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Miss and former madam fight human trafficking 0

By Erica Bulman, 24 Hours Vancouver

(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)

(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."


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