Ending Violence

In Canada, Indigenous women and girls and 2SLGBTQQIA individuals are among the most at-risk to be victims of violence, human trafficking and sexual exploitation (Government of BC, 2014).

Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, and harbouring of a person by means of threat, manipulation, or abduction, with the objective of gaining control over that person for the purpose of exploitation.

Sexual exploitation is the sexual abuse of people through the exchange of sex or sexual acts for food, shelter, and other basic human needs.

The BC Friendship Centres Action Plan to End Violence Against Aboriginal Women and Girls (2014) and the resulting prevention workshop, Our Spirits Are Not For Sale, is a part of our ongoing commitment to provide advocacy, advisement, and action to end violence.

Our Spirits Are Not For Sale (OSNFS)

The Prevention of the Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Indigenous Youth in BC

Since the beginning of the Our Spirits Are Not For Sale initiative, there has been two national evaluations: MMIWG and The Way Forward to End Human Trafficking in Canada (Public Safety Canada, 2018).

The Our Spirits Are Not For Sale workshop was developed using primary research collected by the BCAAFC as part of the 2014 action plan. Research included dialog sessions in Northern BC communities near the Highway of Tears.

Youth, Elders, RCMP, school districts, and local organizations participated in dialogue sessions.

A large portion of the youth surveyed were aware of trafficking and exploitation happening in their community; or believed that there was a high risk of their peers experiencing trafficking and exploitation. Group discussions with youth who have experienced homelessness revealed experiences of a culture of exploitation and sexual violence that was not widely known by other community members.

Youth identified the following as reasons their peers are vulnerable to trafficking and sexual exploitation:

  • Wanting to feel accepted.
  • Wanting to feel cared for or loved.
  • Low self-esteem due to racism; lateral violence; and systemic issues.
  • Need to escape family violence.
  • Need for shelter.
Advocating Against Violence

Educating youth and connecting them with resources for support is an important part of empowering them to protect themselves and others. When youth have a deeper understanding of the realities of trafficking and sexual exploitation and the strategies that perpetrators use to lure their victims, they can identify and prevent high-risk situations and connect their peers to resources for support.

Download the following resources to host an Our Spirits Are Not For Sale prevention workshop in your community:

Please contact us to share your stories, ask questions, and provide feedback: nishkinwa@gmail.com

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG)

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was launched in September 2016 to gather evidence for an examination on the systemic causes of all forms of violence against Indigenous women and girls and 2SLGBTQQIA individuals in Canada.

The National Inquiry covers cases of women and girls who were missing and murdered, as well as those who died under suspicious circumstances. In this way, the inquiry addresses issues in sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence, bullying, harassment, suicide, and self-harm.

The vision of the inquiry is to build a foundation that allows Indigenous women and girls to reclaim their power and place.

This movement is honouring the lives of Indigenous women and girls who have been victims of violence, those who have passed and survivors, through the gathering of information; public education; and creating a living legacy through commemoration and artistic expressions.

The BCAAFC applauds this important work. May we work together to bring awareness to the devastating reality of this violence and to identify gaps in prevention and justice. And use this education to honour victims and their families and protect our women and girls now and in the future.