A M’kmaw woman, who found her image on a pornography website, says she’s at a loss on how her image appeared on the site and isn’t clear on her next steps.
“I’m so scared, I don’t even know what to do,” said one woman who discovered images of herself on the site under a section called “Mikmaq Chicks.”
One photo was taken from her LinkedIn page, others are when she was underage.
“I felt exploited and disrespected and worried for the youth and other like community members,” she said.
Many photos on the website are intimate which were shared privately, other photos are the type you would post on Facebook.
In the comments, users refer to the women by their full names and request other users to seek out and post nude images.
APTN News is not disclosing the name of the site and there is little information that explains its origins but followers are invited to post images anonymously.
“The safest and best anonymous adult porn site with no logging,” the site says on the home page.
Under the Canada tab, there are various labels including one that says Mikmaq Chicks.
The RCMP told APTN in an email statement “It is illegal in Canada to share an intimate image of an adult without their permission, it is also illegal to share an intimate image of anyone under the age of 18 as that would be considered child pornography.
One victim, who spoke to APTN News on condition of anonymity, said she was sent a screen shot, so she went to the site.
“I read the names and then let those people know their names were being exploited like that. Some girls mentioned were underage at the time that is beyond wrong,” she said.
APTN spoke with eight women who said they don’t know how their images or names got posted to the website.
They are afraid to come forward and want the website taken down.
One victim agreed to interview with APTN to raise awareness, she also asked to remain anonymous.
Her photo was not intimate, “it was a regular photo you might see on Facebook.”
She was told about the photo by her girlfriend, who also found her own images on the site.
“Yes, I’ve seen a few people that I knew or heard of and it was crazy that their pictures were there that a lot of them probably didn’t even know that their pictures are on that site and a lot of them were just normal Facebook pictures and like selfies and people asking for their nudes,” she said.
The victims said they have gone to the police.
“They told me they have gotten a lot of calls and a file is open, and they are investigating,” said another woman.
The RCMP said they can’t confirm whether there is an ongoing investigation and that victims may report their stories to Cybertip.ca.
Marion Buller, the former chief commissioner for the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, said that isn’t enough.
“We know without any doubt that human traffickers and others, other abusers target Indigenous women and girls and so all the more reason for the police to start every active transparent investigation into this particular situation and to be accountable to the communities, thecommunities can feel safe,” said Buller.
Pictou Landing First Nation Chief Andrea Paul said on Facebook Thursday that the RCMP contacted her and said “there is an active investigation happening on these sites (there are a number of them) and they will be getting shut down,”
In 2018, the Atlantic region had the highest rate per population for human trafficking.
And in 2020, according to the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability, one in five women killed in Canada were Indigenous.
“I’m just sad and hurt for the victims and that there’s people who are making our own Mi’kmaw women to be victims,” one victim told APTN,
One woman posted a screen shot of the website to alert other victims. And help prevent more victims, and help communities heal.
“We’re working together with like warriors, elders, a lot of Indigenous women and a lot of the girl’s parents are also involved in the community effort just because we have to protect our children,” she said.
It’s not clear how the site is getting its information or how it disseminates.
APTN did not reach out to the site’s owners because of the amount of information that needed to be disclosed.
Editor’s Note: APTN removed the name of the complainant because she received threats after the story was posted.