Why Do People Disappear? A Look at Human Trafficking

I want to thank you all for supporting our family during this difficult week that marks the fourth year of Marilyn’s disappearance. We have even received some new clues, which always encourages us to continue!
Several people asked if I knew why Marilyn has been missing for all this time. Unfortunately, I don’t. I am still considering all of the hypotheses.

Usually, a person disappears due to one or more of the following scenarios:
To escape a difficult home environment (physical, sexual, emotional); to escape from difficult living or working conditions; to start a new life under a new identity; kidnapping; parental abduction; to join the witness protection program; suicide; murder; mental illness or progressive dementia (schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, etc…);, natural death; accident or criminal act; slavery (sexual, work, or other); to escape law enforcement; to join a cult or other religious organization, and so on.

Source: Wikipedia: Missing Person

There are hundreds of active missing people cases in the province of Québec. Although the exact cause of the disappearances are often unknown, the consequences can be very serious for the missing person, family, and friends.

Note: The content of this article and the links below are particularly difficult, and its reading is not recommended for minors and sensitive souls.

Josée asked me if we had sought out those who kidnap young women for prostitution. I thought about this scenario more than once. I even spent whole nights in bad neighborhoods around the country in search of Marilyn. In these searches, I have not seen the tip of the iceberg of the trouble, nor I have seen my sister. I will never forget the pale face of a young woman from East Vancouver who wished that someone was looking for her.

Over the years, I was told many horror stories related to human trafficking. Unfortunately, this scenario needs to be considered with the others in Marilyn’s disappearance. I will not deny that it scares me.

Here’s what happened to three young women in Québec; three stories of missing people among others. The names are fictitious to protect the identity of the victims.

Isabelle went for a job interview following an advertisement in the local newspaper. She had just finished school and was looking for a job in her field of expertise. She had been given an appointment in the afternoon. She had barely arrived when she heard the news… She had the job! Only,…another job. She was an escort and she was starting immediately. It would take her more than 18 months to escape. After the first attempt, she was thrown down the stairs, she was beaten, and raped repeatedly. Her “transport” lead her into new “exotic dancer bars” every two weeks. She worked days and nights in large cities and rural regions of the Québec province. She finally escaped after a third attempt. Despite the physical and moral wounds, she still refuses to file a complaint, huddled in fear. Her family also receives threats, ignored by local authorities. Still, life slowly resumes its course.

Lisa, a beautiful teenage runaway, was tied up in an apartment near a highway for more than a year, a victim of street gangs. Three girls were working as prostitutes days and nights under threats from their pimps, each receiving an average of twenty clients per day. Lisa was not even sixteen years old.

Jane, eighteen years old, was locked in a basement of a posh Montreal neighborhood for nearly two years. One customer finally took pity on her while he heard her whisper “mom” through her sobs. He called the police anonymously.

So many horror stories. Almost no action or prevention.

To all of those who are thinking of running away or taking off on a whim, I implore you to look for resources at school or in your circle of friends or family. Those who are waiting at the bus station to offer you a coffee or a warm place to sleep “for a few days” will not help you. They are your age, but they are lying about who they are and what they are expecting of you.

To all of those who prey on vulnerable people, please notice the sores on the legs, the puffy eyes, and the haggard look of the person that you are abusing. You have the courage to commit your illegal act, maybe you’ll find the courage to show a little heart and help the person anonymously.

For more information on human trafficking in Canada:

Human Trafficking in Canada: Report of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Human Sex Trafficking: Canada’s Hidden Crime

Sex Trafficking: a National Disgrace


In French:

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