Four Kinds of Human Trafficking in the North Country
4. Foreign women kept against their will - Ilene Burke, director of Renewal House in Canton - a refuge for women fleeing domestic abuse - says she encounters women who might be considered so-called “mail order brides.”
The women are foreign nationals. Their partners may have taken their passports, or may be forcing them to stay in the house. “They aren’t able to do what they want to do or that they would be able to live here freely,” Burke says. “So they have come to us through friends or someone that they know and then we’ve been able to help them get on to that right path and get documentation for immigration and everything for them.”
These cases may not be part of a smuggling ring, but what they share with trafficking is coercion and an imbalance of power.
Martinez de Vedia says the task force has already helped “a few” victims get out of a trafficking situation. “Escaping the ring, prosecuting their traffickers and, ultimately, becoming survivors,” Martínez de Vedia says, “so that’s definitely been a positive experience.”
Martinez de Vedia says with more agencies coming on board, he hopes the North Country Human Trafficking Task Force will help more victims take that brave first step of emerging from the darkness.