Human trafficking is a grave violation of human rights and one of the most heinous crimes committed against individuals, particularly women and children. It is a modern form of slavery, involving the recruitment, transportation, harboring, or receipt of people through force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
In this episode of Humans, on Rights our guest, Hennes Doltze talks about the work that he and his team are doing to engage man and boys to prevent sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of women, girls and 2SLGBTQ+ individuals. Doltze is the project lead of the EmpowerMen project which is part of the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre Inc. The EmpowerMen project activates individual men and communities through education, online engagement, law enforcement, support services and research to challenge the cultural norms of sexual exploitation. Doltze shares his teams work explaining what is sexual exploitation and human trafficking, why EmpowerMen focusses on buyers of sexual acts, and what the many resources available to buyers of sexual exploitation which can be found on their website: Empowermen.ca
Stuart Murray 0:00
This podcast was recorded on the ancestral lands on Treaty One Territory, their traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and the Dene peoples and on the homeland of the Métis nation.
Amanda Logan (Voiceover) 0:19
This is Humans, On Rights. A podcast advocating for the education of human rights. Here's your host, Stuart Murray.
Stuart Murray 0:30
Sex trafficking is the most prevalent and lucrative form of crime globally. Here's some statistics to think about. It generates an estimated 99 billion that's billion with a B, worldwide and profit for traffickers each year. Most of the victims of sex trafficking in Canada are women and girls. Indigenous women and girls are impacted by exploitation and sex trafficking at higher rates than non Indigenous women and girls. And the money which is paid for traffickers is paid by the men who pay for sexual services from trafficking victims. The sex buyers therefore, create a financial incentive for traffickers to exploit adults and children. My guest today is going to talk about a project that he's involved called Empower Men. My guest is Hennes Doltze and he leads the Empowerment project, which is part of the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre in Winnipeg. Ma Mawi Wi Centre is an Indigenous-lead community organization with a long history of addressing sexual exploitation and trafficking. My guest holds a degree in social work and non- for- profit management, and has worked in Canada and Germany in the mental health field, child welfare and crime justice. He has worked with many men on topics such as relationships, sex and intimacy, as well as violence and exploitation. And he's witnessed positive changes in men's understanding of their own attitude of behavior. Hennes regularly presented conferences for law enforcement, social services and educators on the demand that leads to exploitation and human trafficking. And as I say, welcome to Humans, On Rights.
Hennes Doltze 2:22
Thank you very much, Stuart, it's a pleasure to be here. Thank you for the invitation.
Stuart Murray 2:26
So Hennes, how does somebody find themselves working in Germany, and also now working in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Hennes Doltze 2:36
So to give you a little bit about my personal background, I was born and raised in Germany in the early 80s and then, as a teenager, always had an interest in Canada ever since I was like 15, or 16 years old. And so by the time I was 20, I was able to come to Canada as a volunteer, and just spend about a year and a half year, and just getting to know the country. And I ended up working in Winnipeg downtown, and really felt a strong connection to Canada. I'm not entirely sure where that came from. But I was able to pursue that and during that time, I really learned a lot more about the struggles that some Winnipeggers particularly Indigenous people, and women and girls face here and that led me to decide to go into the social work field. So I was able to study social work in Germany a little bit after that. But I also found my wife here. She's from Brandon, Manitoba. And so we've been married for about 20 years now and have established ourselves over the last couple of years here in Winnipeg and the work that I've been doing prior to this project was really related to the criminal justice system. And a lot had to do with working with men who were either involved with the criminal justice system because of a domestic violence incident or with sexual exploitation. This was with the Salvation Army here in Winnipeg. And I had to learn a lot about the topic. I was not familiar with it at all. I didn't cover it in the in the university degree. But it was something that I learned a lot about. And as I dove deeper into it, really realized not only the scope, but really the harm that it has caused and is causing still to this day, in relation to indigenous women and girls, you know, and then I dove into the topics why there's such a high over representation, learning about the 60's Scoop, the child welfare system, and those are all connected to this right. And I know that you interviewed somebody from the clan mothers, as well as my colleague, Melissa tone, in one of your podcasts, and all of those agencies and particularly Indigenous-led agencies by women have really done a tremendous job of raising this topic around sexual exploitation and trafficking of women and girls. And so during my time with the Salvation Army, I was able to meet with a lot of men who were arrested for purchasing sexual services and really trying to understand where they were coming from without sort of diminishing their responsibility, but also wanting to understand more. Okay, what, what does somebody do? Or what if somebody is leading to, to this kind of behavior. And as I was working in the field really realized, this is a pretty massive issue, and you cited some stats globally. And it really impacts a lot of people. And unfortunately, it's not a pleasant topic, right? It's it's a sensitive topic. It's a tough topic to discuss. But I'm glad that you've interviewed me to talk about this a little bit more. Why does this important? How many people are affected? And eventually, what we want to do about that as well? So maybe that's a long answer to your short question. But yeah, happy to happy to dive more into it as well.
Stuart Murray 5:58
Hennes, thank you so much for for the background, sort of shaping how it is that you found yourself from Germany, into Canada to Winnipeg. Delighted that you've had somebody in your life from Brandon, and that, that you've been here as a Manitoban so congratulations on that. Hennes one of the things that I wondered, just, it's almost a definition and I, I went and I tried to research about the misconception about what is and what is not legal when dealing with the sex trade. So one of the questions was, you know, what is legal? And it says the selling of sex in Canada is legal, the purchasing of sex is illegal in all circumstances. Do you have a fair way to clarify that?
Hennes Doltze 6:42
So in 2015, the Canadian government was required to craft a new law that had previously been struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada making the previous legislative framework unconstitutional in the eyes of the Supreme Court. So the Supreme Court gave the parliament one year to craft new laws around the sex trade and the relating activities to that. And for the first time, I believe in Canadian history, the law was crafted so that purchasing sexual services was illegal, but not selling. And the reason for that is, a lot of individuals, primarily women and girls, and transgendered individuals, do not end up in the sex trade by their own choice, there is a number, I would say it's the smallest number that really does it freely and fully out of their own choice. But a lot of folks find themselves because of poverty, because of trauma or abuse experiences that they've had, and the challenges that life has brought that sometimes they engage in this activity, but are basically often victims of sexual assault as well. And so the Canadian government recognized that and said, We do not want to criminalize people who are already on the margins, we do not want to make life more challenging with prosecuting or convicting the women and girls who are already struggling. And what the parliament decided was instead to focus on who are the buyers who are those who profit, you know, for their own personal interest or gain. And those those are the buyers. So sometimes the law that we have in Canada is called the Nordic model, or the equality model. And it's sometimes hard to wrap around the brain in regards to an activity that one side is illegal, and the other one is illegal. But it really focuses on why did somebody end up in the sex trade in the first place and a couple of other countries have adopted a similar model, and have really seen this as a lot of the sex trade as exploitative, not everything but a large part and a hindrance to equality for women and girls, because the overwhelming majority of those who sell sexual services are women, but the overwhelmingly majority of those who buy are actually men. So it hinders gender equality. And this is one way of addressing that the parliament decided to do that.
Stuart Murray 9:18
To sort of give an example, there are people that are involved in the sex trade world who are doing it on the basis that it is part of their profession. And, you know, they might put themselves in a position where they say, if there's consensual sexual services or an erotic performance, you know, there's a cost to it. And there could be an arrangement made between those two people. That would be deemed to be legal. Is that correct?
Hennes Doltze 9:49
In terms of the law, if somebody purchases sexual services, it would still be illegal even if the other side or the seller so to speak fully, consents to it and does it by by their own choice. So the law does not differentiate in that, however, whether a police agency will, you know, enforce the laws accordingly. That's an entirely different story. And that is very different across the country, depending on the city, and depending on the priority of that. But I think, you know, one thing that we have to recognize here in Manitoba that a lot, a lot of folks that are exploited through sort of what I would call survival, sex or sexual exploitation are unfortunately, indigenous women and girls, sometimes newcomers, and those with experiences in the child welfare system, trauma 60's scoop survivors and that is really a very vulnerable group to begin with, right? And I think for those folks, for those communities and groups, I think that's what the law was crafted for, to protect them. Now, sometimes it's a very contentious topic in certain circles and I know that there's groups who wish to change the laws accordingly. But I think we have to recognize that especially for young people, exploitation is a reality and it's hard to find stats, but the Manitoba government website says that there could be any where between hundreds, if not 1000s, of young people, meaning children and youth being sexually exploited here, just in Manitoba alone, which is a staggering number. You know, when you think about that.
Stuart Murray 11:24
Yeah, it is staggering. You know, Hennes, and I think one of the elements, and you've been involved in this, and there's a lot of other people I know, the Joy Smith Foundation, and there's a lot of very, very good work that is done to educate people on the issue of sexual trafficking. Because I think a lot of times people look at it and say that it's a big city problem. It's a problem over in Europe, it's a problem somewhere else, when, as you and I talked about earlier, the reality is that it could be happening next door here in Winnipeg. It's that domestic?
Hennes Doltze 11:59
Yes, absolutely. And you mentioned the Joy Smith Foundation, and they just came out with a new campaign called the trafficking signs. And there's the the notion that this could be happening within a kilometer of where we are right now. And, you know, speaking to folks from the RCMP, for example, there's a challenge of trafficking happening, sort of in a north south corridor, from the northern communities and rural communities down into city where, you know, young people come for medical appointments, or sometimes for schooling, and that makes them very vulnerable, especially if they're in the city for the first time. And they may not have close connections here. And unfortunately, predators and people who are out to look for, you know, young, vulnerable people take advantage of that, you know, so you're absolutely right. It's not something that happens just over there in the US or in Asia somewhere. But it's a local reality as well.
Stuart Murray 13:00
Yeah. So hit us, let's drive in or dive, I should say into Empower Men. What is Empower Men and how did it start?
Hennes Doltze 13:10
Well, I have to go back a little bit to the beginnings when Diane Redsky who was the executive director for the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre and a long, long time advocate, who has been working on this for probably decades now. And together, we discussed the issue of exploitation and said, how do we engage the wider public audience, and particularly men and boys in this topic, often, the focus has been on helping victims, you know, helping police understand the issue of exploitation and what the justice system can do and often it's been done by women for women, you know, and I really credit particularly Indigenous women, like, clan mothers Kanakaniguk Joy Smith Foundation, and Diane Redsky for really raising this issue. Sometimes what is missing is the leadership of males in this space. And that's really where we want it to expand the focus is how do we engage men and boys, young men in this topic as well, because like I said, it is a highly gendered issue. And so recognizing that if we wanted to make a change, men need to step up in this as well, being informed about it and also understanding the issue and seeing, you know, if we're in a position of either leadership or influence, which most of us are, even if it's just within our circle of friends or colleagues to say, prostitution and exploitation is to a large degree exploitative, and we as men have a role in that. So that's how we sort of started and then we came up with sort of six areas that we wanted to focus on, to highlight the role that men can play. So we see men not only as sort of the perpetrators or those who are part of the problem, but we really see them as part of the solution as well, because it is really preventable. Which then leads to helping us understand, okay, what's the men? What's man's reasoning or explanation for doing this? So some of the areas that we've started to work on in the Empowerment Project is education and awareness about this topic, specifically, as it relates to men. So we've done a number of training and conference events for educators and people in the youth serving agencies, social services, working with newcomer agencies about this topic as well. We're also using some new technology, regarding the online engagement, when somebody is looking to purchase sexual services online, there has been a huge shift with the development of technology that allows now for, you know, escort websites that are often used for trafficking as well to advertise sexual services as well, sometimes from trafficking victims. So we're using some AI technology, which is really exciting and innovative and the focus is really to help men understand what are they looking for and helping them understand that the way that they're going about it may not be the best way for them, or certainly not for the community around them. We're also looking to understand on a deeper level, the reasons of men's attitudes, as well as behaviors with some research conducted with the University of Manitoba. So we're just in the process of developing a survey that will then be promoting online in different spaces, because we want to hear from men, you know, what, what are their reasons for doing this, and how that can inform potential support services for them as well, because for the most part, the men that we're talking about, they're not sort of your hardened criminal. They're regular guys that go to work that have families and this is sort of they're not to minimize it, this is their little hobby on the side, you know, so we want to engage with them, we want to learn more about them. Another area is partnering with law enforcement, on training, and just engagement with them. So police, Crown attorneys and policy decision makers, because we believe that there is a role, it is not the only role that they have. But we believe that this is an important aspect as well. So doing trainings, and really focusing on survivor voices, the leadership of survivors is very important to us, we have a consultation committee that we've created, that speaks into those things that we're discussing, that are all survivors that have been either trafficked or have come out of sexual exploitation and have done a lot of healing and they're now giving us advice on how to do this in a proper way. And overall, it's creating a sense of men to step into this discussion and say, we have a responsibility as well and we can do something about that. So that it's not only left up to women and girls to change the narrative around us but for men to be able to step in. So we're still fairly early on in the project, only about a little over a year in so we continue to build partnerships and trainings. And it's really quite exciting, even though it is a hard topic, and not everybody's comfortable talking about it. But I think we are we're at a point where we've seen increase in not only exploitation and trafficking, but also sexual assault, the use of online exploitation sextortion, all of these topics that have have increased both in statistical numbers, as well as just in the impact. So I think we, we really need to do something and I believe that we need to step up as a community and as a society to do that.
Stuart Murray 18:48
So here's the lots there to unpack just you you gave a really great narrative timeline of some of the things that are happening. You talked about the use of technology, specifically AI technology. Can you give me an example, if somebody were to go on to a site and they were going onto site for one reason, and that is to to buy sex? Is there a way that that could be tracked? And that person I should say, who is looking to make the purchase? Can he then I'm assuming it's a man so I say he can that person be sort of tracked and stopped and then brought into a position where you can say, look, we understand what you're trying to do. Before you make this purchase. We want to let you know, we've been tracking you and what you're about to do is illegal and so we're going to offer you some assistance to ensure that you don't go down this road again or you don't enter into what could be criminal activity.
Hennes Doltze 19:45
It's close to how you describe it. So the way we have set it up is that there are these escort listings on different classified websites and there's many, many, many and over the last couple of years, many have popped up. So we place ads on these websites that are just very generic ads, and there's a phone number attached to that ad, and if a person, let's say a man reaches out, then we use the technology to engage with the man in a conversation. And so we're partnering with an organization to do that and initially, when they set this up, you know, the focus was on highlighting the negative impacts of sexual exploitation and sex buying, etc. But we quickly realized that this may not be the best way to engage with somebody in that through that method, partly because I think, men realize that it may not be the best thing to do, but they do it anyway. So how can we take a different approach? So looking at some aspects of motivational interviewing, and trying to build a level of rapport to say, what are you looking for here? So in a sense, it is not tracking somebody but trying to engage in a conversation around what are you looking for? Are you looking for intimacy? Are you looking for a sense of connection, that's the case for some not so much for others, and really highlighting that what they're trying to look for isn't what they're trying to achieve and this is very much in line with what I heard from a lot of men, when I was working with them in the sex buyer accountability program was that, you know, what they were looking for, it didn't materialize at the end. And sometimes people said, well, I'm glad I was stopped, because it led me down a path that I wasn't really happy with to do that. So the technology allows us to engage with men and then there's a volunteer often connected to provide some ongoing support for that. So it is really about helping men understand their own sort of internal dynamics, you know, am I stressed? Am I having a bad day at work? Are there relationship issues, and it's not counseling, but it's just trying to shift the focus and shift of perspective of that person to realize, hey, you're going down a path that isn't really going to be helpful. Just as maybe having a couple of beers after you get home isn't helpful if you are struggling with something else in your life, right? It may give you a temporary relief, but you're not going to fix whatever is happening in your life. So that's sort of the angle that we've taken and the interesting part is that a fair amount of men respond very well to that and realize, hey, this isn't some judgmental aspect of it, but it is trying to help me understand where I may, you know, turn off the wrong wrong direction here in my life. There is a component where we also talk about the impact, but it is primarily helping men understand themselves better and I think, trying to find that balance between discouraging because it impacts others in a negative way. But also not negating that somebody might have a personal reasons for doing something like this, right? So holding that tension between accountability and support is something that we've tried to do in conceptualizing both the work through the AI as well as the other elements within the project.
Stuart Murray 23:07
Hennes you mentioned a program, I hope I can get it sort of right. I just want to get an explanation of what it's for. You talked about I think it's the sexuality behavior project, I think you said.
Hennes Doltze 23:19
Yeah, so this is with the Salvation Army here in Winnipeg, I call it the Sex Buyer Accountability Program. Some people we used to call it the John School, I'm not too fond of that term anymore, just because it has a bit of a colloquial term, the term John, which is generally used, right, but I think it under it underrepresents the involvement and the impact that this group of people has that are to Johns. So I'm not using the term anymore, but you know, other people do, and that's totally okay. But it's focusing on that level of accountability, that I think we need to have if we want to address the issue of trafficking, because, like you said, in your introductory remarks, trafficking predominantly exists because there is a market for it and the market is, in large part created by sex buyers. So so we wanted to focus on that accountability. So the way it works is, if police are doing investigations and arrests for this kind of criminal activity, then participants if they are eligible get referred to that program and there's usually a fee that people have to pay as well as really listening to some survivors to people who have been in the program, as well as presentations by law enforcement by the police and different community activists to talk about the connection between sexual exploitation and trafficking, sex buying. There's usually a counselor who does a presentation again, on the topic of how do you deal with your own things in a more personal way, you know, whether it's your mental health or your physical health or your relationship issues or you're not happy in your relationship, you know? All those kinds of things. So it's very, it's fairly intense. But I've seen a lot of men sort of opening their eyes to this, that this isn't just like a little hobby between two consenting adults, but there's a lot of things that go into it that men need to understand.
Stuart Murray 25:15
Yeah. And Hennes did I understand you correctly, when you talked about the fact that this program, there is a fee for it?
Hennes Doltze 25:22
Yeah, yeah. So there is a fee that people have to pay, which is partly to cover the cost, but partly also to support outreach work that is being done by the Salvation Army, to women and individuals that are that are exploited. Yeah.
Stuart Murray 25:38
So Hennes just to sort of take a practical look at this, those are amazing programs, one of the areas that I'd like to get your thoughts on, and because you've seen this just to share what you've seen, and how it does work, is that any person in this case, we're talking about men, who are involved in the exploitation of sexual human trafficking, if somebody were to come forward, that's something pretty brave for somebody to come forward and say, I've got this issue that I'm dealing with. I mean, we need to applaud them. But society, and I think that just the general feeling of anybody that that admits they've got that kind of a problem publicly to somebody else. Have you seen barriers that will break that down to make it easier for somebody to say, I know I've got a problem, I understand I've got a problem. But I cannot get the courage to go forward, because I'm embarrassed if this happens to become public.
Hennes Doltze 26:38
You know, during the time that I was working in this program, 99% of the men were referred by the police or by the justice system, there was very few that reached out individually on their own volition. Now, one thing that I will say is I've talked to counselors and therapists that focus specifically on you know, sexual related issues. So they would deal with more than just somebody being engaged in prostitution and those kinds of things. And most of the time, what the the therapist has told me is, folks will generally only reach out if either their partner has found out, or somehow it impacts their lives, maybe their jobs or so there has to be a certain level of hardship, if I may say it that way, or impact on the, on the family, on the partner on work, where men or people then feel like the need to okay, now I need to address something like this. Otherwise, you're right, I think the hurdle to overcome the own internal, you know, whether it be shame or guilt, or even just maybe not really wanting to acknowledge this is is very hard for people to come forward is very, very hard. And like you said, there's a sense of stigma around that. And I think a lack of places where people can turn to other than maybe a counselor that would be able to deal with that, right. But I think this is where we, you know, need to maybe do a better job as a community and as a society, because the folks are among us. And when you look at situations where people have read, or the police have arrested men, like they could probably be scrolling online and focus on enforcement on the street, and they could do this nonstop. Like, that's how large the issue is. And when you talk to police officers within the counter exploitation unit, they say it's a pretty massive problem, you know, so how do we do that, as a society, that's, that's where we're trying to get some of that traction, going to say, hey, it is a criminal offense, but we're here to help you in some ways not to, to diminish your accountability, but to say something needs to be done about this as well. But I think we also as a society need to take a different approach and say, this is not okay. You know, we cannot allow 15 and 16 or even 20 year olds who are struggling to be exploited by people who use them for their own personal advantage and unfortunately, over the last couple of years, just to give you some examples, Tina Fontaine was a young Indigenous girl 15 years old, was found in the Red River here in 2014, wrapped in a duvet cover with a stone like, like somebody did really horrible things to her and prior to her death, and this was later confirmed by the police as well as the Manitoba advocate for children and youth. One of the suspects that was a suspect in her murder case offered this young Indigenous girl money for sex because he wanted to get over a fight with his wife. This is stated in the report from Macy from the Advocates Office and so this is not okay this is unfortunately not the only case we have multiple cases for youth as well as adults with with this is a reality and I find this unacceptable, you know, both as a as a human being as well as the man that, can we as a society tolerate it? I don't think so. In my point, I can't.
Stuart Murray 30:09
No, I totally agree is a horrific case. And, you know, is another issue that just happened here with the spotlight on Winnipeg and there was a national story for the obvious reasons it was was just horrific. Hennes I know you've done research and I'm going to ask you kind of a two part question. So some of the research on and you've touched on some of these, but just to bring it back, why do men buy sex? So what's the research show on that? And then perhaps more importantly, how do you use education to discourage that?
Hennes Doltze 30:42
So when it comes to the research, first of all, there isn't a whole lot on that topic, particularly here in Canada, there's a couple of articles and research initiatives that I found in the US. So over the years working in this program, we would usually ask, at the beginning of our workshop with the men who had been arrested for purchasing sexual services. Why do men do that? And so over the years, we, we collected that information and those answers, and it could be anything from people being frustrated, stressed or bored. Some people are lonely, have poor self esteem, some do it for the reason, because there's no commitment in the relationship so they're not looking to be, you know, in a relationship that requires time and effort and building that relationship. Some people are terrified of an emotional connection, they're just looking for that physical intimacy. I think the effect of pornography plays an increasing role in this pornography is now available on any device, you know, for any age if children or youth have access to, to the internet, I think that shapes their view of sexuality, as well and unfortunately, it is increasingly violent and degrading, particularly degrading towards women. Like I mentioned the challenges in relationships, but also, I think, sometimes I've seen men who had experienced physical or emotional or sexual abuse as a child as well, that then sort of changes their their views on some of these things. And then on the other spectrum, sort of at the end, there is for some people a sense of control and dominance that they want to exert over people. And those are generally the really the dangerous ones, because they do not care about the well being of the others. It's just about them. And there's a level of violence, and abuse that is really horrific. I think that group is the smallest one, I think the regular biggest group is really people using it as sort of a mechanism to to deal with their own internal stressors, or we're just an escape sometimes as well, so many people have for different reasons for that, but helping men understand this, I think is one way is not the only way, but it's is one way of reaching them and saying, hey, listen, this isn't just that for somebody else, especially if they're exploited or traffiked. But this has an impact on you as well. And when we look at some of the stats, both from the program here in Winnipeg, as well as in the States, about half of the men are married. So they're in a relationship, right? What does this do to their intimate partner, to their girlfriend, or their wife or their partner? We have to look at that as well. And that's often a group that is even less talked about, how does this impact somebody that this person is in a relationship with?
Stuart Murray 33:36
So Hennes, let me just explore with you for a moment. There's a lot of research, there's a lot of programs, you know, empower manage, though you're the lead project lead on that, can you sort of share some of the positives that you've seen out of this, that you can say that we know this works, you know, there's still lots of work to be done, but but we've got real, actual sort of proof statistics, that there are programs that can work and I'd like to talk about that and then I'd like to talk a little bit about what are some of those projects that anybody listening to this, if they want to either get involved or help out, where are they? So first question, give us a sense of something of you would say, in my capacity for what I do for Empower Men, I can tell you that I've seen positives, and here are some of them.
Hennes Doltze 34:26
I think two things, the first part of my answer goes back to the work that I was doing directly with the men and this is when men realize, and when men hear stories of survivors, for example, when they share their personal stories of how they ended up in the sex industry, how they got there, and often it involves, you know, challenges at home, sometimes abuse and violence. And those stories that are direct, that are raw, and that come from people who were exploited and hearing those stories from the women, and having to look the survivor in the eye. You know, when we did those workshops, that was extremely powerful in that regard, because they realize this isn't just some, some object that I can, you know, pay whatever $20 or $50 for, but this is a human being right. And they have to understand and hear their reasoning for that, you know that it wasn't because while they enjoy sex so much, or they just like to make easy money like that, right, some of those misconcept conceptions get busted in that. So I think that works for some, obviously, not for everybody, but I think it puts some perspective on that. And in regards to, for example, our online engagement is a thing, sometimes the feedback that we've gotten is, you know, thanks for providing this information, and for talking to me, because I didn't know where I was gonna go with it. I didn't know who to reach out to. And there's a sense of desperation for some of the men because they realize, well, they have a sense that it may not be really good for them, either. It might give them temporary relief, but it's not good for their own, who they want to be basically, right. So we've heard positive feedback on that and I think just having somebody to listen to without sort of right away being judgmental or dismissive of their reasons, but trying to listen to understand and then to say, okay, what can you do different, right? And is this who you want to be? Are these the values that you espouse to to live, right? So that I think is positive and granted, we don't reach everybody with with this approach. And for some, I think, knowing that law enforcement and police are enforcing the laws, I think is important as well, because I think that sends another message that we as a community through the work of the police and the justice system, which is by no means perfect in any way, shape, or form, but but sends a message that say, this is not okay. And you need to really reconsider this. Here's an option for this, but we do not tolerate that. And recently, there was a court decision from the Manitoba Court of Appeal, that increased a sentencing from 15 months to five years of somebody who had sexually exploited 16 year old Indigenous girl with child welfare involvement. And the Court of Appeal said, we need to send a stronger message that exploiting in this case, it was a youth. But I would include adults in this as well, that this is not okay. So there was a strong message sent by that decision came out about a year and a half ago. So I think there are some promising aspects to it. But as usual, there's there's more than one activity and one approach that we need to take on this. But I think as as a society, we need to really change how we view that, you know, and again, I'm putting this back on us as men to say, what can we do in terms of our leadership as well.
Yeah, I think it's important, I was going to ask you, what are the criminal charges or the criminal convictions of somebody who gets involved in the sexual exploitation of people? And you said that the Court of Appeal, it was 12 months, or you talked, you talked about a specific? Yeah, 15 months was 15 months at that point, but they, for this particular individual to five years.
Yeah they raised it to five years. So the crown appealed the decision from sort of the lower court, and then the Court of Appeal increased the sentence from 15 months to five years and in the description, and the reasoning was very clear around that, that this is not acceptable. And here's why, right, because of the vulnerability of the victim, because of the age, the involvement in the child welfare system, all of those things. So I think that sends a strong message to that. Now, I know that people don't necessarily go online and read those court verdicts. But I think it shows a message to the community and to law enforcement and other people involved that we don't want to tolerate that on that level.
Stuart Murray 39:14
Do you know the judge for the Court of Appeal was that a man or a woman that extended that from 15 months to five years?
Hennes Doltze 39:20
Yeah, that's a good question. I think there was at least, there was three judges, and I believe two were women and one man, but I'm, I'm not entirely sure. But I know at least one woman was part of that group up here.
Stuart Murray 39:33
Hennes, one of the questions I asked is, you know, people want to get help, if they're looking for assistance, or they want to find out quietly, maybe, as opposed to something that's too public. How might somebody get assistance?
Hennes Doltze 39:49
People can get in touch with us through our website empowermen.ca And men with m e n. So the plural form, empowermen.ca. People can go there there's a contact by that people can contact us if it's through an email. There's also a phone number on there and it could be the first start of, you know, a conversation as well as then seeing, okay, what what services are available. Right now we're not in a position to offer direct counseling. We're hoping to start with that in the future, but we can certainly have a conversation anonymously if people decide to do that, to see how can we support this person as well and take it from there. If people are interested in just finding out more about it, whether it's this topic or our work, they can also go on to the website and reach out to us. So we really are interested in engaging with the community, we're happy to do presentations to teams or to agencies, we're very happy to do that and discuss this a little bit more.
Stuart Murray 40:51
Just give us your website. One more time, I'll put it in the show notes, but did the website and a phone number please Hennes.
Hennes Doltze 40:56
So the the website is Empower Men. So E M, P O, W, E, R, M, E, N .CA, empowermen.ca and that would be the best way to get in touch get in touch with us.
Stuart Murray 41:12
Is there a phone number as well, if they wanted to call?
Hennes Doltze 41:15
The best way is really through the website. That's the best way so.
Stuart Murray 41:19
Yeah, great. Well, I haven't little editorial group of wonderful people that helped give me advice about who to get on the podcast and when your name came up, I was intrigued, because most focus on sexual exploitation is on the victims. How do you help these victims who are just put in awful, awful positions, but the fact that you're taking a different approach, to really look at empowering men, and trying to you know, discourage them from being sex buyers to discourage them for getting involved in sexual exploitation, I think is an amazing project. And I'm delighted that you were able to spend a bit of time sort of explaining what it is you're doing, the importance of it, and how people if they want to get more information can go to your website, empower men.ca to find out more about it. And again, that could be not necessarily somebody who feels they're an addict, which would be great spot. But also, if there's organizations would say, we'd love to get a presentation, we'd love to hear more about what it is you're doing. They could also go to your website, and that could be something that that you offer.
Hennes Doltze 42:31
Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, I have to give credit to a lot of the organizations that have been in this field. And I mentioned this at the beginning. So the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, which we fall under. So we're part of that even though we have our own website and name but we are part of the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre. Ka Ni Kanichihkis is another Indigenous organization here, the Clan Mothers, Joy Smith Foundation. So I'm giving credit to all of those incredible folks who have worked there and I think, you know, we're always interested in partnerships and we've worked together with Joy Smith foundations on on some events, as well as theKa Ni Kanichihkis. So always interested to further the conversation. And we want to do this in a collaborative way. Because we believe in that because it really is an issue. I think that requires us as a community to come together. And so we're strong on that. And thank you, Stuart, for reaching out and talking to me. It's a pleasure having those conversations.
Stuart Murray 43:27
Yeah, well, you and your team and the people that you recognize the Hennes Doltze, project lead for empowermen.ca. It's just important that people get a sense that there are people like you and others and organizations that are really trying to strive to improve the lives of those people who have suffered throughout sexual exploitation by going right to the source, and that is the purchaser and I think those stats that I said at the beginning, were mind boggling. So I've just say to you, Hennes Doltze, thank you for taking some time today. Thank you for the great work that you and your team do, and look forward to an opportunity to catch up with you in the future.
Hennes Doltze 44:04
Thank you, Stuart. Thank you for your work On Human Rights and on interviewing different folks from different people, including us and like I said, always a pleasure to do those kinds of things. So thank you very much.
Stuart Murray 44:15
All right, all the best take care.
Matt Cundill 44:17
Thanks for listening to Humans, On Rights. A transcript of this episode is available by clicking the link in the show notes of this episode. Humans, On Rights is recorded and hosted by Stuart Murray. Social media marketing by Buffy Davey. Music by Doug Edmund. For more, go to humanrightshub.ca.
Amanda Logan (Voiceover) 44:37
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