Transcript: Ontario Hubs: Human Trafficking in Kenora | Feb 16, 2018

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a blue suit, white shirt, and burgundy, pink and blue striped tie.

On a screen behind him, a caption reads "Ontario Hubs."

A caption reads "Ontario Hubs: Human trafficking in Kenora."

Steve says IN 2016, ONTARIO
LAUNCHED ITS STRATEGY TO END
HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN THE
PROVINCE.
OUR NORTHWESTERN ONTARIO HUB
EDITOR HAS BEEN LOOKING INTO HOW
ONE PROGRAM IN THE KENORA-LAKE
OF THE WOODS AREA IS TAKING UP
THE CHARGE.
OR SEEMING TO AT LEAST.
LET'S FIND OUT MORE WITH
JON THOMPSON, JOINING US NOW
FROM OUR STUDIO AT CONFEDERATION
COLLEGE IN THUNDER BAY.
JON W GOOD TO HAVE YOU ON THE
PROGRAM AGAIN.
HOW'S IT GOING?

Jon is in his forties, with short curly graying hair and a beard. He wears a checker gray suit, a white shirt and a striped gray tie.

Jon says IT'S GREAT TO
BE BACK, STEVE.

A split screen shows Steve to the left and Jon to the right with the caption "Thunder Bay, Ontario."

Steve says TERRIFIC.
JUST START BY GIVING US... GIVE
US THE BASIC 411 ON KENORA-LAKE
OF THE WOODS BECAUSE A LOT OF
PEOPLE DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT IT.

The caption changes to "Ontario Hubs: Human trafficking in Kenora. What’s happening in Lake of the Woods?"

The caption changes to "Jon Thimpson. Northwestern Ontario Hub editor."

Jon says IT'S THE LAST AREA BEFORE YOU
GET TO MANITOBA.
IT'S ON THE NORTH EDGE OF LAKE
OF WOODS, WHICH IS AN ABSOLUTELY
GORGEOUS LAKE.

A map shows the Great Lakes area.

Jon says THERE ARE ABOUT 15,000 PEOPLE
THERE AND IT'S GEARED TO THE
TOURIST ECONOMY IN THE AFTERMATH
OF THE LOGGING COLLAPSE, AND SO
THE POPULATION DOUBLES IN THE
SUMMERTIME.
THERE ARE CAMPS PEPPERED ACROSS
15,000 ISLANDS AND MORE COAST
THAN LAKE SUPERIOR.
SO THAT'S KIND OF THE LAY OF THE
LAND OUT THERE.

Steve says WHEN YOU SAY CAMPS,
WE HAVE TO REMIND PEOPLE SOUTH
OF THE FRENCH RIVER WHO CALL
THEM COTTAGES, THAT'S THE SAME
THING.
YOU'VE GOT A STORY ON TVO.org,
OUR WEBSITE, WHERE YOU DESCRIBE
A CONFERENCE THAT HAPPENED A FEW
YEARS AGO.
IT WAS ABOUT HUMAN TRAFFICKING,
AND SOMEONE BROUGHT FORWARD
ALLEGATIONS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING
IN KENORA.
I WONDER HOW PEOPLE RESPONDED TO
THAT.

The caption changes to "Jon Thompson. @JonSThompson."

Jon says THE ALLEGATIONS SPECIFICALLY
WERE THAT THERE WAS A CIRCUIT
THAT RUNS FROM WINNIPEG TO
THUNDER BAY WHERE WOMEN ARE
BEING... MOSTLY WOMEN, ARE BEING
TRAFFICKED IN JUST ABOUT EVERY
SMALL TOWN IN THAT AREA,
SPECIFICALLY THOSE ALLEGATIONS
WERE THAT WOMEN WERE BEING
TRAFFICKED TO THE ISLANDS AND TO
THE CAMPS AND COTTAGES ON LAKE
OF THE WOODS.
AND THAT WAS SOMETHING THAT EVEN
PEOPLE IN THE SOCIAL SERVICE
SECTOR HADN'T HEARD BEFORE.
I SUSPECT THAT MANY PEOPLE
WATCHING TONIGHT, THIS WILL BE
THE FIRST TIME THAT THEY'VE
HEARD OF IT.

A tvo.org article pops up with a title that reads "Does Kenora have a human trafficking problem? By Jon Thompson."

Steve says INDEED.
NOW, THE PROVINCE, OBVIOUSLY
HAVING HEARD THIS, CAME FORWARD
WITH A PROGRAM TO DEAL WITH IT.
WHAT'S THE NATURE OF THE
PROGRAM?
WHAT'S IT SUPPOSED TO DO?

Jon says THE COMMUNITY SUPPORTS
PROGRAM IS 500,000 DOLLARS OUT OF
KENORA.
THE KENORA SEXUAL ASSAULT CENTRE
IS GOING TO BE HIRING A CASE
WORKER THIS MONTH, AND THAT
PERSON, MOST OF THEIR WORK WILL
BE PUBLIC EDUCATION.
SO THEY'RE GOING TO BE REACHING
OUT TO PEOPLE IN THE TOURISM
SECTOR, BY AND LARGE, EDUCATING
DOCK HANDS, HOTEL WORKERS,
RESTAURANT WORKERS, PEOPLE WHO
ARE RUNNING 24-HOUR MINI MARTS
AND THOSE SORTS OF THINGS, TO BE
ABLE TO SPOT THE SIGNS OF HUMAN
TRAFFICKING.
MEN WITH YOUNG WOMEN.
WOMEN WHO ARE INEBRIATED
POSSIBLY.
AND THINGS THAT LOOK OUT OF
PLACE.
THE WAY KENORA NORMALLY
OPERATES.

Steve says JON, THIS IS
ADMITTEDLY A BIT OF A STRANGE
QUESTION BUT I'M GOING TO ASK IT
ANYWAY.
ARE PEOPLE IN NORTHWESTERN
ONTARIO SURE THAT THIS IS IN
FACT HAPPENING?

Jon says WELL, THIS IS REALLY A DATA
STORY.
WHAT MAKES ME EXCITED... IN OUR
TIME, PUBLIC POLICY IS
DETERMINED BY THE AGGREGATION OF
DATA.
AND SO THERE IS NO DATA TO
SUGGEST THAT WHAT IS BEING
CALLED IN THE INDUSTRY THE DOCK
GIRLS ARE ACTUALLY REAL.
THERE IS ONLY ONE PERSON I'VE
MET WHO HAS COME ACROSS ONE CASE
OF A SO-CALLED DOCK GIRL.
WHAT IS BELIEVED TO BE HAPPENING
MOSTLY IS CONNECTED TO THE
OPIATE CRISIS AND THE WAY THAT
MEN ARE GROOMING YOUNG WOMEN,
GETTING THEM ADDICTED TO
OPIATES, AND EXCHANGING SEX FOR
DRUGS.
BUT THESE ALLEGATIONS THAT
SOMETHING IS HAPPENING OUT ON
THE LAKE WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE
WEALTHY COTTAGERS, THIS IS
SOMETHING BRAND NEW THAT HAS...
IF THE WOMEN IN THAT SITUATION
HAVEN'T BEEN REACHING OUT TO
SOCIAL SERVICES, THE TRAFFICKERS
IN THAT SITUATION HAVE ALSO BEEN
EVADING POLICE BECAUSE THE RCMP,
THE OPP DON'T HAVE ANY EVIDENCE
THAT THIS IS HAPPENING.

Steve says JON, YOU JUST USED
AN EXPRESSION THAT MAYBE SOME
PEOPLE HAVEN'T HEARD BEFORE.
A DOT GIRL.
WHAT IS THAT?

Jon says THAT'S SORT OF THE CASUAL
SLANG TERM IN THE SOCIAL SERVICE
INDUSTRY THAT THESE WOMEN ARE
BEING CALLED.
AGAIN, I'VE ONLY ENCOUNTERED ONE
PERSON WHO HAS ENCOUNTERED ONE
PERSON WHO IS IN THAT SITUATION.
BUT IF YOU ARE THE GOVERNMENT OF
ONTARIO AND YOU MAKE DECISIONS
BASED ON DATA, THEN YOU HAVE
TO... AND THERE IS NO DATA, THEN
YOU HAVE TO TAKE YOUR BEST
GUESSES.
AND SO PART OF THAT BEST GUESS
IS COMING OUT OF THE NUMBER OF
MISSING PERSONS CASES IN THE
KENORA AREA, THE OPIATE CRISIS,
WHICH WE'VE COVERED ON
TVO.org, AND THERE ARE ALSO
MORE THAN A DOZEN FIRST NATIONS
THAT SURROUND KENORA AND
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ARE ALSO
OVERREPRESENTED IN HUMAN
TRAFFICKING TO THE BEST... TO
THE BEST OF THE DATA THAT
EXISTS.
SO OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS,
THEY'RE HOPING THAT FURTHER DATA
WILL ALLOW THEM TO BE ABLE TO
BETTER GUESS WHAT IS ACTUALLY
HAPPENING.

The caption changes to "Ontario Hubs: Human trafficking in Kenora. Trying to help."

Steve says JON, ARE YOU HEARING
ANY RUMBLES OF OTHER APPROACHES
THAT YOU THINK SOME OF THE
DECISION MAKERS THERE OUGHT TO
BE TAKING INSTEAD OF THE
APPROACH FAVOURED BY THE CURRENT
ONTARIO GOVERNMENT?

The caption changes to "Connect with us: @theagenda, tvo.org, Facebook, YouTube, Periscope and Instagram."

Jon says WELL, THE CRITICISM OF THE
APPROACH OF OUTREACH AND
EDUCATION IS THAT IT CREATES A
PEER SURVEILLANCE CULTURE WITHIN
THE COMMUNITY, AND SO, YOU KNOW,
PEOPLE WHO ARE... OLDER MEN WHO
ARE DATING YOUNGER WOMEN MIGHT
END UP GETTING CAUGHT UP IN
THIS.
CANADA HAS AN INTERESTING
HISTORY OF THE EVOLUTION OF ITS
PROSTITUTION LAWS WHEN IT COMES
TO INDIGENOUS WOMEN, AND THERE
ARE CONCERNS THAT THOSE WOMEN
MIGHT BE CRIMINALIZED FOR SIMPLY
BEING IN PUBLIC.
THE DISSENTING VOICES ARE
ESSENTIALLY SAYING THAT THERE
ARE DATA SETS THAT WE CAN WORK
WITH IF YOU WANTED TO PREVENT
THIS ISSUE.
WE KNOW THAT INTRAVENOUS DRUG
USERS ARE AT RISK AND PEOPLE IN
POVERTY ARE AT RISK.
IN THE CASE OF FIRST NATIONS,
THERE ARE DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENTS
THAT ARE DESIGNED TO RESPOND TO
THE NEEDS OF THOSE POPULATIONS
THAT YOU COULD RUN PROGRAMMING
THROUGH, AND IN THE CASE OF
POVERTY, THERE ARE PROGRAMS THAT
YOU CAN RUN TO MAKE SURE THAT
NOBODY IS IN THAT SITUATION.
SO THE ARGUMENT IS THAT YOU'RE
CHASING IT DOWNSTREAM RATHER
THAN TAKING IT AT ITS ROOTS.

Steve says INDEED.
JON, THANKS FOR BRINGING THIS TO
OUR ATTENTION AND WE REMIND
EVERYBODY THAT YOUR ORIGINAL
ARTICLE IS ON OUR WEBSITE,
TVO.org.
THEY CAN READ IT ANYPLACE, ANY
TIME.
THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Jon says TERRIFIC.
THANK YOU, STEVE.

The caption changes to "Ontario Hubs: Human trafficking in Kenora. Producer: Mark Brosens. @MarkBrosens."

(music plays)

Logo: Ontario Hubs.

A caption reads "Ontario Hubs are made possible by The Barry and Laurie Green Family Charitable Trust and Goldie Feldman."

Watch: Ontario Hubs: Human Trafficking in Kenora