Colonization Impact on Increased Indigenous Presence in Human Trafficking

This presentation will cover some of the most impactful pieces of historical legislation, romanticized stereotypes, the continued systemic oppression, on-going failure in different sectors and how all of this increases the vulnerability of Indigenous peoples being trafficked and exploited. It will provide some answers to why Indigenous women are 12 times more likely to be victims of trafficking and at a higher risk of all types of abuse. Primarily, this presentation will provide an overview of the history of pre and post-contact of settlers and deconstruct the theme of exploitation.


Melissa (Mel) Compton

Melissa (Mel) Compton is a multilateral Mi'kmaq/Scottish artist who uses her lived experience, artwork and therapeutic skills to develop and facilitate specialized youth programs. Spending a lot of her time in the urban Indigenous community, Mel advocates on behalf of Indigenous youth to ensure their voices are acknowledged. Mel’s knowledge comes from lived experience and a vast amount of program/workshop development and facilitation that allows for skill development, positive Identity and engagement. Her work as a Peer Support worker, Frontline case manager, Anti-Human trafficking worker and now, a Program and Curriculum Specialist, has enhanced her ability to develop and provide programming that infuses Child and youth care perspective and cultural perspective through the lens of Etuaptmumk (two-eyed seeing); a concept/teaching held by elder Albert Marshall.

Mel has developed trainings that were provided to Child Welfare, Frontline case managers, Hospital staff, Victims Services and Crisis counselors. She has also developed and facilitated education sessions around Indigenous History & connection to Human Trafficking that has been provided to foster parents, caregivers, youth, and to Non-Indigenous agencies to support the growth and understanding of the unique needs of the Indigenous population. Mel has been on several panels, spoken at conferences and has provided guest lectures. She is actively sought by different agencies and social justice groups to share both her personal and professional journeys. Mel now works at Canadian Roots Exchange as the Curriculum and Program Specialist creating, supporting and co-facilitating an upwards of 6 youth programs addressing multiple topics.