WATCH: Concerned citizen helps Brant police rescue a teen victim of human trafficking
A watchful eye
Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) of Brant County responded to a call at around 9:35 am on Saturday, July 24. The owner of a small business on Rest Acres Road in Paris, Ontario, called to report some suspicious activity.
The owner of a small business thought the morning would be just like any other. He started to open his shop for the day and then noticed something strange. A pickup truck was parked directly in front of his store. After a few minutes later, he also saw two young men and a girl. One of the men came into the store to buy cigarettes, saying he was from Toronto and in a hurry. The store’s owner noted that the three people looked out of place for the time of day, as he knows most of the customers who live in the area. That’s when he called the police.
The suspects left before the police arrived. With the help of the store owner, police were able to track down the suspects, still nearby. Police charged two Toronto-area men, 19-year-old Brampton resident Sackie Gibson and 24-year-old Scarborough resident Julian Giedroyc, with trafficking a minor and failure to comply with a release order. Thanks to the quick thinking of this concerned citizen, a 17-year-old girl was saved from human trafficking. She’s now connected with community resources for support.
Human trafficking on the rise
The province of Ontario had the most reported incidents of human trafficking in all of Canada in 2019. Of the reports, 21% of the victims were under 18 years old. Human trafficking is defined as recruiting, transporting or harboring a person in order to exploit them. Rural areas don’t see as many cases of human trafficking as urban areas, but it does happen. When it happens in rural areas, it’s usually through online recruitment of locals or people passing through on their way from one big city to another.
Ontario has announced it will start investing more money into community programs to combat human trafficking and youth violence in general. The idea is to help youth, particularly at-risk populations, get the support they need to make healthy choices.
The adaptability of first responders
First responders start every day on the job with the goal of helping others. They see the good in what they do and are wholly committed to their communities.
By being able to adapt to any situation, first responders are quick to assess situations and determine what's needed. First Responders put themselves out there for the citizens of the community where they serve.
First responders are always up to the task of learning the new skills necessary to keep people safe. Regardless of which particular uniform they wear, learning new skills is vital for staying relevant in the field. The idea is that every new skill can save time and ultimately save lives.
It is a self-sacrificing job, being a first responder. They have to give up time with their families and often work non-traditional hours in the service of the citizens of their communities.
The first-responder community has many similarities to the military community, as both groups deal with intense situations. This leads them to a special type of camaraderie with others in the field.