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Human trafficking the topic of upcoming meeting

Human trafficking is the fastest-growing and most lucrative criminal enterprise in Canada, according to a group dedicated to battling it, and an event on April 26 in Abbotsford aims to heighten awareness to the issue.

"It is estimated that traffickers in Canada make an average of $280,000 per year per victim because demand is so high for trafficked women," said Joy Smith, of the Joy Smith Foundation.

A breakfast meeting, which starts at 8:30 a.m., will happen at Garden Park Towers on Clearbrook Road, and will feature talks from Smith and Abbotsford Police Department Chief Bob Rich.

Smith was a former teacher in Winnipeg and is now known across Canada as an anti-human trafficking advocate. The Kildonan-St. Paul MP presented Bill C-268 in 2010 to the Canadian Parliament, which was adopted. This created a new criminal offence for child trafficking with tough minimum sentences.

She also successfully put forward C-310 in 2012 which extends extraterritorial jurisdiction to Canada's human trafficking laws.

Smith founded the foundation in October 2012. It works to ensure that all Canadians are safe from manipulation, force or abuse of power designed to lure and exploit them into the sex trade or forced labour. Already, the foundation has provided funds to secret safe houses which care for human trafficked victims all across Canada.

Tickets to the breakfast can be purchased by visiting joysmithfoundation.com or by calling Brad Vis at 778-808-9602.

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