OPINION: From the Winnipeg Sun–A parent’s worst nightmare is finding out their daughter or son plans to meet some stranger they met online who turns out to not be who they say they are.
One Winnipeg family recently got lucky when mom and dad stumbled across the conversations their 13-year-old daughter was having online that included plans to meet. Something seemed off and it quickly came apart. The boy their daughter had been talking with was a man and he had been grooming her in an effort to pull her into the sex trafficking world. She also had her friends ready to tag along for the meeting.
“This was right here in Winnipeg, in a middle class to upper-middle class area of the city,” said Joy Smith, founder of the Joy Smith Foundation. “It can happen to anybody. What’s so sad, a lot of families after this happens blame themselves and they shouldn’t. These traffickers are very skilled in what they do.”
This is the sinister side of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Smith said reports made to her national foundation based out of Winnipeg have increased three-fold over the course of the pandemic.
Youth have been pushed online for everything from school to entertainment to socializing with friends. For predators, it has made it much easier to prey upon the innocent.