“Human Trafficking is not a partisan issue of right and left but rather a critical question of right and wrong” – Benjamin Perrin, Invisible Chains: Canada’s Underground World of Human Trafficking
I remember attending the launch of Invisible Chains in Winnipeg in 2010. I recall the experience as educational as well as a harsh slap in my face. Hearing Dr. Perrin speak on human trafficking as a scourge rotting Canadian society changed the way I saw my life in the grand scheme of things.
When Dr. Perrin talks, we listen. When he writes, we are forced to see beyond the words on the white page. His meticulous attention to details and facts, his commanding style and his commitment to changing Canada and its policies are what makes Invisible Chains the most compelling and eye-opening information on human trafficking that I have ever read.
The book leaves no stone unturned. Canada’s “apathy” is compared to what has been achieved in other countries, bringing to light the lack of communication between government entities, the RCMPs and NGOs. The last two bodies often have to fight a wall of misunderstanding when it comes to saving victims or sentencing human traffickers appropriately. Canada has not only missed the point, but it has also contributed to creating a favorable breeding ground for a national catastrophe that affects thousands of foreign and Canadian children and women. Despite some dedicated activists like Member of Parliament Joy Smith, there is still a long way to go.
The stories of victims are heart-rending. “The Criminal Code’s definition of human trafficking centres on the victim’s fear for safety or the safety of someone known to the victim,” Dr. Perrin writes in Invisible Chains. In a country like Canada, that boasts freedom and respect for all, victims should not have to bear the brunt of proving that they are victims. If we want to give them a new lease on life, we must avoid judging them based on our own misconceptions.
Invisible Chains is a must-read that deserves much more than five stars.
NB: I initially wrote this review for Examiner.com, in 2010.