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Blue Blindfold takes aim at 'disturbing' human trafficking

OTTAWA - The federal government is teaming up with the Mounties and Crime Stoppers to raise awareness about human trafficking.

OTTAWA - The federal government is teaming up with the Mounties and Crime Stoppers to raise awareness about human trafficking.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says Crime Stoppers will join his department and the RCMP to tell people about human trafficking and how to report suspicious activity.

Toews, speaking at a news conference in Winnipeg, said the "Blue Blindfold" campaign will help Canadians fight a ''disturbing" crime.

He said victims of human trafficking are often coerced into working for the criminals who bring them into the country.

''Victims are forced, often through violence and threats, to provide their services or labour because of their fear of their safety or that of someone else,'' he said.

''The majority are forced to work in the sex industry and are led to a life of exploitation, deprived of basic human rights. Most are women and children and their cases often go unnoticed and unreported due to threats from offenders, language barriers or mistrust of authorities.''

''By exposing the reality of this terrible crime to the light of day, Canadians can better recognize and report evidence of criminal activity."

The RCMP Human Trafficking National Co-ordination Centre will also run its own "I'm Not for Sale" awareness campaign.

The Mounties have put together a human trafficking information kit for police, governments, non-governmental organizations and the public.

Sgt. Marie-Claude Arsenault of the RCMP co-ordination centre said it's important to enlist the help of the public.

''Our partnership with Crime Stoppers allows people to anonymously report the abuse and be assured that the information will be communicated to the police."

The campaigns come in the wake of the arrival of a Tamil refugee ship off the West Coast and warnings that more ships could be on the way.

 
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