The Highway of Tears is the name given to a tragic 720 km stretch of Highway 16 in northern British Columbia, Canada, where a string of killings and disappearances took place between 1969 and 2011. Police estimates of 19 victims are hotly disputed by Aboriginal organizations, Amnesty International and local communities who believe the actual toll to be much higher – perhaps even double. What is for certain is that the majority of these victims were young women of Aboriginal descent.

Stretching between Prince Rupert and Prince George, the remote Highway 16 follows rivers and mountains and passes by a dozen or so small communities and First Nations reserves. Poorly-served by public transport, this has become a popular hitchhiking route, especially for First Nations people who can’t afford to run a car. Dozens of women have disappeared without a trace, and most likely have lost their lives, but not a single case has been solved. An infamous investigation has stretched over decades and the police service has been slated for failing to make progress. In 2015, a damning report regarding deleted Transportation Ministry emails was brought to light. Without proper public transport, women are still vulnerable to predators, and local communities are begging the government to take urgent action to make this highway safer.
Jul 11, 2016
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