CALGARY, Alberta (LifeSiteNews) — An Alberta organization is working to prevent human trafficking across the province.
In an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews, Sr. Paula Mullen of the Faithful Companions of Jesus explained how her newly founded organization, Human Trafficking Education for Prevention, works to save vulnerable Canadians, Indigenous, and immigrants from being trafficked.
Discovering a calling to protect the most vulnerable
According to Mullen, she began working to prevent human trafficking in southern Bolivia after she began to hear rumors of children disappearing.
“A particular case sent chills up my spine,” she recalled. “A little girl (about 6 years old) accepted a ride from two strangers who said that her mom had sent them. They took her to a house where there were a number of other children.”
“Suddenly the two men began to argue, and, taking advantage of the furor, the child escaped, ran to the street and took the hand of a woman who was passing by. She was eventually taken to the police station and returned to her mother,” Mullen continued. “The traffickers escaped.”
As a result, Mullen began learning about human trafficking, inspiring her to work to protect vulnerable women and children.
“Upon my return to my home country Canada in 2022, I was amazed to discover that many, if not most Canadians knew very little about the trafficking which was happening here ‘under our noses’ so to speak,” she said.
“So once again I invited collaborators and we set up an anti-trafficking group in Calgary, with the specific aim of reaching more isolated communities, groups of people such as foreign migrant workers, and segments of the population which were still uninformed and hence unprotected,” Mullen explained.
Based in Calgary, Human Trafficking Education for Prevention works to educate Canadians on the dangers of human trafficking by distributing educational leaflets and working with school systems expose the human trafficking system.
“Gradually we made contact with First Nation communities in southern Alberta and the foreign migrant workers who travel north each year from Mexico to work in the sugar beet harvests, the large greenhouses, and the Feed Lots near Lethbridge (S. Alta.),” she outlined. “We contacted the Catholic Separate Schools in Lethbridge and also in Calgary – in particular the Indigenous Services of these School systems.”
Why human trafficking has become a global crisis
According to Mullen, there sadly are not a lack of “clients” for the victims of human trafficking. She explained that “[o]ne factor is the easy access to pornography which dehumanizes and presents girls/women/even children as sex objects and not as persons.”
“The economic benefits make human trafficking as lucrative in the world as are the arms trade and drug trafficking,” she continued. “You can only sell an item of merchandise once, but a trafficker can ‘rent out’ a woman’s body many times each day.”
Additionally, human trafficking is a “‘hidden crime’ which occurs behind closed doors (eg. in brothels, in clandestine factories/sweat shops, in kitchens of restaurants, on construction sites, on farms, etc.) making the traffickers difficult to arrest.”
According to Mullen, “corruption among law enforcement personnel, and among the accomplices in the human trafficking network makes capture and processing of criminals very difficult.”
As LifeSiteNews previously reported, reports within the Indigenous communities reveal that every few weeks a new poster goes up announcing the search for another Indigenous woman who has gone missing. While some women willingly leave the reserves and move to cities without telling their families and friends, many simply disappear without a trace.
According to a 2017 report from Statistics Canada, Indigenous women and girls are murdered and go missing at a disproportionately high rate compared to non-Indigenous women.
Indigenous women make up 10 percent of the total population of missing women in Canada despite only being 5 percent of the population.
However, the government’s statistics are thought to be inaccurate, meaning that the actual number is likely much higher.
In August, Alberta Premier Danielle announced that the province is dedicating $4 million over two years to create an Alberta Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons.
Recent awareness and dedication to ending human trafficking is predominantly a result of the blockbuster movie Sound of Freedom.
Canceled by mainstream media, the movie exposes the underground world of human trafficking and inspires all viewers to work to free children and women from a life of abuse.
Asked what everyday citizens can do to help eradicate child-sex trafficking, the film’s producer and star, Eduardo Verástegui, and the movie’s distributor, Neal Harmon, both gave LifeSiteNews the same one-word answer: “Prayer.”
“The power of prayer is real. And if someone’s willing to get on their knees, and pray with love and listen, that exchange will bring to one’s mind what they can do with their own skills, [within] their circle of influence, [and with] their own resources,” Harmon said. “There will be a tailored action for every single person.”
Similar to Verástegui, Mullen declared, “Hopefully, with God’s help, we will all work together to combat this most terrible crime. Many victims never recover from the damage done to them physically, psychologically and spiritually by years of being debased, used, and abused.”
“Let us keep the victims in our prayers and do all in our power to prevent others from falling into the trap,” she added.