Miss and former madam fight human trafficking
(L) Tania Fiolleau, former brothel madam and Tara Teng, Miss Canada are teaming up for a Canada-wide tour called Ignite the Road to Justice to battle human trafficking and sexual slavery. The tour kicks off in Vancouver on Aug. 15. (CARMINE MARINELLI, 24 HOURS)
A battered wife who was fighting for the custody of her two sons, Tania Fiolleau remembers the day she first traded her body for money in 1996 in a desperate attempt to pay her legal fees.
Just 25, living in shelters and denied legal aid, Fiolleau answered an ad that promised "up to $1,500 a day."
"I had no idea," she told 24 hours. "That night, I couldn't get home fast enough to scrub my body raw from all the filth encrusted around my heart, my soul."
Fiolleau - who eventually became one of the most successful brothel madams in Canada employing over 500 prostitutes - has since quit the sex trade and today, kicked off a three-week anti-human trafficking cross-country tour with Miss Canada, Tara Teng.
"I'm dreading this. Tara is Miss Canada, 22, her father's a pastor," said Fiolleau, overwhelmed with guilt with her role in the trade. "Then you've got me, who married into an international organized crime family and a former madam.
"The last thing I want to do is stand up and tell everyone what I did. But the public needs to be educated."
Teng became an advocate after seeing a documentary about human trafficking in Thailand.
"Then about five years ago, I found out my neighbour's daughter was trafficked at 14. All of a sudden this wasn't Thailand anymore. It's right here in Canada."