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Girls & Women

Woman Forced into Sex with More Than 10 Men in Trafficking Case, Police Say

One woman and three teenage suspects have been arrested in connection to a human trafficking investigation, Calgary police announced on Wednesday.

On Dec. 13, the alleged victim ran into a store in Calgary and said she had been held against her will in an apartment across the street for five days before escaping.

While confined, the victim said she was forced to perform sexual acts with over 10 men for money that was later taken by the suspects, according to the Calgary police press release.

Take Action: Test Your Knowledge: Gender-Based Violence

The victim met a male suspect in the lobby of the building and she was led upstairs, assaulted, and forcibly confined, according to the police investigation.

Approximately 25 million people were victims of human trafficking worldwide in 2017, according to Human Rights First.

But identifying victims and prosecuting perpetrators is difficult across the world. In the US, for instance, the National Human Trafficking Hotline found that 7,500 cases of human trafficking were reported in 2016 but only 439 traffickers were convicted in 2016.

Read More: Students' Secret Notes Uncover Child Marriage and Sex Trafficking in India

Canadian police services reported 206 violations of human trafficking in Canada in 2014, but the RCMP Criminal Intelligence estimated in the past that hundreds of thousands of people are trafficked within Canada each year.

From 2005 to 2014, there were only 53 completed adult criminal court cases involving human trafficking in Canada, and most of them resulted in a finding of stayed or withdrawn, according to a report by Statistics Canada.

Reliable data is difficult to collect on human trafficking as it is purposefully hidden.

Read More: Sex Trafficking Is on the Rise in West Virginia Due to This Growing Problem

The Calgary police news release indicated that Jessica Nyome Louise Vinje, 29, was taken into custody on Dec. 22 and charged with one count each of human trafficking, material benefit – human trafficking, sexual assault, unlawful confinement, voyeurism and assault.

Police said the three teenagers involved in this case were also taken into custody and charged:

A 16-year-old male was charged with one count each of human trafficking, material benefit – human trafficking, sexual assault, unlawful confinement, voyeurism, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, pointing a firearm and uttering threats.

Read More: ‘Devious’ Nail Bar Owner Jailed for Forcing Trafficked Girls into Slavery in Britain

A 17-year-old female was charged with one count each of human trafficking, material benefit – human trafficking, sexual assault, unlawful confinement, voyeurism and assault.

A 17-year-old male was charged with one count each of human trafficking, material benefit – human trafficking, sexual assault, unlawful confinement and voyeurism.

This Calgary case is but one of many disturbing cases of human trafficking from around the world. In fact, it was reported this week that sex trafficking is on the rise in West Virginia as a result of the opioid epidemic, and a nail bar owner was just jailed in the UK for forcing trafficked girls into slavery.

Global Citizen campaigns on ending slavery and sex trafficking and on ensuring that women and girls have access to equal opportunities around the world. You can take action here.