Transcript: Fighting the Spread of Child-Trafficking Conspiracies | Nov 26, 2020

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

A caption on screen reads "Fighting human trafficking and conspiracies. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says CHILD ABDUCTION AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING ARE REAL PROBLEMS, IN THIS WORLD, AND EVEN IN THIS PROVINCE. BUT CONSPIRACY THEORIES INCREASINGLY SPREADING ONLINE, NOT ONLY DON'T HELP, BUT ARE ALSO DOING REAL HARM, ACCORDING TO ACTUAL ANTI-TRAFFICKING GROUPS WORKING ON THE GROUND WITH VICTIMS. JOINING US NOW FOR MORE ON THAT AND WHAT MOTIVATES PEOPLE TO BELIEVE IN SUCH DISINFORMATION: FROM WATERLOO, ONTARIO: LORNE DAWSON, PROFESSOR IN THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIOLOGY AND LEGAL STUDIES AND THE DEPARTMENT OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO...

Lorne is in his fifties, with short white hair and a stubble. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit and a blue shirt.

Steve continues IN THE DOWNTOWN CORE OF THE PROVINCIAL CAPITAL: JULIA DRYDYK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT THE CANADIAN CENTRE TO END HUMAN TRAFFICKING...

Julia is in her thirties, with long wavy chestnut hair. She's wearing a beige plaid blazer.

Steve continues AND IN MIDTOWN: RHONELLE BRUDER, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF PROJECT iRISE, A SURVIVOR-LED ANTI-HUMAN TRAFFICKING NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATION...

Rhonelle is in her thirties, with long wavy highlighted brown hair. She's wearing a pink sweater.

Steve continues WE'RE HAPPY TO WELCOME ALL THREE OF YOU TO TVO TONIGHT FOR AN IMPORTANT AND, SADLY, VERY TIMELY CONVERSATION. JULIA, CAN I JUST START WITH YOU AND HAVE YOU EXPLAIN OR PERHAPS CLARIFY FOR US THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND SEX TRAFFICKING, BECAUSE WE HEAR BOTH OF THOSE LABELS USED, AND WE NEED TO KNOW IF THEY MEAN THE SAME THING.

The caption changes to "Julia Drydyk. The Canadian Centre to end Human Trafficking."

Julia says ABSOLUTELY. SO HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN LAYMAN'S TERMS IS WHAT WE REFER TO IS WHEN PEOPLE EXPLOIT OR COERCE OR TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOMEONE FOR FINANCIAL PROFIT OR PERSONAL GAIN. SO IN CANADA, WHEN WE TALK ABOUT HUMAN TRAFFICKING, THERE'S TWO MAJOR WAYS THAT WE'RE SEEING THIS PLAY OUT, AND ONE IS SEX TRAFFICKING, SO THAT'S WHEN INDIVIDUALS ARE AGAIN COERCED, FORCED, CONTROLLED, OR MANIPULATED OR LIED TO TO ENGAGE IN COMMERCIAL SEX ACTS FOR THE TRAFFICKER'S GAIN. BUT WE ALSO SEE IT IN TERMS OF LABOUR TRAFFICKING. SO, AGAIN, THAT IS FORCED LABOUR IN CANADA WHERE, AGAIN, INDIVIDUALS ARE FORCED TO WORK FOR THE EMPLOYER'S GAIN.

Steve says LORNE, LET'S ALSO CLARIFY THIS. I KNOW THERE ARE GOING TO BE PEOPLE WATCHING THIS RIGHT NOW WHO ARE GOING TO BE SAYING TO THEMSELVES: WHAT? THIS HAPPENS IN ONTARIO? AND THE ANSWER TO THAT IS SOMEWHAT?

The caption changes to "Lorne Dawson. University of Waterloo."

Lorne says IN TERMS OF THE TRAFFICKING, YES, OF COURSE IT HAPPENS. WHERE I AM IN KITCHENER-WATERLOO, I KNOW THERE'S BEEN LOCALLY QUITE A BIT OF THIS. IT'S MADE IT IN LOCAL NEWS AND CAUSED QUITE A SENSATION, ESPECIALLY OUT OF CAMBRIDGE. SO IT'S NOT JUST SOMETHING IN TERMS OF, I THINK WE ALL STILL THINK ABOUT IN TERMS OF YOUNG WOMEN BEING VICTIMIZED COMING INTO THE COUNTRY, BUT IT'S A MATTER OF YOUNG WOMEN WITHIN THE COUNTRY BEING VICTIMIZED AS WELL.

Steve says NOW, PART OF THE DIFFICULTY IN TRYING TO MAKE HEADWAY ON THIS ISSUE IS THAT THERE ARE GROUPS OUT THERE RIGHT NOW THAT HAVE... WELL, THEY MAY NOT FEEL THIS WAY, BUT CERTAINLY OTHER PEOPLE, EXPERTS SUCH AS YOURSELVES, THINK THAT THEY ARE EXPLOITING THE SITUATION FOR THEIR OWN PURPOSES, AND TO THAT END, AND OBVIOUSLY NOT HELPING MATTERS, AND TO THAT END I WANT TO READ PART OF AN OPEN LETTER WRITTEN BY FREEDOM NEEDS TRUTH. THIS IS A COALITION OF ORGANIZATIONS DEDICATED TO FIGHTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING, AND THIS IS ABOUT THE DANGERS OF QANON, CONSPIRACY THEORIES BEFORE THE LAST ELECTION. I THINK MOST PEOPLE HAVE HEARD OF QANON NOW. HERE WE GO.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Harming anti-trafficking efforts." The quote reads ".Anybody -political committee, public office holder, candidate, or media outlet- who lends any credibility to QAnon conspiracies related to human trafficking actively harms the fight against human trafficking."
Quoted from freedomneedstruth.medium.com. October 21, 2020.

Steve says LET'S GET INTO THAT. RHONELLE, HOW DO THE QANON TYPES HARM THE FIGHT AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING?

The caption changes to "Rhonelle Bruder. Project Irise."

Rhonelle says WELL, WHAT QANON DOES AND ANY SORT OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING CONSPIRACY THEORIES IS REALLY PAINTS A PICTURE OF WHAT TRAFFICKING LOOKS LIKE. BUT THIS PICTURE IS NOT REFLECTIVE OF REALITY. AND SO STORIES OF INTERNATIONAL CHILD TRAFFICKING RINGS OR PEOPLE BEING KIDNAPPED OFF THE STREET, EVEN THOUGH THESE THINGS DO HAPPEN, WHAT WE'RE HEARING PARTICULARLY HERE IN CANADA, SO DOMESTIC SEX TRAFFICKING IS THAT YOUNG PEOPLE ARE BEING TRAFFICKED BY SOMEONE THAT THEY KNOW. IT'S A FAMILY MEMBER. IT'S A BOYFRIEND. IT'S A GIRLFRIEND. IT'S NOT SOMEBODY BEING KID halved OFF THE STREET BY A STRANGER AND IT'S NOT LIKELY SOMEONE IS GOING TO BE INVOLVED IN AN INTERNATIONAL SEX TRAFFICKING RING.

Steve says RHONELLE, DO YOU KNOW WHY THEY DO THIS?

Rhonelle says WHY THEY MAKE UP THESE CONSPIRACY THEORIES?

Steve says YEAH.

The caption changes to "Rhonelle Bruder, @RealRhonelle."

Rhonelle says I THINK BECAUSE, PARTICULARLY WITH SEX TRAFFICKING, IT IS SUCH A COMPLEX CRIME. IT'S SOMETHING THAT'S VERY HARD FOR MOST PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND. HOW COULD SOMEONE BE VICTIMIZED IN THIS WAY? AND SO THESE CONSPIRACY THEORIES, TO ME THEY'RE TRYING TO SIMPLIFY SOMETHING THAT IS SO OVERLY COMPLICATED IN A WAY THAT MOST PEOPLE WILL SAY, OKAY, THIS IS WHAT TRAFFICKING LOOKS LIKE. I CAN GET BEHIND THAT.

Steve says JULIA, WHAT IMPACT DO THESE CONSPIRACY ORGANIZATIONS HAVE ON YOUR ORGANIZATION?

The caption changes to "Julia Drydyk, @JuliaDrydyk."
Then, it changes again to "Overshadowing a real problem."

Julia says AS MENTIONED, THE AMONG MYTHS THAT ALREADY EXIST AROUND HUMAN TRAFFICKING ARE NOT HELPFUL TO START OFF WITH. SO, AGAIN, MANY CANADIANS BELIEVE THAT THIS IS AN ISSUE OF FOREIGN NATIONALS OR WOMEN BEING BROUGHT INTO THE COUNTRY AND BEING TRAFFICKED HERE. AS MENTIONED, THAT'S JUST SIMPLY NOT THE CASE. THIS IS A DOMESTIC ISSUE, THIS IS A NATIONAL ISSUE, AND AS RHONELLE SAID, THIS IS SOMEONE THE INDIVIDUAL KNOWS AND TRUST. SO WHEN THESE CONSPIRACY THEORIES GOES OUT, WHAT IT DOES IS FUEL THAT FIRE OF MYTHS AND IT REALLY DETRACTS ON PEOPLE NOT BEING ABLE TO FOCUS ON THE ISSUE IN HAND IN FRONT OF US WHICH AGAIN IS INCREDIBLY COMPLEX.

Steve says LORNE, I SAID EARLIER I ASSUME EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT QANON IS, BUT MAYBE THEY DON'T. THEY WERE BIG IN THE U.S. ELECTION. FOR THOSE WHO DON'T KNOW, MAYBE YOU COULD BRING US UP TO SPEED ON WHO THEY ARE.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Lorne says WELL, NO ONE KNOWS WHO "Q" IS, HE'S ANONYMOUS SOURCE, HENCE QANON. HE DID POSTINGS IN 2017. THE POSTINGS ARE QUITE CRYPTIC. THEY HAVE SORT OF A PROPHETIC QUALITY AND THEY'RE VERY MUCH ABOUT ISSUES RELATED TO THE CULTURAL WARS IN THE UNITED STATES AND POLITICAL AGENDA, AND THE MAIN THING I THINK THAT CAUSED THE ATTENTION WAS THAT THERE'S THE IMPLICATION THAT HAS BEEN MADE THAT TRUMP WAS SOMEHOW FIGHTING A WAR AGAINST A KIND OF DEEP STATE CABAL THAT WAS SEEKING TO TAKE OVER THE UNITED STATES, AND THEN THEY LINKED INTO THESE SEX TRAFFICKING ISSUES BECAUSE THE IMPLICATION WAS THAT THE DEMOCRATIC OPPOSITION TO TRUMP WAS SOMEHOW PROMOTING SEX TRAFFICKING, AND OF COURSE THERE'S THE FAMOUS STORY SPREAD THAT SOMEHOW HILLARY CLINTON AND OTHER LEADING FIGURES IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY WERE INVOLVED IN A PEDOPHILE RING, EXPLOITING CHILDREN. SO QANON EXPLOITED THIS PREJUDICE THAT EXISTED ALREADY AMONGST A CERTAIN FRINGE ELEMENT AGAINST DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND SOUGHT TO USE IT FOR THEIR OWN POLITICAL ENDS, TO SUPPORT... GAIN SUPPORT FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP.

Steve says JUST TO FINISH THAT STORY ABOUT HILLARY CLINTON. THE ALLEGATION WAS THAT SHE WAS RUNNING A PEDOFILIA RING OUT OF THE BASEMENT OF A PIZZA PARLOUR IN WASHINGTON, D.C. AND SOMEBODY WENT DOWN THERE WITH A SHOTGUN HOPING TO QUOTE, UNQUOTE, RESCUE ALL THOSE KIDS, AND THANKFULLY HE WAS TAKEN INTO CUSTODY BEFORE HE COULD KILL ANYBODY, BUT THAT HAD THE POTENTIAL OF REALLY BEING QUITE TRAGIC. DO YOU KNOW, LORNE, WHY QANON TYPES SEEM TO FOCUS SO MUCH ON PEDOPHILIA RINGS AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING? THIS SEEMS TO BE THEIR THING.

Lorne says WELL, I THINK THERE ARE TWO THINGS GOING ON. SO FROM THE PROSPECTIVE OF "Q." AND THOSE WHO ARE POLITICALLY ALIGNED WITH THIS SOURCE AND PROMOTING THE CONSPIRACY, THEY ARE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THIS TO PROMOTE THEIR POLITICAL AGENDA, TO GAIN SUPPORT. WHY IT WORKS IS BECAUSE IN CONSPIRACY THEORIES IN GENERAL, PEOPLE ARE VERY INTERESTED IN GETTING INVOLVED IN A GROUP THAT THEY THINK IS INVOLVED IN SOME KIND OF FUNCTION, THEY'RE GOING TO SAVE THE WORLD. THEY'RE A SMALL GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE SPECIAL KNOWLEDGE AND INSIGHT, AND THEY'RE GOING TO OVERCOME A SORT OF GREAT IGNORANCE IN THE WORLD AND THEY'RE GOING TO RESCUE, PARTICULARLY, THE APPEAL IS THAT THEY'RE GOING TO RESCUE THE INNOCENT. THEY'RE GOING TO RESCUE THOSE WHO ARE BEING ABUSED. SO A LARGE NUMBER OF CONSPIRACY THEORIES OR POLITICAL PROPAGANDA IN GENERAL USUALLY USES MOTIFS ABOUT WOMEN AND CHILDREN BEING SEXUALLY MOLESTED, KILLED, ET CETERA, IN ORDER TO GALVANIZE THIS DESIRE TO COME TO THE RESCUE OF THESE PEOPLE ON THE PART OF THE AUDIENCE.

Steve says JULIA, SINCE THIS GROUP HAS GAINED ATTENTION, IN PART BECAUSE THEY ENDORSE TRUMP, IN PART BECAUSE HE RETWEETED SOME OF THEIR STUFF ON TWITTER, HAVE YOU BEEN GETTING AN INCREASE IN CALLS TO YOUR ORGANIZATION BECAUSE OF THAT?

Julia says SO USUALLY ABOUT 48 HOURS AFTER A NEW HASHTAG COMES OUT LIKE SAVE THE CHILDREN OR SOME OF THE CONSPIRACY THEORIES AROUND WAYFAIR, WE WILL GET AN INFLUX OF CALLS TO THE HOT LINE. LUCKILY WE'RE NOT EXPERIENCING IT TO THE SAME DEGREE THEY ARE IN THE STATES WITH A HUMAN TRAFFICKING HOT LINE. IT'S NOT JUST SERVING OTHER FOLKS WHO MIGHT BE VICTIMS OF SURVIVORS ON THE GROUND, BUT WE DEFINITELY SEE IT. IN ALL HONESTY, WE TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE EDUCATION AND AWARENESS ABOUT WHAT HUMAN TRAFFICKING REALLY IS. WE DEFINITELY GET PEOPLE FROM ACROSS CANADA, YOU KNOW, FAMILY MEMBERS AND JUST GENERAL FOLKS, YOU KNOW, ASKING IF THIS IS REAL.

Steve says AND WHEN YOU TELL THEM WHAT'S THE TRUTH, DO THEY ACCEPT THAT OR DO THEY THINK THAT YOU'RE PART OF THE DEEP STATE PART OF THE HIDING AND ALL OF THIS BUSINESS?

Lorne says NO, THEY ACCEPT OUR CREDIBILITY AND OUR EXPERTISE, AND I THINK PART OF THAT TOO IS JUST THE INCREDIBLE SKILL OF OUR HOT LINE RESPONSE ADVOCATES. REGARDLESS WHO IS CALLING ON THE LINE, WE MEET THEM WHERE THEY ARE AND WE SHARE INFORMATION WITHOUT PREJUDICE AND WITHOUT JUDGMENT.

Steve says OKAY. GOOD TO KNOW. RHONELLE, WE JUST HEARD WAYFAIR REFERRED TO THERE, THE ONLINE FURNITURE STORE AND THE ROLE THEY PLAY IN ALL OF THIS. CAN YOU BRING US UP TO SPEED ON THAT ANGLE?

Rhonelle says A CONSPIRACY STARTED THAT THEY WERE SELLING HIGH-PRICED CABINETS BUT IN ACTUALITY THEY WERE SELLING CHILDREN AND USING THIS CABINET AS A WAY OF PART OF THEIR INTERNATIONAL HUMAN TRAFFICKING RING. THIS STARTED WITH AN ONLINE INFLUENCER WHO BASICALLY SAW THIS... SAW THESE NAMES ASSOCIATED WITH THESE CABINETS AND THEN IT STARTED TO SPREAD AND IT REALLY SPREAD LIKE WILDFIRE THROUGHOUT THE INTERNET. THE CEO OF WAYFAIR HAD TO GO OUT AND MAKE A PUBLIC STATEMENT SAYING THAT THEY ARE NOT ASSOCIATED IN ANY WAY WITH CHILD TRAFFICKING.

Steve says AND WHEN SOMETHING LIKE THAT HAPPENS, HOW DO YOU FIGHT BACK AGAINST THAT KIND OF GARBAGE?

Rhonelle says I MEAN, IT'S CHALLENGING. I HAD PEOPLE REACHING OUT TO ME PERSONALLY BECAUSE THEY KNOW THE WORK I DO WITHIN THE ANTI-TRAFFICKING SPACE AND SAYING IS THIS HAPPENING? OF COURSE, IT'S NOT. IT'S THE FACT BECAUSE PEOPLE SEE IT ONLINE, THEY SEE IT WHETHER IT'S ON FACEBOOK OR INSTAGRAM OR LINKEDIN, WHEREVER THEY'RE SEEING THESE STORIES, THEY BELIEVE IT, AND IT'S BEING RETWEETED OVER AND OVER AND OVER. SOMETIMES IT'S LIKE, WELL, IF EVERYONE ELSE IS BELIEVING IT, IT MUST BE TRUE. IT'S LIKE GROUP THINK.

Steve says THE PRODUCER OF THIS SEGMENT WANTED TO REACH OUT AND GET A COMMENT FROM A POLICE SERVICE ABOUT THIS AND HERE'S WHAT THE TORONTO POLICE SERVICE SENT TO US IN RESPONSE TO INQUIRIES...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Toronto Police Service." The quote reads "These conspiracy theories have no impact on our investigative efforts. We have no evidence to support the allegations made and any attention given to these theories only detracts away from meaningful conversation on the issues of human trafficking and/or child exploitation."
Quoted from Meaghan Gray, Manager, Corporate Communications, Toronto Police Service.

Steve says LORNE, SINCE THEY DON'T SEEM TO BE HAVING MUCH OF AN IMPACT ON THE POLICE'S ABILITY TO DO THEIR JOB. SHOULD WE JUST IGNORE THESE FOLKS?

Lorne says WELL, I WOULD LIKE TO SAY WE COULD JUST IGNORE THEM. AND IN CANADA, THANK GOD, REALLY, THE IMPACT HAS BEEN FAR LESS THAN IN THE UNITED STATES. BUT IN THE UNITED KINGDOM, FOR EXAMPLE, IT'S ACTUALLY BECOMING QUITE A SIGNIFICANT FACTOR IN POLITICAL LIFE THERE. AND CANADA, OF COURSE, CAN'T IGNORE WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE UNITED STATES. THE UNITED STATES, BECAUSE OF A SORT OF SOCIAL FACILITATION, A GENERAL LACK OF TRUST IN AUTHORITY, A LACK OF TRUST IN ORGANIZATIONS, IT IS LEADING TO SOME SEVERE PROBLEMS IN TERMS OF PEOPLE NOT WILLING TO BELIEVE WHAT THE POLICE SAY, NOT WILLING TO BELIEVE WHAT THEIR ELECTED OFFICIALS SAY FOR SURE, AND WHAT BUREAUCRATS WILL SAY. SO IT IS A THREAT TO DEMOCRACY IN THE STATES. IN CANADA, IT HASN'T REACHED THAT POINT. HOWEVER, IN SOME ANTIMASKER RALLIES AND IN SOME ANTI-IMMIGRATION SITES, ET CETERA, IN CANADA, QANON MATERIAL AND REFERENCES TO QANON ARE PEERING. I THINK IN CANADA, AS OUR GENERAL STUDIES SHOW, OUR HIGHER LEVEL OF TRUST IN OUR GOVERNMENT AND IN AUTHORITIES AND IN EXPERTISE PROVIDES A GREATER BUFFER HERE FOR US, THANK GOD.

Steve says JULIA, WHAT'S YOUR VIEW ON THAT? WE DO TEND TO HAVE A HIGHER LEVEL OF TRUST IN OUR INSTITUTIONS THAN THEY DO IN THE UNITED STATES. IS THAT PROTECTING US FROM SOME OF THIS?

Julia says UM, IT'S HARD TO SAY. I THINK IT'S ALSO JUST THAT, YOU KNOW, THE QANON CONSPIRACIES ARE REALLY ROOTED IN THE POLITICAL CONTEXT IN THE UNITED STATES, AND THAT'S VERY DIFFERENT HERE IN CANADA. SO ARE WE COMPLETELY IMMUNE TO SIMILAR CONSPIRACY THEORIES IF THEY WERE ACTUALLY RESPONDING TO OUR EXISTING POLITICIANS AND OUR POLITICAL CLIMATE? IT COULD HAVE MORE PICKUP. IT'S REALLY HARD TO SAY. BUT I THINK ONE WAY THAT WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO MANAGE THE IMPACT OF THESE CONSPIRACY THEORIES IS BECAUSE, AGAIN, THEY'RE SO DEEPLY ROOTED IN THE AMERICAN CONTEXT.

Steve says RHONELLE, WHAT KIND OF IMPACT DO YOU THINK THESE CONSPIRACY THEORIES HAVE ON ACTUAL VICTIMS, ACTUAL VICTIMS?

The caption changes to "The damage done."

Rhonelle says YEAH. I THINK IT HAS A REALLY NEGATIVE IMPACT ON VICTIMS BECAUSE THEY'RE ALSO HEARING THESE STORIES. THEY'RE ALSO HEARING THIS IDEA OR THIS NARRATIVE, WHAT HUMAN TRAFFICKING LOOKS LIKE, AND IF THAT'S NOT REFLECTIVE OF THEIR EXPERIENCES, THEN THEY MIGHT BELIEVE THAT THEY'RE NOT BEING TRAFFICKED, THEY'RE NOT BEING VICTIMIZED, BECAUSE THEY WEREN'T KIDNAPPED, BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT PART OF AN INTERNATIONAL CHILD SEX TRAFFICKING RING AND THEREFORE WHAT'S HAPPENING TO THEM CANNOT POSSIBLY BE HUMAN TRAFFICKING. I WOULD SAY THE SAME THING WITH SURVIVORS. SO PEOPLE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND BEEN ABLE TO GET OUT OF IT MIGHT NOT WANT TO REACH OUT AND GO TO SERVICES LIKE THE CANADIAN CENTRE ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING. THEY MIGHT BE HESITANT TO DO THAT BECAUSE THEY THINK THIS WASN'T REALLY HUMAN TRAFFICKING BECAUSE HE WAS MY BOYFRIEND OR THIS WAS MY BEST FRIEND AND SO IT'S NOT WHAT TRAFFICKING LOOKS LIKE, THEREFORE I SHOULDN'T GO AND ACCESS THESE RESOURCES.

Steve says JULIA, I STILL WANT TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE EFFECT OF GIVING LEGITIMACY TO THESE GROUPS DOES ON THE WORK THAT YOU DO AND I MENTIONED EARLIER WE HAD THIS OPEN LETTER THAT TOOK AIM AT A LARGE SWATH OF INFLUENTIAL GROUPS THAT COULD LEND CREDENCE TO THESE CONSPIRACY THEORIES. WE'VE ALREADY SEEN ONE QANON SUPPORTER, A WOMAN BY THE NAME OF MARJORIE GREEN, SHE WON A SEAT FOR THE REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS IN THE LAST ELECTION, AND I WONDER HOW CONCERNED YOU ARE THAT THESE THEORIES ARE GOING TO BE INCREASINGLY SWALLOWED UP BY THE MAINSTREAM?

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Julia says I THINK THAT'S A BIG PART OF OUR JOB IS ABOUT GETTING OUT THERE AND SHARING EVIDENCE AND RESEARCH AND REAL INFORMATION ABOUT HOW HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS PLAYING OUT IN CANADA, AND THAT IS A HUGE PART OF WHAT THE CENTRE DOES. I THINK ALSO, TO THE FIRST PART OF YOUR COMMENT AS WELL, REALLY KIND OF THINKING THROUGH WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BARRIERS TO EXITING ARE FOR SURVIVORS OF SEX TRAFFICKING, AND SPECIFICALLY IT'S ALSO BECAUSE OF THE INTENSE STIGMA THAT'S ASSOCIATED WITH ANY TYPE OF INTERACTION WITH THE COMMERCIAL SEX MARKET, EVEN IF IT'S THROUGH HUMAN TRAFFICKING, BUT ALSO THE CONCERN THAT THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE BELIEVED. AGAIN, THERE'S THIS REALLY INTENSE SENSE, OFTEN INSTILLED THROUGH TRAFFICKERS THROUGH A TRAUMA BOND, THAT THEY DID THIS TO THEMSELVES, THAT IT'S CONSENSUAL. SO IT'S OUR JOB TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE KNOW THIS IS NOT A CRIME, IT IS NOT OKAY, AND PEOPLE ARE ENTITLED TO RESOURCES, SUPPORT, AND ACCESS TO THE JUSTICE SYSTEM.

Steve says LORNE, I DID POINT OUT THAT SOMEBODY GOT ELECTED IN THE UNITED STATES TO CONGRESS, NOT EXACTLY ON A QANON TICKET, BUT CERTAINLY IN SYMPATHY WITH QANON. COULD WE HERE IN CANADA SAY, YEAH, BUT THAT'S DOWN THERE, THAT'S IN THE DEEP SOUTH OF THE UNITED STATES. TO THE BEST OF OUR KNOWLEDGE, NO QANON SUPPORTER HAS BEEN ELECTED TO ANY PARLIAMENT OR LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY IN CANADA. SO WE'RE IN THE CLEAR. SHOULD WE COME TO THAT CONCLUSION?

Lorne says WELL, I WOULDN'T SAY NECESSARILY. I MEAN, I'M NOT SURE THAT THIS IS GOING TO IMPACT THINGS IN TERMS OF SOMEONE WHO IS A DEVOTEE RISING INTO POLITICAL OFFICE. IT CAN CONDITION, OF COURSE, CONSTITUENCIES, RIGHT? IT CAN CONDITION THE PEOPLE BACK IN PEOPLE'S RIDINGS, AND AS A RESULT, YOU KNOW, IF YOU WANT TO BE ELECTED, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO NECESSARILY SPEAK OUT STRONGLY AGAINST CERTAIN VIEWS IF YOU THINK THEY HAVE SOME CREDENCE AMONG A SIGNIFICANT SEGMENT OF THE POPULACE. THAT'S THE CASE I THINK IN THE UNITED STATES. SO WE'RE OFTEN GETTING OUR REPUBLICANS IN PARTICULAR WHO ARE JUST NOT WILLING TO MAKE FLAT-OUT CLEAR STATEMENTS ABOUT QANON ON THE SUSPICION THAT PART OF THEIR CONSTITUENCY SUBSCRIBES TO THESE VIEWS. AND THE PART OF QANON THAT MAKES IT UNIQUE, LIKE ANY CONSPIRACY THEORY, THEY ARE THE HARD CORE BELIEVERS. BUT QANON, BECAUSE OF THE CONDITIONS IN THE STATES, BECAUSE OF THE TRUMP EFFECT, BECAUSE OF SOCIAL MEDIA HAS ACHIEVED A KIND OF WIDER POPULACE AND AUDIENCE THAN IS THE CASE FOR PREVIOUS CONSPIRACY THEORIES. AND IT MEANS IT'S ENTERED INTO THIS NEW GRAY AREA THAT IS PROBLEMATIC, ESPECIALLY FOR POLITICIANS, BECAUSE THEY DON'T REALLY QUITE KNOW WHERE THE BOUNDARIES ARE BETWEEN THE HARDCORE BELIEVERS AND THOSE WHO ARE VOTERS BUT SUBSCRIBE PARTIALLY TO THESE IDEAS.

Steve says JULIA, DO YOU HAVE ANY REASON TO BELIEVE THAT THERE ARE ANY PEOPLE IN HIGH POLITICAL PLACES IN THIS COUNTRY WHO GIVE THIS ORGANIZATION QANON THE TIME OF DAY?

Julia says I HAVE NOT SEEN ANY EVIDENCE OF THAT IN CANADA.

Steve says AND YOU'RE GRATEFUL ABOUT THAT, I PRESUME?

Julia says I AM INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL FOR THAT AND I THINK IT SAYS SOMETHING ABOUT OUR INSTITUTIONS AND OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM, HOPEFULLY.

Steve says RHONELLE, HOW ABOUT YOU? ANY HINTS ON THIS?

Rhonelle says NO, I HAVEN'T SEEN ANYTHING. NOT HERE, NOT IN CANADA, THANKFULLY.

Steve says LORNE, I WANT TO COME BACK TO YOU BECAUSE AS WE INDICATED OFF THE TOP YOU WORK IN THE DEPARTMENT OF RELIGIOUS STUDIES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO AND YOU STUDY NEW RELIGIONS AND I WONDER WHETHER YOU THINK QANON IS IN EFFECT A NEW RELIGION?

The caption changes to "A new religion?"

Lorne says I THINK IT SHARES ELEMENTS THAT ARE IN COMMON WITH NEW RELIGIONS AND NEW MOVEMENTS BECAUSE CLEARLY ARE GETTING ENGAGED WITH THIS ON A MORE THAN JUST KIND OF INTELLECTUAL LEVEL. THIS INVOLVES EMOTIONAL ENGAGEMENT, A COMMITMENT, AND THEY'RE STRUCTURING THEIR WHOLE LIVES AROUND IT. A COLLEAGUE RECENTLY BROUGHT MY ATTENTION TO A REDDIT SITE THAT IS COLLECTING ACCOUNTS FROM FAMILY MEMBERS EXPLAINING HOW THEIR FAMILIES HAVE BEEN DESTROYED, COUPLES HAVE DIVORCED, MOTHERS AND FATHERS AND CHILDREN ARE ALIENATED FROM EACH OTHER BECAUSE OF THE INTENSITY OF THE COMMITMENT OF SOME FAMILY MEMBER TO THE QANON CONSPIRACY THEORY. SO THERE IS A SEGMENT... WE DON'T HAVE DATA. THIS HASN'T REALLY BEEN STUDIED. BUT CLEARLY THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT ARE TURNING OVER, MAYBE UNDER CONDITIONS OF COVID ISOLATION, THEY'RE TURNING OVER THEIR LIVES ALMOST COMPLETELY, YOU KNOW, AROUND THE CLOCK, WATCHING FOR AND LOOKING FOR THE MESSAGES. NOW, A KEY ELEMENT OF QANON TOO IS A PROPHETIC CONE IN THE EVENT, RIGHT? WHAT "Q" IS DOING IS DROPPING THESE CRYPTIC PROPHESIES AND PREDICTIONS AND OF COURSE THAT HAS A VERY RELIGIOUS COMPONENT TO IT, RIGHT? AND HE TALKS ABOUT, TRUST THE PLANS, STAY THE COURSE, YOU KNOW, ENJOY THE SHOW, AND THERE'S ALWAYS A KIND OF APOCALYPTIC COMPONENT UNDERLYING THIS. SO HE'S BUILDING ON EVANGELICAL CULTURE IN THE UNITED STATES AND DRAWING IN THESE RELIGIOUS THEMES. SO THERE ARE RELIGIOUS-LIKE ELEMENTS OF WHAT'S GOING ON BUT IT'S HARD TO SAY IF IT WOULD BE A RELIGION PER SE.

Steve says WE REALLY HAVE NO CLUE AT ALL ABOUT WHO "Q" MIGHT BE?

Lorne says THERE'S BEEN SPECULATION ABOUT CERTAIN GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS. THERE'S BEEN SPECULATION THAT SOME OF THE PEOPLE THAT ARE ACTUALLY QANON SUPPORTERS ONLINE AND ARE KIND OF NOW MAKING A LIVING OFF OF PROMOTING "Q" WITH PRODUCTS MAY ACTUALLY BE "Q," BUT I'VE NOT SEEN ANY EVIDENCE THAT ANYONE HAS A CLEAR IDEA WHO "Q" IS, AND THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY NOW THAT "Q" MAY NOT BE ONE PERSON. IT COULD BE A GROUP OF PEOPLE.

Steve says AND WHETHER IT'S ONE PERSON OR A GROUP OF PEOPLE, DO WE ASSUME THAT THEY'RE MALE AND AMERICAN?

Lorne says WELL, THAT'S THE ASSUMPTION, YES. THAT DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN IT'S SO, RIGHT? THE PLOT COULD GO DEEPER. THEN WE COULD HAVE A CONSPIRACY WITHIN THE CONSPIRACY BECAUSE THIS COULD BE RUSSIAN INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED, RIGHT, OR SOMETHING. IT COULD BE A DISINFORMATION PROGRAM. I HAVEN'T SEEN ANYONE REALLY TALKING ABOUT THAT, THOUGH. I THINK PEOPLE ARE PRETTY CONVINCED IT'S SOMEBODY WITHIN THE UNITED STATES BECAUSE OF THE KIND OF TEXTURE OF THE REFERENCES TO AMERICAN CULTURE THAT ARE COMING OUT IN THE "Q." DROPS.

Steve says GOTCHA. LET'S READ SOMETHING NOW BY A WOMAN NAMED ANNIE KELLY. SHE IS A Ph.D. STUDENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA WHICH IS IN NORWICH, ENGLAND, AND SHE RESEARCHES ON ANTIFEMINISM AND THE FAR RIGHT AND HERE SHE IS WRITING IN THE NEW YORK TIMES. SHE WRITES...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Women for Q!" The quote reads "Just who is a believer in the sprawling, muddled world of QAnon isn't an easy thing to pin down; it's not like following a conspiracy theory requires a registration form. But what seems clear -from the rally, from conversations I've had with other experts and my own research- is that there's something about QAnon that makes it stand out in the world of Trump-adjacent online groups: Its ranks are populated by a noticeably high percentage of women."
Quoted from Annie Kelly, The New York Times. September 10, 2020.

Steve says NOW, LET'S GET INTO THIS. JULIA, WHY WOULD WOMEN BE MORE ATTRACTED THAN MEN TO THESE CONSPIRACY THEORIES?

Julia says THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION. I THINK, YOU KNOW, IN TERMS OF GENERAL EDUCATION AND AWARENESS, I THINK THE ISSUE OF SEX TRAFFICKING IS SOMETHING THAT REALLY RESONATES WITH A LOT OF WOMEN. WE'VE OFTEN IDENTIFIED THAT ONE OF THE BIGGEST RISK FACTORS OF BEING AT RISK OF TRAFFICKING IS BEING A WOMAN OR GIRL IN CANADA, AND THERE'S CLEARLY GENDER DIMENSIONS IN TERMS OF HOW SEX TRAFFICKING TAKES PLACE. SO I THINK IT MAKES SENSE THAT, YOU KNOW, WOMEN ARE REALLY INTERESTED IN THIS ISSUE BECAUSE IT IS A GENDERED ISSUE IN MANY WAYS. WHY THEY'RE CLINGING TO CONSPIRACY THEORIES TO KIND OF UNDERSTAND IT, I'M NOT SURE. I DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT GIVES THEM. PERHAPS THE SIMPLICITY OF BEING ABLE TO EXPLAIN IT, YOU KNOW, IN A CLEAR WAY, WHEN REALLY IT'S VERY COMPLICATED AND IT CAN BE QUITE MUDDLED.

Steve says RHONELLE, ANY THEORIES HERE ON YOUR END?

Rhonelle says I THINK COVID-19 MIGHT PLAY A LITTLE BIT OF A PART AS TO WHY QANON ESPECIALLY RIGHT NOW HAS BEEN SO POPULAR. BECAUSE WE'RE ALL GOING THROUGH THIS GLOBAL PANDEMIC, THERE'S A LOT OF FEAR AND UNCERTAINTY ESPECIALLY WITH CHILDREN ONLINE, FOR SCHOOL FOR SOCIAL NEEDS, QANON AND THAT SEX TRAFFICKING AND HOW HUMAN TRAFFICKING APPS, IT MIGHT BE EASIER ESPECIALLY FOR PARENTS TO DIGEST. THEY'RE CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR CHILDREN AND WHAT'S HAPPENING. NOW THEY KIND OF HAVE... THEY HAVE A BAD GUY. THEY HAVE SOMEONE OUT THERE THAT THEY KNOW IS THE PERPETRATOR, IS THE PREDATOR, WHEN IN REALITY, PARTICULARLY WITH HUMAN TRAFFICKING, IT'S OFTENTIMES SOMEBODY WITHIN THE HOME OR SOMEBODY THAT'S CLOSE TO AND HAS A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE VICTIM THAT IS THE TRAFFICKER.

Steve says LORNE, HOW ABOUT YOU ON THAT?

Lorne says WELL, I THINK WE CAN GENERALIZE A BIT BUT WE LACK SPECIFIC DATA. SO THOSE WHO ARE DRAWN TO CONSPIRACY THEORIES AS SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPERIMENTAL WORK AND SOCIOLOGICAL WORK SHOWS ARE PEOPLE IN A PERIOD OF SWEEPING UPHEAVAL, IN TERMS OF STRUCTURAL CHANGE TO SOCIETY, AND THEY ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE EXPERIENCING IDENTITY UNCERTAINTY AS A RESULT OF THIS. THEY MIGHT BE DOWNWARDLY MOBILE OR THEY'RE FINDING THAT THEIR SIGNIFICANCE IN SOCIETY IS BEING QUESTIONED. SO I THINK IF WE LOOKED AND FOUND THE WOMEN INVOLVED, LIKE THERE HAVE BEEN SOME STUDIES IN THE U.K. ABOUT IT'S GRANNIES THAT ARE INVOLVED IN SUPPORTING U.K. SO IT'S OLDER WOMEN WHO ARE FEELING KIND OF DISPLACED. THAT THEIR TRADITIONAL ROLE OF SIGNIFICANCE IN SOCIETY HAS BEEN DOWNGRADED UNDER KIND OF MODERN CONDITIONS OF CAREER WOMEN, ET CETERA. WE DON'T KNOW THAT BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE DATA. BUT I SUSPECT THE DATA WOULD SHOW THAT EDUCATIONAL LEVELS OF THE WOMEN INVOLVED ARE LOWER, THAT THEY'RE MORE OFTEN HOMEMAKERS OR THINGS OF THIS NATURE AND NOT CAREER WOMEN, AND I'M NOT DENIGRATING HOME MAKERS, I'M MERELY SAYING THAT SOME OF THOSE PEOPLE CAN FEEL THAT THEIR TRADITIONAL ROLE OF RESPECT IN SOCIETY IS DECLINING AND SO THEY'RE SEEKING FOR KNOWLEDGE AND WAYS OF INCREASING THEIR ROLE. ONE IS TO BECOME A CRUSADER FOR THIS CAUSE.

Steve says JULIA, I DON'T WANT TO... WELL, I DON'T WANT TO POOH POOH OBVIOUSLY THE EFFORTS WE'RE MAKING TO DISMISS THESE CONSPIRACY THEORISTS. HOWEVER, ALONG COMES A JEFFREY EPSTEIN WHO IS A VERY RICH AND POWERFUL GUY AND, YOU KNOW, I GUESS THE JURY IS STILL OUT ON THE ROLE THAT ASSOCIATES OF HIS MIGHT HAVE PLAYED IN THE TERRIBLE THINGS THAT HE DID, BUT HE DID SEXUALLY EXPLOIT NUMEROUS YOUNG WOMEN, AND WHEN A CASE LIKE THAT COMES ALONG, I MEAN, PRESUMABLY IT PUTS A LOT OF WIND IN THE SAILS OF PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THESE CONSPIRACIES, NO?

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Julia says I MEAN, IT CAN. BUT WITH THE ME TOO MOVEMENT WE SHOULD REALIZE THE SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF WOMEN CAN BE RAMPANT, RIGHT? IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT... WE SHOULD NOT BE SURPRISED TO SEE THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT ARE EXPLOITING WOMEN SEXUALLY ACROSS NORTH AMERICA, AND REALLY I DON'T SEE WHERE THE CONSPIRACY THEORY PLAYS OUT IN TERMS OF EPSTEIN AND WEINSTEIN. THEY VERY SPECIFICALLY HAD POWER AND INFLUENCE AND THEY USED THAT POWER AND INFLUENCE TO BE ABLE TO EXPLOIT WOMEN. THAT IS SOMETHING THAT I THINK WE'RE REALIZING IS MORE COMMONPLACE THAN WE'D LIKE IT TO BE IN CANADA.

Steve says OKAY. LET'S PIVOT OUR DISCUSSION HERE TO A SEGMENT WE CALL BUSTING MYTHS AND TO THAT END WE HAVE SOME STATS ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO. FROM ONTARIO'S ANTI-HUMAN TRAFFICKING STRATEGY. HERE WE GO.

A slate appears on screen, with the title "Human trafficking in Ontario."

Bullet points read "Average age of recruitment is 13 years old.
70 percent of victims are under 25 years old.
Two thirds of human trafficking cases in Canada occur in Ontario."

Steve says NOW RHONELLE MAYBE START US OFF THIS. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MYTHS ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO DISPEL FOR US THIS IS EVENING.

The caption changes to "Busting myths."

Rhonelle says WELL I THINK ONE OF THEY MAJOR MYTHS AGAIN IS THAT SOMEONE IS BEING KIDNAPED, IT'S A STRANGER DANGER. SOMEBODY IS GOING TO KIDNAP A YOUNG PERSON AND THEN TRAFFIC THEM. LIKE I SAID BEFORE IT'S TYPICALLY SOMEONE THAT YOU KNOW. OFTEN TIMES IT'S A BOYFRIEND IT'S A BEST FRIEND IT CAN BE A PARENT. IT'S A VERY RELATIONAL CRIME, SO THE TRAFFICKERS WILL TAKE THE TIME TO BUILD A RELATIONSHIP WITH THERE VICTIM. WILL GO THROUGH STAGES OF EXPLOITATION. THEY WILL LOWER THEM, GROOM THEM THEY WILL CREATE THAT BOND AND THAT TRUST, AND THAT IS HOW THEY ARE ABLE TO EXPLOIT THEM.

Steve says JULIA ANYTHING TO ADD TO THAT LIST.

Julia says THIS IS AN ISSUE OF FOREIGN FOLKS OR MIGRANTS COMING INTO CANADA AND BEING SMUGGLED INTO CANADA FOR THE PURPOSES OF SEX TRAFFICKING. PEOPLE OFTEN CONFLATE SMUGGLING WITH SEX TRAFFICKING VERY DIFFERENT THINGS AND YOU DON'T NEED TO CROSS A BORDER TO EXPERIENCE TRAFFICKING. SO AGAIN THIS IS A DOMESTIC ISSUE AND THIS AN ISSUE TAKING PLACE AMONGST CANADIANS AND CANADIAN RESIDENCE AND FOLKS FROM ALL BACKGROUNDS.

Steve says WHAT DO YOU THINK LET'S GO AROUND OUR VIRTUAL TABLE ON THIS ONE. LORNE, START US OFF HERE. FOR PEOPLE WHO DO SPREAD THESE BASELESS CONSPIRACY THEORIES AND MAKE THE GENUINE WORK THAT YOU'RE ALL TRYING TO DO MUCH MORE DIFFICULT, HOW SHOULD WE TREAT THOSE PEOPLE? WHAT SHOULD WE DO ABOUT THEM? LORNE, YOU START.

The caption changes to "How to help."

Lorne says THIS IS A DIFFICULT ONE. I MEAN, WHAT WE REALLY NEED TO DO IS IN PART WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA IS STARTING TO DO, WHICH IS YOU JUST HAVE TO STOP GIVING THEM A PLATFORM AND IGNORE THEM IN A WAY WE'RE GIVING MEDIA ATTENTION TO THEM. THIS IS THE CONUNDRUM YOU GET IN ALMOST ALL THEE FIELDS OF STUDY, THAT IN TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING YOU'RE ACTUALLY MAYBE GIVING MORE SIGNIFICANCE TO IT THAN IT WARRANTS. SOMEHOW YOU'VE GOT TO FIND THAT RIGHT MIDDLE GROUND WHERE WE WARN ABOUT THIS AND DRAW PEOPLE'S ATTENTION TO IT BUT NOT OVERLY GLORIFY THE PROCESS. I MEAN, A LOT OF THE PEOPLE THAT ARE INVOLVED IN QANON, IT'S BECAUSE IT PROVIDES A CHARGE OF SATISFACTION FROM BEING ON THE CUTTING EDGE OF WHAT THEY THINK IS NEW IDEAS, NEW MATERIAL, SECRETIVE IDEAS. SO THE MORE WE CAN KIND OF MAKE IT RIDICULOUS TO BELIEVE IN THESE THINGS, PROBLEMATIC TO BELIEVE IN THESE THINGS... YOU'RE NOT GOING TO HIT THE HARDCORE BUT YOU'RE GOING TO PEEL AWAY THE PERIPHERAL MEMBERS THAT ARE ATTRACTED TO A FAD. THAT'S WHAT'S GIVING THIS OXYGEN RIGHT NO YOU IN TERMS OF MEDIA ATTENTION.

Steve says I TAKE YOUR POINT ON THAT. LET ME FOLLOW UP WITH JULIA HERE. I GUESS PART OF THE DIFFICULTY IS, IF WE DON'T HAVE THESE CONVERSATIONS, PEOPLE ARE GOING TO READ ABOUT THESE IDEAS ON FACEBOOK AND MANY PEOPLE ARE GOING TO TAKE THEM TO HEART AND BELIEVE THEM, AND IF THERE'S NO COMPETING INFORMATION IN WHICH TO TELL PEOPLE, LOOK, THIS IS A BUNCH OF GARBAGE AND YOU NEED TO KNOW THAT, THEY WILL BELIEVE IT. SO WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT THE FOLKS WHO ARE TRYING TO SPREAD THIS STUFF?

Julia says SO WE TAKE AN APPROACH OF FOCUSING ON EDUCATION AWARENESS WITHOUT GOING HEAD-ON AGAINST QANON, RIGHT? SO WE ARE WORKING CONSTANTLY AT TRYING TO BUILD OUT RESEARCH AND TO SHARE INFORMATION AND TO BUILD AWARENESS ABOUT THIS ISSUE WITHOUT NECESSARILY IMPINGING ON THE QANON CONSPIRACY THEORIES. AGAIN, WE TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO ENGAGE WITH THOSE FOLKS AND SHARE INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT'S REALLY TAKING PLACE. WE HAVE CHOSEN NOT TO GIVE A LOT OF AIRSPACE TO QANON, BUT WE ARE WORKING TO DISPEL THOSE MYTHS AND BUILD BETTER EDUCATION AROUND HUMAN TRAFFICKING EVERY DAY.

The caption changes to "For more information: 1-833-900-1010."

Steve says RHONELLE, IS THERE ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR YOU CAN THINK OF THAT WE SHOULD BE DOING TO PEOPLE WHO WANT TO SPREAD THESE THEORIES?

Rhonelle says WELL, I DON'T KNOW ABOUT TO PEOPLE WHO ARE SPREADING THEM. TO ME IT'S A TEACHABLE MOMENT. IF SOMEBODY COMES TO ME WITH SOME SORT OF STORY OF SOME CONSPIRACY, THEN IT'S AN OPPORTUNITY TO TALK TO THEM ABOUT HOW TRAFFICKING HAPPENS, IT'S AN OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE THEM INFORMATION. SO I THINK THERE IS SOME POSITIVES THAT HAVE COME OUT OF IT IF PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND THAT'S NOT SOMETHING WE USED TO DO. JUST THE FACT WE'RE HAVING THIS CONVERSATION HERE TODAY IS AN EXAMPLE OF THERE'S MORE AWARENESS, THERE'S MORE EDUCATION ABOUT HUMAN TRAFFICKING GOING ON, THIS IS GOING TO HELP PARENTS, COMMUNITY PEOPLE, YOUNG PEOPLE, AND IT'S GOING TO HELP SUPPORT SURVIVORS. SO THERE DEFINITELY IS SOME POSITIVES EVEN AMONGST ALL THESE CONSPIRACY THEORIES.

Steve says LORNE, I'M JUST WONDERING, THOUGH, IF THE LONG ARM OF THE LONG CAN BE BROUGHT TO BEAR HERE. AT THE VERY LEAST WHAT THESE GROUPS ARE DOING IS MISCHIEVOUS. AT THE MOST, AT THE OTHER END OF THE CONTINUUM, IT'S POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS, EVEN FATAL. SO IS THERE SOMETHING THE LAW CAN DO HERE?

Lorne says I DON'T SEE MUCH RIGHT NOW. I MEAN, OF COURSE THIS IS THE CONUNDRUM IN OUR SOCIETIES. WE HAVE QUITE JUSTIFIABLY A VERY STRONG COMMITMENT TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, ESPECIALLY WITH VIEWS THAT HAVE A POLITICAL ELEMENT TO THEM, SO I DON'T THINK WE'D WANT TO BRING THE LAW IN. I DON'T THINK THE LAW WOULD BE INTERESTED IN BEING INVOLVED. IF THEY CROSSED OVER TO TARGETING SPECIFIC GROUPS OR ORGANIZATIONS AND IMPLYING THAT SOME KIND OF VIOLENT RESPONSE WAS APPROPRIATE, THEN HATE CRIME INCIDENCE AND LEGISLATION TO START TO KICK IN IN A CERTAIN WAY. BUT I DON'T THINK IT'S REALLY ARISEN TO THE POINT OF A LEGAL SITUATION, BEYOND THE FACT THAT THERE ARE INDIVIDUALS ON THE FAR RIGHT IN CANADA THAT ARE HARKENING TO THESE IDEAS THAT ARE ALREADY INVOLVED IN A KIND OF VIOLENT EXTREMIST CULTURE, AND THEY ARE BEING MONITORED BY OUR AUTHORITIES, AND SO THERE'S A SENSE THAT THERE'S A HEIGHTENED AWARENESS THAT WHEN YOU START TO SEE THESE QANON IDEAS SPREADING IN THESE COMMUNITIES, THEN MORE ATTENTION SHOULD BE PAID PERHAPS TO THOSE INDIVIDUALS, JUST IN TERMS OF MONITORING THEM AND BEING VIGILANT.

The caption changes to "Producer: Colin Ellis, @ColinEllis81."

Steve says UNDERSTOOD. LET'S THANK LORNE DAWSON FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO, JULIA DRYDYK FROM THE CANADIAN CENTRE TO END HUMAN TRAFFICKING, AND RHONELLE DRYDYK, WHO IS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF PROJECT IRICE. I WANT TO THANK ALL OF YOU FOR BEING ON THE PROGRAM TONIGHT. WE HAVE RIGHT THERE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SCREEN FOR MORE INFORMATION THE 1-800 NUMBER FOR JULIA'S ORGANIZATION SO IF PEOPLE HAVE FURTHER QUESTIONS, THEY CAN CALL AND GET THE STRAIGHT GOODS. THANKS, YOU THREE.

Lorne says GREAT. THANK YOU, STEVE.

Rhonelle says THANK YOU.

Julia says THANK YOU.

Watch: Fighting the Spread of Child-Trafficking Conspiracies