimp convinces a girl to prostitute herself and give him all her money.
“They get inside your head: I felt like they had a hold of me from the inside — from my mind.” The mental manipulation and control these traffickers have over women is the most challenging aspect for police and welfare agencies.
The pimps control their cellphones, delete their messages, isolate them from their families and steal their identification documents.