Answering them all
People who came to hear Glendene Grant talk about her daughter’s disappearance at the hands of what she believes were human traffickers got the chance to ask questions following her presentation at YAP last week.
“There is not a person in this room who can hurt me with a question,” she said, encouraging everyone present to ask whatever they wanted.
The questions revealed more pieces of the story, from the fact Grant is no longer able to cross the border to some of the bits of information about Jessie’s life in Las Vegas she’s picked up over the years.
“I’m not allowed to go anymore,” she said in answer to a question asking if she’s ever searched for Jessie in Las Vegas. Her expression saying it all, she added, “They finally found a record that in 1987 I had a roommate who was arrested for drugs.”
Her story also encouraged other people to share theirs.
One woman stood and talked about how human trafficking isn’t always about sexual exploitation, but sometimes about gaining free, or nearly free, labour.
Grant agreed there are many reasons human traffickers take people, from labour to sexual exploitation.
She added Sweden has instituted an interesting law that may curb most of the problems.
There they have decided it’s perfectly legal for a woman to sell her body if she wishes, however it is illegal for a man to purchase sex. This means women are not prosecuted in prostitution cases, only the men are. They are disgraced, charged, have their faces plastered all over the place and are forever branded for the act.
“It drove prostitution out of Sweden,” she said, adding if there is no demand for prostitutes, then there is no market for supplying them.
“Now it’s the Nordic Rule,” she said, adding many countries in the area adopted the law, first because it works and second because though prostitution was driven out of Sweden, it migrated to nearby countries. “Canada needs to step up and stop victimizing the victims.”
Another mother stepped forward to talk about her daughter who is prostituting herself now, completely addicted to drugs, No matter what she does, she can’t seem to get her daughter off the street. It’s become so bad, she said, that now her daughter is working a corner she knows her mother regularly drives by.
Grant agreed sometimes it is drugs, rather than a person, that keeps a woman imprisoned in that life.
The drug addiction, the mom said, goes hand-in-hand with long-standing and documented mental health issues.
“She is going to wind up dead someday,” she said, voice unsteady.
Diane Nakamura, coordinator for Communities Against Sexual Exploitation of Youth, and event organizer, asked to speak to the woman following the meeting with the intents of following up on the story.
Those stories were added to the long list Grant has already heard.
Following the presentation she joined the women present for lunch, speaking freely about their issues and her own, sharing the pain that permeates those with a lost child.