Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Human Trafficking in Vancouver, B.C.

Jung Park, a Korean national, was one of seven women deported last month following a raid of what immigration officers called a "residential massage parlour with heavy traffic."

They're called microbrothels, and they may be coming to a neighbourhood near you.They're run out of houses, condos and apartment buildings in residential neighbourhoods. They use Asian women, some of whom are in the country illegally.They're highly mobile operations that, at any sign of trouble, can shut down on a moment's notice and rise like a phoenix in another location.

These elusive operations are bringing the sex trade to new neighbourhoods, angering advocacy groups who link them to human trafficking, and frustrating police, who claim they don't have the resources to fight them.

Richmond RCMP raided four brothels in downtown apartment buildings -- all employing Malaysians in Canada on visitors' visas -- between 1998 and 2000.RCMP and police suggest that much of this is related to organized criminal networks that operate here and in Asia.

An RCMP intelligence report obtained by The Vancouver Sun through Access to Information legislation says trafficking is orchestrated by internationally networked criminal groups and mostly involves the sex trade. It adds: "Women purchased into the slave trade for between $15,000 to $30,000 are required to work off these amounts to gain back their freedom."

Source: Vancouver Sun.