Former Sunday school teacher forced to carry out 'humiliating' act by border officials

Will Metcalfe
Contributor
Jill Knapp says she was forced to 'open my butt cheeks' and squat when searched by Canadian border agents who suspected her of drug smuggling. (CBC)

A former Sunday school teacher says she was traumatised by being forced to 'open her butt cheeks and squat' during a strip-search, it has been claimed.

Jill Knapp, 39, said she was returning from a trip to Mexico City when officials at Vancouver International Airport, in Canada, accused her of smuggling drugs.

She was made to undergo a secondary baggage check before sniffer dogs were called in and a strip search was carried out, when the border agent asked her to “open her butt cheeks and squat”.

She told CBC News: "It was traumatising. Within two minutes he called me a drug smuggler, mentioned a strip search, and even said that he was going to send me to the hospital for an X-ray [to look for drugs].

Jill, with CBC presenter Erica Johnson. (CBC)

"And that was before he even asked me any questions."

She told the border agent that she had been visiting her husband and was trying to secure him residence in Canada.

However, he demanded her phone and password before she was placed in detention before she volunteered for a strip search.

Two female officers then carried out the search, reportedly ordering Jill, who told them she was a Sunday school teacher, to strip from the waist up.

They then told her to take off her clothes from the waist down.

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She said: "They actually made me turn around, open up my butt cheeks and squat. I was just in shock. I didn't quite understand what it involved."

After finding nothing the guards released her and she returned home.

She is now speaking out about the incident, which happened in January 2016, as part of a campaign for greater scrutiny of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

The CBSA told CBC that it could not discuss Jill's case due to privacy issues, although when she filed an official complaint an agency spokesman said that border guards had followed standard procedures and guidelines.

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