Recently, Justice Colin McKinnon ruled that mandatory minimum sentences for two sex offences should not apply in the case of a “naïve and unsophisticated pimp who unwillingly recruited and photographed two under age prostitutes”. (Here’s the article)
At Voice Found, we are a survivor led organization that supports countless numbers of victims of human trafficking and exploitation in Eastern Ontario. Many of our clients are under the age of 16. As persons with lived experience, we are deeply saddened and angered by this decision. There is no such thing as an underage prostitute. All minors involved in sex work are victims of sexual exploitation and should be treated and spoken of as such.
As we evolve and our justice system changes, so do the manipulation tactics used by pimps to control and sell victims of exploitation. Justice Collin McKinnon’s decision has paved the way for traffickers to further manipulate their victims into telling our justice system that their abuser did not know of their young age and that they were treated very nicely by the accused.
Our system does not protect our children. Decisions such as this is why it is so hard for victims to come forward. The only “irreparable damage“ that has been done is to the future of these young girls and to the future of the many other young girls who will be exploited.
Finally, we commend the work that the Ottawa Police and the Ottawa Police Human Trafficking team do to fight this crime. These were not ‘exaggerated police claims’ – these are police identifying minors being sexually exploited.