Lauren Chopek was just 14 when she was trafficked for sex in Winnipeg. But as an indigenous girl in Canada, her story is not rare. Indigenous Canadians make up just 4% of the country's population, but more than half of all sex trafficking victims in Canada are indigenous.
When she escaped her life on the streets, Chopek moved to the Ma Mawai healing lodge in rural Manitoba.
"Before I moved here, I used to blame myself and even during the time I was living here I used to blame myself for everything," she says, adding, "now I see that I was just a child."
Diane Redsky runs Ma Mawai. "A whole society is targeting indigenous women and girls, particularly for violence and abuse, and that spills over into sex trafficking," she says.
Debbie Cumby is an outreach worker in Winnipeg, and a former trafficking victim. "We're controlled by our traffickers," she says. "You owe money and you have a choice: you get beaten, or killed, or you go out and work."
Tanay Little was just 11 when she was sexually exploited on the streets of Winnipeg. Little Sisters in Winnipeg, a transition home for young sex trafficking victims, sheltered her when she first came off the streets. "I love this place, I love being here knowing that this place helps women change," she says.
Elder Mae Louise Campbell helps victims re-connect with indigenous culture. "The only way that [trafficking survivors] are going to feel whole again is to reconnect to their traditional ways," she says.
Jennifer Richardson runs Tracia's Trust, Manitoba's strategy to combat sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of children.
"Within a 10-year span Manitoba has really grown this massive strategy that is just recognized throughout Canada as being kind of the frontier leaders in this area," she says.
Danny Smyth is Winnipeg's Deputy Police Chief. "We have a team that's dedicated just to outreach. Just to being out there and trying to get to know who's out on the street, trying to establish a relationship with them," he says.
Kirt Chapko is an undercover police detective in Winnipeg. Part of his job is to drive the streets of Winnipeg, trying to protect women who are being sexually exploited.
"It's the misconception that a lot of people have is that they want to be out there," he says. "But they truly don't want to be out there."