RCMP believe some Inuit parents in Nunavut sell children to pimps, human traffickers

RCMP believe some Inuit parents in Nunavut sell children to pimps, human traffickers (Source: APTN)


Nunavut regions map_Wikimedia Commons

No one wants to believe that human trafficking is happening in their communities. What's more, no one wants to believe that parents in their communities would sell their children.

So let's take a pause here and line up what we know:

1. Human trafficking occurs in every country in the world. Canada is not exempt.

2. Parents sell their children everyday into human trafficking for a variety of reasons.

3. The article makes NO reference to CHARGES LAID against suspected parents. It sounds like evidence is being gathered in what appears to be an in-depth investigation, but until well-founded charges are laid (should they need to be) and turn into convictions, it is "innocent until proven guilty".

I realize the need for people across Canada's many people groups to be aware of what trafficking looks like, sounds like, acts like and lives like. However, it bodes well for all when we ask critical questions of the articles we read. It was well-written, but I do believe there are more questions to be asked before coming to conclusions.

I would like to return to #2, if I may.

Nunavut has long been known to be a place of low-density population, but high in economic poverty, social resources deficits, and suicide rates. It is not an easy climate to live in geographically — it can be isolated, cold, and demanding on the human body and human communities. Add the racial stigma still prevelant towards Inuit peoples — one of the First People Groups of Canada — and easily drawn conclusions and incorrect assumptions can get out of control.

With this information in mind, perhaps we can begin to understand the machinations behind human trafficking, the first and foremost being poverty. When desparation sets in and you cannot see a way out of your present circumstance, you would do almost anything to keep the ones you love from dying a slow death. 

If not desperation, then its evil twin — fatalism — sets in: "My life will never change. My parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and all my friends live like this. It will never change. Maybe it could change for my children."

Put the twins together and there's a massive recipe for vulnerability. When recruiters enter a community (ANY community) with large amounts of money to burn, the offers of good schools, or employment opportunities, or travel, or whatever deception suddenly sound extremely tempting… even if deep down you know something is not quite right.

Make no mistake: selling children into prostitution at any time is wrong. 

However before we become judge, jury and executioner on the parents of Nunavut, we need to make ourselves aware of what's going on in Nunavut that would promote the allegations of trafficking; we need to understand how parents the world over could ever sell their children and why (and ask ourselves honestly if we would act any differently if we were in the same situations); and we need to take vested interest in how traffickers are potentially manipulating vulnerable people groups for personal gain. 

And while we know that the trafficking element, should that prove to be accurate, needs to be dealt with, it will never change unless the underlying issues of poverty, isolation, economic disparity and racial discrimination are dealt with. The way I read this report is that trafficking is appearing to be more of a symptom of deeper issues. Until we are loving and brave enough to face these issues alongside our brothers and sisters in Nunavut, we will continue to treat trafficking symptomatically. The despair and desparation will continue, and the cycle will remain unbroken.

Mike Beaureguard_Amadjuak Bay, Nunavut_Creative Commons

"Amadjuak Bay, Nunavut"_Mike Beauregard_Creative Commons


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