Trafficked at a Club When She Was 19—And It Could Happen to *Anyone*

This Woman Was Trafficked at a Club When She Was 19—And It Could Happen to *Anyone*

Sydney Loney   2019-01-31

A recent photo of Markie Dell, now 26. She was trafficked as a teenager when a co-worker invited her to a night out at a club in Toronto, a ploy to put the 19-year-old in her debt. Dell was forced to make her pimps $1000 a day by dancing at strip clubs—and worse. (Markie Dell)

The club was big. It had two floors and, that night, it was packed. Although the room was dark, lights flashed and were reflected in mirrors along the walls. The air was stale and smelled of drugs. On one of two stages, Markie Dell danced to hip hop songs and stared straight ahead. She let the lights blind her, trying to ignore the breath of unknown men on her bare legs as they leaned toward her on the stage.

It was the spring of 2011. The tall 19-year-old with long legs, dyed-black hair and freckles muted by a fake tan was being forced to strip at a club in Niagara Falls, Ont., as she had been for the past five months—but that night, Dell saw a chance to escape.

She had confided in a client who promised to help her and she knew he was parked out on the street. When she noticed that the two women assigned to watch her were busy giving dances, Dell realized it might be her only chance. Dancers aren’t allowed near the front door, but as soon as her set was over, out the front door she ran, still in her eight-inch heels and pale pink two-piece outfit.

“I was so scared. There was always someone watching and I didn’t know what would happen if they caught me. I ran right through the crowd of men waiting to get in, and I didn’t look back.”

Her client drove her to a motel down the road. But Dell soon discovered that her rescuer was no fairy-tale knight in shining armour—and that her ordeal was only just beginning.

Human trafficking isn’t what you think it is

Many people have human trafficking confused with human smuggling, which is the illegal entry of a person into a country; trafficking actually means controlling a person for the purpose of exploiting them. Usually, that exploitation is sexual and the person being exploited is a woman or child.

If you ask most Canadians, they’d say they’re horrified that trafficking exists, but relieved that we live here, where things like that don’t happen. After all, other nations call us “nice.” This isn’t the kind of place where men and women entrap teenagers, then move them from city to city, buying and selling them as modern-day sex slaves. Or one where people discover that it’s happening—and don’t do anything about it.

But Canada is exactly that kind of place.

Over 90 percent of the girls being trafficked in Canada were born here, and experts suspect there are thousands of them. (Because trafficking is a hidden crime that’s tough to track—and was only recognized as a criminal offence in Canada in 2005—there are no definitive national numbers.) The average age at which exploitation begins is 13; the average age of rescue, if a girl is rescued at all, is 17. Given the statistics we do have, you’d think there’d be a massive public outcry. But this is the kind of problem we’d prefer to pretend doesn’t exist, although that’s getting harder to do.

Human trafficking is now the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. It’s very lucrative, and business is booming, says Shae Invidiata, founder of Free Them, a Toronto-based anti-trafficking organization that has helped rescue 500 victims (and counting). “One girl in Canada can make a pimp $300,000 a year,” Invidiata says. “It’s happening everywhere. Whenever I give a talk at a high school, someone will come up to me and say, ‘I didn’t know this is what it was called, but I think it’s happening to my friend.’”

Also watch: ‘Girl epidemic’ highlights human trafficking (Provided by CNN)

Click to expand

‘Girl epidemic’ highlights human trafficking

This past December alone, a 29-year-old man was arrested in Yellowknife for trafficking a woman from Saskatchewan; three men (two 18, one 20) were arrested for allegedly luring and prostituting a 14-year-old girl in hotel rooms across southern Ontario; and in Calgary, police were searching for a 29-year-old woman who, with three teenage boys for accomplices, held a woman captive and forced her to have sex with 10 different men over five days.

It’s gotten to the point where, last February, the Edmonton Police Service changed the name of its Vice unit, which historically referred to a police unit charged with investigating “moral crimes,” including gambling, the illegal manufacture or sale of alcohol and adult entertainment, to the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Unit. “Traditional ‘vice’ work is not what we do now,” says staff sergeant Dale Johnson. “It’s all sex industry and trafficking.”

How a girl gets trafficked

Just over a year ago, the Edmonton Police Service arrested a man in Edmonton who had previously served time for drug trafficking, but had expanded his business. After forming a relationship with an underage girl by plying her with new clothes, makeup and promises of a future together—a so-called grooming process that often only takes a couple of weeks—he pimped her out to men more than twice her age. “We believe that, while he was in jail, the accused learned that selling women is potentially easier, more profitable and more covert than selling drugs,” says Cory Kerr, a detective in the Unit.

The youngest victim they’ve rescued so far was 13, the oldest was in her 30s. “It can happen to anyone who finds themselves in a vulnerable spot and falls victim to a persuasive personality,” Johnson says. “I’ve seen intelligent, articulate, self-aware women who suddenly find themselves in situations they could never have imagined.”

Girls and young women from all socio-economic backgrounds are hunted in malls, coffee shops, movie theatres, outside their schools and, increasingly, online. “Don’t fool yourself into thinking this couldn’t be your sister, your daughter, your niece,” Invidiata says. There have been cases where girls were picked up from school, still in their uniforms, pimped out, then dropped off at home. They may be too afraid or ashamed to tell anyone, or may not even realize they’re being exploited.

Also watch: Actress AnnaLynne McCord fights to end human trafficking (Provided by Breakfast Television)

“I told people, ‘I’m new, I don’t want to do this,’ but no one cared”

Dell was trafficked within 24 hours. Already vulnerable (she was a shy kid with few friends and had been sexually exploited by her boss at a part-time job when she was 16), she was waiting tables in her hometown of Hamilton, Ont. when a coworker she didn’t know well told her she seemed cool, and invited her to a party in Toronto.

Dell came from a relatively sheltered, middle-class family. She had never heard of trafficking and didn’t know what a pimp was. She was living with her father at the time, but the relationship was rocky. Her mother had left home three years earlier and her dad, always “the cool parent,” had become really strict. “I just packed a bag and didn’t even tell him where I was going,” Dell says. Her new “friend,” a Black woman with a blonde weave, perpetually polished nails and a penchant for crop tops who we’ll call Kayla, picked Dell up in a rental car. They drove to Kayla’s apartment, where they were joined by a couple of her friends, had a few drinks and got ready to go to a club. It seemed like a fun, typical night out, but the next morning, Kayla turned ugly. She informed Dell that she owed her $600 for the car rental, the club entry and the drinks—and she got angry when Dell said she didn’t have the money.

Also watch: Ticket agent rescues teen girls from suspected trafficking plot (Provided by People)

Ticket Agent Rescues Teen Girls from Suspected Trafficking Plot

Help RCMP identify a person of interest in Cole Harbour

 

June 4, 2019, Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia… Halifax District RCMP is asking for the public’s help in identifying a person of interest after receiving a report of an unwanted person at Cole Harbour Place on Forest Hill Pky. in Cole Harbour.

At approximately 6 p.m. yesterday, Halifax District RCMP were called to attend Cole Harbour Place in regards to an unwanted person. A male had entered Cole Harbour Place and went into the pool area. After a complaint to staff, the male was escorted out of the building. He left before police arrival.

The male is described as a black male, with a slim build, approximately 5-foot-10. He was wearing Adidas jogging pants with the 3 white stripes down the leg, a black sweater with “CANADA” in white letters across the chest and he had brown dress shoes.

Halifax District RCMP is looking to identify the male and speak to him.

Anyone with information or knowns the identity of this male is asked to contact Halifax District RCMP at 902 490-5020. Should you wish to remain anonymous, call Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), submit a secure web tip at www.crimestoppers.ns.ca, or use the P3 Tips App.

 

Man wanted by police on province-wide arrest warrant

March 7, 2019, Oxford, Nova Scotia . . . Cumberland District RCMP have obtained a warrant for the arrest of a man who has been charged with several offences recently in Cumberland County.

Bradley James Barton, 34, of Pugwash, is charged with:

  • Theft of a Motor Vehicle
  • Theft Under $5000 ( 4 counts)
  • Possession of Property Obtained by Crime
  • Mischief Over $5000
  • Mischief Under $5000
  • Breach of Recognizance (2 counts)

Barton is a white male, 6-foot-1 and 270 pounds, and has a shaved head and blue eyes. He has tattoos on most of his body, including his face. The charges are in relation to a recent theft of a volunteer firefighter’s vehicle while he was stopped to provide assistance to Barton, who was involved in a collision with a vehicle that he is alleged to have stolen earlier that day. Police have not been able to locate him, and are requesting assistance from the public.

Members of the public are asked to not approach Barton if he is located, and call police. Cumberland District RCMP are asking anyone with information on the whereabouts of Bradley Barton to contact them in Oxford at 902-447-2525. Should you wish to remain anonymous call Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), submit a secure web tip at www.crimestoppers.ns.ca, or use the P3 Tips App

Stolen credit card used to purchase Winter tires in Westville

Stolen credit card used to purchase Winter tires

October 27, 2018, Westville, Nova Scotia . . . On October 17, staff at a car dealership on Balodis Dr. in Westville took a call from a woman who wanted to purchase two sets of four Winter tires. She provided a credit card number over the phone and said her husband would be there shortly to pick them up. A man arrived at the business a short time later, picked up the eight tires and left. Soon after he left, staff found out that the credit card used to purchase the tires was stolen. The tires are worth just over $1500.

The truck is an older light brown GMC Sierra pickup with Nova Scotia licence plate U1-5016, and the man is described as white, 5-foot-9 with a stocky build. He has a short dark beard and appears to be in his thirties.

Images of the man and the vehicle believed to have been involved with this incident were captured on surveillance video at the business. Police are requesting assistance from the public to identify him, and or the woman who used the stolen credit card. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Pictou District RCMP at 902-755-4141. Should you wish to remain anonymous, call Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), submit a secure web tip at www.crimestoppers.ns.ca, or use the P3 Tips App.

Attempted robbery on walking trail

May 25, 2018, Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia … Halifax District RCMP is investigating after responding to a complaint of an attempted armed robbery on a walking trail around 5 p.m. last evening.

A 15-year-old male was walking along the trail that connects Cole Harbour Place and Amaranth Cres., when he was approached by an unknown youth who was holding a knife and wanted money. The victim ran from the male and was not injured. The incident took place on the trail in the area of Amaranth Cres. and John Stewart Dr.

The suspect is described as a white male, mid-teens, approximately 6’ tall and 150 lbs, with brown hair. He was wearing a dark blue t-shirt, jeans, and black sneakers.

The investigation is continuing. If you have any information about this incident, you are asked to contact the Halifax District RCMP at 902-490-5020. Should you wish to remain anonymous call Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), submit a secure web tip at www.crimestoppers.ns.ca, or use the P3 Tips App.

Attempted robbery on walking trail

May 25, 2018, Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia … Halifax District RCMP is investigating after responding to a complaint of an attempted armed robbery on a walking trail around 5 p.m. last evening.

A 15-year-old male was walking along the trail that connects Cole Harbour Place and Amaranth Cres., when he was approached by an unknown youth who was holding a knife and wanted money. The victim ran from the male and was not injured. The incident took place on the trail in the area of Amaranth Cres. and John Stewart Dr.

The suspect is described as a white male, mid-teens, approximately 6’ tall and 150 lbs, with brown hair. He was wearing a dark blue t-shirt, jeans, and black sneakers.

The investigation is continuing. If you have any information about this incident, you are asked to contact the Halifax District RCMP at 902-490-5020. Should you wish to remain anonymous call Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers toll free at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), submit a secure web tip at www.crimestoppers.ns.ca, or use the P3 Tips App.

Person wanted for Stabbing.

Police are asking for the public’s assistance to identify the man captured in video and photos in relation to the stabbings that occurred at The Toothy Moose on March 18.2018.

Police responded to The Toothy Moose, 1661 Argyle Street, at 1 a.m. for a report of a man who had been stabbed inside the establishment. A 38-year-old man was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and a 27-year-old man also suffered a minor stab wound during the incident. Later in the investigation police learned that a third man had also suffered stab wounds during the incident.

Investigators with the General Investigation Section of the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division are seeking identification of the man captured in the video and photos.

If you can identify the man in the photos and video please call police at 902-490-5020.  Anonymous tips can be sent to Crime Stoppers by calling toll-free 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), submitting a secure web tip at www.crimestoppers.ns.ca or by using the P3 Tips app.

Suspect Wanted for Robbery

At approximately 1:00 p.m. on October 12, 2017 New Glasgow Regional Police was called to the scene of a robbery at a Tavern on Stewart Street New Glasgow. A lone suspect entered the Tavern and demanded a quantity of money. One staff member was present and was grabbed, assaulted and forced into a room. The staff member suffered minor injuries

The suspect fled the Tavern on foot with a quantity of cash. Police immediately responded and was assisted by Pictou County Integrated Street Crime Enforcement Unit and Truro Police K-9.

The suspect is described as:    Shawn Daniel Bonvie

a 36 year old white male with short brown hair, blue eyes, 5’8” and  approximately 200lbs

last seen wearing a blue jeans and a brown zip up hooded sweater

The New Glasgow Regional Police Major Crime Unit is asking anyone with information about this incident or location of Shawn Daniel Bonvie is asked to contact New Glasgow Regional Police at 902-752-1941. Should you wish to remain anonymous, you can also contact Nova Scotia Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477) or text TIP202 + your message to ‘CRIMES’ (274637) or submit tips by Secure Web at www.crimestoppers.ns.ca. Calls to Crime Stoppers are not tapped or traced. The public is asked to not approach this individual as police describe him as dangerous. The public is asked to call police immediately if you know his location or have any information about this robbery

Robbery Halifax NS

Investigators with the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division are asking for the public’s help locating a man wanted in connection with a robbery of a Halifax store in September.

On September 25, 2016 at approximately 8:40 p.m., police responded to a robbery located at Fred’s Market, 38 Dentith Road. Staff stated that a man had entered the store, produced a handgun and demanded cash and cigarettes. The employee was not injured, and the suspect fled the area on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash and cigarettes.

The suspect is described as a man wearing a skull face mask, grey hoodie with the hood up, dark pants, grey and blue gloves, white sneakers, and a green Adidas gym bag.

denith-rd-beAnyone who recognizes this suspect or has information on this crime, is asked to contact police at 902-490-5016. Anonymous tips can be sent to Crime Stoppers by calling toll-free 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), submitting a secure web tip at www.crimestoppers.ns.ca or texting a tip – Tip 202 + your message to 274637

Break & Enter – Annapolis County

Crime Stoppers and the Annapolis Royal Police are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying an unknown suspect wanted for Break Enter and Theft.

During the afternoon hours on December 5th, 2011 an unknown suspect(s) entered a residence on Champlain Drive in Annapolis Royal. Once inside a number of items
were stolen including cash and jewelry.

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