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Thunder Bay Airport Allies with #NotInMyCity to Raise Awareness about Human Trafficking in Aviation

August 24, 2022

Thunder Bay Airport Allies with #NotInMyCity to Raise Awareness about Human Trafficking in Aviation

THUNDER BAY, ON, Aug. 24, 2022 /CNW/ – The Thunder Bay International Airport is pleased to share that it has partnered with #NotInMyCity to educate and raise stakeholder and community awareness regarding human trafficking in aviation within Canada.

#NotInMyCity is a facilitative organization that is raising awareness and taking collective action to prevent, disrupt and end sexual exploitation and trafficking, focusing on children and youth. In the transport sector, #NotInMyCity is a leading partner who is helping address human trafficking across sectors and geographic areas.

The Thunder Bay Airport will implement an e-learning and awareness program. The purpose of the program is to:

  • Provide all airport employees and stakeholders with knowledge and awareness about sexual exploitation and human trafficking in Canada with #NotInMyCity’s aviation-focused e-learning platform. Members of the public are invited to learn more about the issue by taking a free e-learning course found at notinmycity.ca.

  • Allow airport employees to understand the signs of human trafficking, and know what to do if they suspect trafficking.

  • Implement informational signage and materials throughout the airport for all stakeholders and travelling public.

  • Report any and all signs of human trafficking, without causing harm.

“We are thrilled that the Thunder Bay Airport reached out to us for our support,” says Kris Carlson, Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking. The Coalition started in 2018 and is a cross-sectoral partnership that works collaboratively to address the issue of human trafficking, specifically in the Thunder Bay area. “We are happy to support and offer local resources to the Thunder Bay Airport alongside #NotInMyCity.”

Human trafficking and sexual exploitation are the fastest-growing crimes in Canada and are the second largest source of illegal income worldwide. In Canada, 21 percent of trafficking victims are under the age of 18. While making up only 4 percent of the country’s population, 50 percent of Canada’s trafficking victims are Indigenous people.

“Supporting the victims of human trafficking should be our collective focus,” says Detective Inspector Jeremy Pearson. “The ability to identify potential human trafficking victims and then share this information is a critical step to protect vulnerable persons. The Thunder Bay Police Service supports this public safety initiative.”

According to the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking1, transportation corridors are frequently used by traffickers, and once a victim has been recruited, traffickers will often move them from city to city to maximize profits, access new markets and avoid competition. It also helps keep control of the victim who may not know where they are or how to get help, making it easier for traffickers to evade detection by police. Victims of labour trafficking may also enter Canada by way of air travel, under the false promise of a job or educational opportunity.

“Joining the growing mobilization against human trafficking is simply the right thing to do,” according to Ed Schmidtke, President & CEO of the Thunder Bay Airport Authority. “We appreciate the immediate response received from frontline security and airline staff to educate themselves on the potential warning signs of human trafficking. Together we know we can make a difference.”

#NotInMyCity offers an interactive e-learning course for anyone interested in learning more about the issue of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Canada. It was developed in collaboration with national and international thought leaders. Upon completion of the free 30-minute e-course, participants are awarded a certificate. Thousands of individuals have completed the course so far.

In Thunder Bay, anyone can call the local human trafficking unit at 807-684-1239 if they believe they witnessing or are experiencing human trafficking or sexual exploitation. If anyone is in immediate danger, it is recommended to call 9-1-1.