February 19, 2019 8:24 pm
Updated: February 19, 2019 8:31 pm

‘Very, very black and white’: Country music star Paul Brandt discusses human trafficking with Durham police

Canadian country music star Paul Brandt is performing in Oshawa Tuesday. But before he goes on the stage, he met with DRPS's Human Trafficking unit to lend his support to the fight. As Aaron Streck reports, the unit says it's seeing an increase in numbers.

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Canadian country music star Paul Brandt is performing in Oshawa Tuesday night, as part of his The Journey Tour.

But before he takes the stage, he met with Durham Regional Police Services Human Trafficking Unit to lend his support to the fight.

Brandt has sang about his home province, big dreams and his journey in life but the Canadian country music hall-of-famer is using his celebrity status to shine light on an even bigger issue — human trafficking.

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“This is very, very black and white, there’s no two ways about it. Sexual exploitation of children is absolutely wrong and we can’t allow this to happen in our free society,” said Brandt.

READ MORE: #NotInMyCity: Paul Brandt partners with Calgary police to tackle human trafficking

He has been working against human trafficking for the last 15 years. He met up with DRPS Det.-Sgt. Ryan Connelly in the human-trafficking unit to discuss the growing issue.

“They see where the potential results will lead us if we allow this to continue to happen and it’s exciting to see other people standing up on the side of good for this,” said Brandt.

Last year, the DRPS Human Trafficking Unit conducted 108 investigations, which lead to 41 arrests with more than 180 charges laid.

Of the 131 victims, they helped, 42 of them who were under 18 years old.

“Some of the alarming stats are obviously the amount of victims we encounter, and especially the victims we encounter under the age of 18, we are definitely seeing an uptick,” said Connolly.

READ MORE: Human trafficking awareness program launches in Durham

Brandt works with an organization out of Calgary called #NotInMyCity.’ Before every concert, he talks with VIPs about human trafficking and during his show, a video plays to inform fans.

“We’ve had great success with it. It’s starting to stir this conversation up a bit across the country, get past that initial discomfort and look for solutions so that we can work together across the entire country,” said Brandt.

While one is a country music star and the other a police officer, they both have the same goal.

“It’s great to have an ally such as Paul on side in the fight against human trafficking. He definitely gets it — he has a lot of knowledge about human trafficking. You can tell he’s very passionate about it,” said Connolly.

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