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Sex Trafficking


Ontario Women’s Network (OWN) deals with issues of violence against women within the Somali community.

A somewhat recent major and increasing concern within the community is the issue of sex trafficking. This is a type of modern-day slavery that often targets young women. According to the United Nations, 2.5 million people in the world are victims of sex trafficking at any moment in time.

Most sex trafficking occurs in hidden places and private locations. Information about this issue was brought up during the Sheeko Sheeko campaign by the participants and advisory committee of the Sheeko Sheeko program, as there is great need to bring this issue to light in the Somali community. Sex trafficking is a taboo and highly stigmatized topic, hence why it is especially important for OWN to take this initiative to create a space which forces these conversations to happen.

Many of the stories of victims have gone unreported and unheard of. These women who are trafficked are often young women and/or newcomer women who are targeted because of their lack of language skills and their naivety. Girls are lured into these rings through a variety of methods, one common method is to use other young women to gain their trust and drug them so it is easier to take them away.

Though the Sheeko Sheeko program does not work specifically in issues of sex slavery and trafficking, we absolutely recognize the need for education and awareness. One of the most important steps in addressing this growing phenomenon is to change fundamental beliefs about the value of women and girls in society, and we have identified that the Sheeko Sheeko program can be a good place to facilitate these difficult and important conversations, so that the message is spread through the community.

For more information on this issue, please see the links below:

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime



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