Canada Launches Blue Blindfold Campaign

According to the Toronto Star, the federal government has taken a page from Ireland, the UK, and the United States, and launched its own version of the Blue Blindfold Campaign. This awareness campaign will urge Canadians to “stop turning a blind eye to potential victims of human trafficking”, and to anonymously report what they see.  The move is the first in what is expected to be a string of announcements regarding the government’s objective of deterring human smuggling.

As part of the Blue Blindfold Campaign, Public Safety Canada will be teaming up with Crime Stoppers Association and the RCMP to raise awareness through re-enactments of criminal exploitation. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has said that the content will be “disturbing and uncomfortable”, and described the the purpose of the campaign as being to:

[A]ddress one of the vilest crimes imaginable, that of human trafficking – a crime that is often referred to as modern day slavery.

Some of the images you will see in this campaign are disturbing and uncomfortable. This is because this crime is disturbing and uncomfortable and it needs to be stopped.

One of the Crime Stoppers Commercials is now available online:

Stripping? Washing dishes? Serving drinks at a cocktail party?

Very disturbing.

And yet, probably the sort of thing that a victim of human trafficking might do. Contrary to what some may think, victims of human trafficking are not only found in massage parlors or sweat shops. More often than not, they are individuals who do the sort of jobs that most of us did back in high school and university.  The difference is  that they are underpaid, live under the fear of violence against either themselves or their family back home, and are generally trapped.

Our office was recently approached by an individual who had brought in a nanny under a visitor visa because she wanted to avoid the live-in caregiver program because it meant that her nanny would eventually become a permanent resident. She was adamant that her nanny not make more in Canada than she would have back home.   We politely showed her the door.