Officers from the Saskatchewan RCMP Roving Traffic Unit (RTU) stopped a vehicle for speeding on Highway 1 near Swift Current last Thursday afternoon, and the driver was identified as a suspected human trafficking victim. 

According to a media release issued this morning, the car had an Ontario license plate and was driven by a female under the age of 16, with no other passengers. 

Investigation determined the youth was reported as missing from Ontario. The Ministry of Social Services in Swift Current was called to assist and accompanied her to the hospital for medical care. Transportation is being arranged to return her home.

No charges are anticipated to be laid, and as such, the Saskatchewan RCMP will not be identifying any further details of the youth to protect her privacy.

Saskatchewan RCMP worked with the Hamilton Police Service and the Swift Current RCMP Saskatchewan Trafficking Response Team (STRT) on the investigation.

The RCMP STRT supports the Saskatchewan RCMP’s mandate of keeping communities safe and aims to stop or disrupt inter and intra-provincial criminal groups involved in the trafficking of controlled substances and firearms, as well as human trafficking. Hamilton Police Service has taken carriage of the ongoing investigation due to the area of police jurisdiction.

The Saskatchewan RCMP takes a victim-centered, trauma-informed response to human trafficking.

"It is important to remember, this crime has no borders, which is why the Saskatchewan RCMP works interjurisdictionally to investigate these complex files and works closely with municipal police agencies and government partners across the country," the media release read. "Saskatchewan RCMP reminds the public that anyone can be a target for human trafficking. Victims may be trafficked by someone they know: a former or current partner, family member, friend, or trustworthy person. The recruiting tactics can be subtle, often victims don’t even know they’re being trafficked."

Traffickers may approach potential victims by:

  • Pretending to be a potential love interest, friend or support person
  • Connecting over social media or in person
  • Offering gifts or money
  • Introducing drugs or alcohol
  • Threatening potential victims’ loved ones if they don’t comply

Traffickers maintain control over the victim by using tactics such as violence, threats and manipulation, so the victim believes there is no way out. 

If you or someone you know may be a victim of human trafficking, call the Hotline at 1-833-900-1010 or submit an anonymous tip online. The Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline is confidential and operates 24/7, 365 days a year, offering services in more than 200 languages. It's accessible to deaf, hard-of-hearing and non-verbal people.

To report a crime, or for police assistance, contact your local detachment. Call 911 if you suspect someone has been trafficked and is in immediate danger.

Additional information on recognizing human trafficking victims can be found online.