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Cheyenne Jones wants to get to the root of what's fuelling human trafficking in Nova Scotia. For her, it's buyers who create the demand."Our society has allowed … men with very low moral values to think that they have the right to purchase sex from another person," said Jones, who was the victim of sexual exploitation more than 20 years ago."It is not a human right to purchase sex from somebody. And we think that the people who are doing that need to be held accountable."Jones will be one of the speakers Saturday at Buyer Beware, a panel discussion about human trafficking and sexual exploitation at Saint Mary's University in Halifax. The event will be held from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and is free and open to the public.Jones now helps the victims of human trafficking."This is happening in our city, and it's happening on a very large scale, and it's happening to children as young as 12 and 13," she said. "That is the average age of recruitment in our city. And when I first heard that, I made a vow in my heart that it's not going to happen on my watch.… I am not going to be silent about this issue and I'm going to continue to do whatever I can."In 2018, a Statistics Canada analysis found a rising trend in the number of incidents of human trafficking reported by Canadian police services between 2009 and 2016.In 2009, fewer than 50 incidents were reported. In 2016, that number rose to 340.There were 63 incidents reported in Nova Scotia over the 2009-2016 time period, with 58 of them from Halifax. Of the provinces and territories, Nova Scotia had the highest rate of incidents at 2.1 per 100,000 people.Jones said she suffered childhood trauma and sexual abuse, which made her vulnerable to be sexually exploited. She was led into the world of prostitution in her early 20s in Halifax.She worked for a call service. But within a year she walked out of the sex trade and moved to Toronto to begin a new life.She returned to Halifax about seven years ago."(It) literally one day just popped into my head, 'What am I doing here? I do not want this lifestyle to be my destiny,'" she said."And literally one day I got up and I walked out the door. Back in those days we had pagers I smashed my pager and I never looked back."Dr. Heather Thompson, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Amherst, N.S., and Ontario, will speak about health effects of sexual exploitation in women.In addition to working as a doctor, Thompson is also the maternal health advisor of Global Health Promise, a non-governmental organization working globally to help mothers who are sexually exploited.Thompson said when was doing her research there was one thing that jumped out at her."There (were) a lot of self-reports of women of various symptoms that they experienced various sexually transmitted infections," Thompson said."But when you dig a little deeper, the biggest health issue that jumped out at me is death and violence. These women have a 40 times higher rate of death … than the general population and 75 per cent at least experience violence either at the hands of johns or pimps."In terms of mental health, Thompson said the most common complaint among female abuse victims is depression and a higher rate of substance abuse."In terms of my presentation I really just want to bring to light … that victims of sexual exploitation suffer both physically and mentally in significant ways, and just to humanize them."Other speakers include journalist and author Victor Malarek and anti-human trafficking advocate Shauna Davidson.MORE TOP STORIES
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Iran has dismissed US accusations it was behind drone attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil plants, and warned it is ready for a "full-fledged" war. Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Washington had adopted a "maximum pressure" strategy against Iran, but because of "its failure [the US] is leaning toward maximum lies". Amirali Hajizadeh was also quoted by the Tasnim news agency as saying that Iran has always been ready for a "full-fledged" war, without mentioning Saturday's explosions in Saudi Arabia.
- News The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER - The mayor of Vancouver says the city that opened North America's first supervised injection site following a surge in heroin-related deaths wants all federal party leaders to consider a proposal to allow substance users access to pharmaceutical-grade heroin.Kennedy Stewart is aiming for a Health Canada exemption from federal drug laws so diacetylmorphine, a safe substitute opioid, could be distributed through a non-profit organization to prevent overdose deaths from potentially dangerous drugs laced with fentanyl."We have thousands of addicts in this city and I think the scale of the problem just isn't understood," he said in a recent interview.Stewart said he has had informal talks with three of the four major party leaders: Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, the NDP's Jagmeet Singh, and Green Leader Elizabeth May. He has tried to set up a meeting with Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.Insite, a Vancouver facility where people shoot up their own substances under medical supervision, opened in 2003 with an exemption from drug laws by the Liberal government after intense lobbying by health officials, drug users, and local and provincial politicians.The Conservative government led by Stephen Harper vigorously opposed the site, saying it fostered addiction. The Tories fought to shut it down before losing a Supreme Court of Canada battle in 2011.Since then, eight more supervised injection sites have opened in British Columbia. Alberta now has eight sites, Ontario is home to 22 and Quebec has opened four of them, all in Montreal, says Health Canada, which is considering four more applications from Ontario, two from Alberta and one each from Saskatchewan and Manitoba.Scheer's press secretary, Daniel Schow, said the Conservative party does not support safer opioids or decriminalization.“It is tragic that we have failed these Canadians to the point where drug injection sites are often the only focus of discussion instead of a comprehensive approach to addiction," Schow said in a statement.“Drugs such as heroin, crack cocaine, and meth are extremely dangerous substances that tear families apart and have lasting effects on individuals who choose to consume them."Singh said on the second day of the election campaign that people struggling with addiction should get health care for a chronic condition and not be criminalized if their drugs are for personal use."Thousands of Canadians are dying and we've got to do things differently," he said during a stop in Brampton, Ont., adding that mental health issues must also be treated. "We can't continue down the same path. If we want to change the results we've got to change our approach."May also stressed the need to address the opioid crisis as a health-care issue and called for the declaration of a national health emergency."Drug possession should be decriminalized, ensuring people have access to a screened supply and the medical support they need to combat their addiction," she said in a statement.Trudeau has said no to decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use.Data from the BC Coroners Service show that between 2016 and June 2019, over a quarter of the 4,559 overdose deaths in British Columbia occurred in Vancouver, the city hit hardest in Canada by the opioid epidemic. Statistics by the Public Health Agency in June showed 11,577 people died across the country from opioid-related overdoses between June 2016 and December 2018.Stewart said providing a safer supply of drugs to people who are struggling with addiction is an innovative and practical response to the overdose crisis.He said he isn't pursuing decriminalization as an option because it's a toxic drug supply that's killing people."I don't need that kind of massive policy change to reduce overdoses here in the city. What I need is a federal health exemption. That's it," he said.Dr. Keith Ahamad, an addiction specialist at St. Paul's Hospital in downtown Vancouver, wants illegal drugs to be regulated."(Trudeau) has previously used that exact argument for creating a regulatory framework for cannabis in Canada and this is exactly what we need to do for other substances."Decriminalization is also important in reducing stigma against drug users so they don't fear getting help for their addiction and should include education, social supports and treatment through the health-care system, which has made Portugal's decriminalization model a success, Ahamad said."In Canada we have a system right now where the vast majority of addiction care is being provided by unskilled and sometimes lay people. It's not regulated," he said."It's an election issue because currently we are hemorrhaging money into the downstream consequences of bad drug policy and prohibition. Overdoses and overdose deaths and all of the money that we're pouring into all of that right now is really a direct cause of bad drug policy."Donald MacPherson, director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition at B.C.'s Simon Fraser University, said the overdose death toll demands a quick response through a safe supply of drugs that could be distributed through pharmacies, community health clinics and overdose prevention sites."It's great that Conservatives advocate for expanding treatment. So do all the other parties and so do people who advocate for safe supply. You just need it all at this point," said MacPherson, who worked as the first municipal drug policy co-ordinator in North America when he held the post in Vancouver between 2000 and 2009.Regulating illegal drugs would take years if a government was willing bring in legislation but providing safer drugs is critical during the overdose crisis, he said.- Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.Camille Bains, The Canadian Press
- Lifestyle HuffPost
Some Democratic presidential contenders and former U.S. attorneys have raised concerns the investigation during Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearings was incomplete.