“At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.” Aristotle
Many Calgarians may have seen or heard about- Global Television Calgary’s feature called “The Flesh Trade” and was reported by Jill Croteau. The series examines how young people, predominantly young ladies, get hooked into and groomed for an exciting, lavish lifestyle which ultimately leads to picking a pimp and leading the street lifestyle. Human Trafficking is a lucrative industry, representing an estimated $32 billion per year in international trade.
Jenna was a normal child looking forward to finishing primary and secondary school and then on to University of Calgary where she wanted to become a teacher or work in the education field. As she will tell you in her own words that never happened and what happened next will be hard for some to read and relate to.
…” I wanted to make new friends and thought going onto the internet would be a great place to start. Chat rooms were where most of the connections happened. I met two girls Alex and KC we became fast friends they were both 13 and I was 11 at the time. Alex would lend me some makeup and KC had awesome clothing and shoes. We went to daytime parties at first and my parents had met both KC and Alex and liked them both”…
…” One day I met Jay. Jay was wonderful- 18 and enjoyed my company. Jay at first treated me like a girlfriend and then things changed rapidly. I was mentally and sexually abused. I had bruises, bloody nose and by this point was living with him full time in Calgary. My parents tried to find me and Alex and KC were no longer in the Calgary area”…
…”I along with other girls were bound tightly to beds- so we couldn’t get up. I remember the stench and blood stains and the crying as some went to sleep. We were usually fed a sandwich a day and some only had water. (If the girl was overweight they’d starve her down to the appropriate size) It was like being in a zoo, you know, or a circus freak show performer. They look at you and then…have their way with you and you go back to your cage”…
…” Showers were not comfortable they were just shy of burning your skin hot- some days I could not feel my fingers or toes. After the showers we were ushered into a change area where we were made up and put on classy clothes to complete our nightly commitments. Sometimes we were taken to other locations other times they came to us. We looked like willing participants- that was far from the truth! It’s like a made-up world except there are no princes or princesses. We were his property- if he wanted me to complete a sexual act we had to- no chance to say no”…
…” Sometimes the “john” will just hold you other times the john would beat the crap out of you and you had to just take it. The “john” can and would torture you it’s his own gratification. Afterwards other girls would cover you up with makeup so no bruises or other signs of abuse would show. You know make us look nice and pretty again- no one wants to see bruising and cut marks. The next night it looks like I was all put together again and put out to new “johns”. Most nights and most johns only took around an hour for servicing”…
…” Sometimes we had near 10 johns a night other nights it was near 30 johns a night. One night I had things done to me- I was physically sick- so I had to bite the inside of my mouth- it bled and then I took toothpaste and put it on the bite. The nerves on that side felt like they were no longer active. I looked in a mirror and wondered if anyone knew I was a human being. After a while I, like others, just started blocking things out and it became robotic- not human- robotic. I didn’t know how it would end- I just had to worry about making it through the day, the night”…
…” I remember thinking and hoping that someone would find me and help me and get me out of this torture”
Up to 5K young girls and boys are sold in Canada in a year. Many of these children do not make it out of this industry alive. There are very few known survivors of sexual slavery in Canada and Jenna is one of the luckier ones. One night when she was only 13 years old was beaten, sexually tortured and nearly burned alive and left for dead.
…” I was taken around from Calgary to Vancouver and finally landed in Edmonton. This one night, after about 3 years in the system, this “john” had a fantasy of having sex and then seeing a child burned alive. They had extremely rough sex with me then… (Crying)… He poured a mixture of hot oils on me. I remember looking down, at my hands, and it hurt so bad flames everywhere and I couldn’t get it to quit. This was his fantasy so I had to complete it. (Sigh and Crying) So- after that experience I was no longer able work because I was disfigured from being burnt- the best thing for me was death. I was secretly hoping that my current pimp would kill me”…
…” I was given something and passed out-later I woke up in a dumpster behind a classy hotel and restaurant. Someone found me and got me to a hospital. Once out of the hospital I was looking for a job and new line of work. I thought about the old biz, but, I found a club and that was a step up for me- like a few others have done”
Jenna eventually found herself in a more desirable work environment- Jenna was extremely lucky! Jenna had met someone from an outreach group that helped her stay out of escorting services and helped her find a better life.
Some signs that a daughter in Calgary may be in trouble: New friends, probably older and seem to have too much money, fancy clothes or designer make-up.
Giving up on school, sports teams, going to the mall or summer camp to be with people she knows on the internet chat room circuit.
New friends are her only friends-What once was a group is likely only two girls and maybe a guy.
Has one of Calgary’s daughters had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior? Once able to look at you in the eye now avoids any eye contact. Can this daughter speak for herself or is someone there to help her along in what to say?
Does one of Calgary’s daughters show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care? Bruises in various stages of healing, disoriented or seems like they have been mentally abused?
The following are resources that deal directly and try to get the girls out before they end up dead….on the street they thought was friendly in the beginning. Please consult the list below for more information on human trafficking and resources available in the community.