Ontario Names Director of Anti-Human Trafficking Office
Jennifer Richardson to Coordinate Ontario’s Strategy to End Human Trafficking
Following a rigorous selection process, Ontario has named Jennifer Richardson as the Director of the new Provincial Anti-Human Trafficking Coordination Office.
Ms. Richardson will be responsible for coordinating the implementation of Ontario's Strategy to End Human Trafficking, working across ministries and in collaboration with the law enforcement, justice, social services, health, education, and child welfare sectors.
Ms. Richardson has spent over 22 years combating human trafficking, and was most recently the senior manager of Manitoba's Sexual Exploitation Unit and Tracia's Trust: Manitoba's Sexual Exploitation Strategy. Throughout her career, she has developed specialized training for people all across Canada and the United States on how to work with sex trafficked and sexually exploited children and youth. In addition, she has been recognized for her research and analysis of human trafficking trends, and the advice, guidance and leadership that she has provided to government, law enforcement, Indigenous organizations, child welfare agencies, community groups and non-governmental organizations. Ms. Richardson has lived experience as a survivor of human trafficking.
Ontario's Strategy to End Human Trafficking delivers on Premier Kathleen Wynne's commitment made in February 2016 to address human trafficking and is a part of the government's vision to ensure that everyone in the province can live in safety -- free from the threat, fear or experience of exploitation and violence.
- "Human trafficking” is a criminal offence and involves recruiting, transporting, transferring, receiving, holding, concealing or harbouring a person, or exercising control, direction or influence over the movements of a person, for purpose of exploiting them or facilitating their exploitation.
- In June, Ontario announced the Strategy to End Human Trafficking, investing up to $72 million in increasing awareness and coordination, enhancing justice-sector initiatives and improving survivors' access to services.
- Of Ontario’s reported cases of human trafficking, about 70 per cent are for the purpose of sexual exploitation, and the majority of survivors are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
- Individuals who are most vulnerable as targets for human trafficking include Indigenous people, young women, at-risk youth, youth in care, migrant workers, and persons with mental health and addiction issues.
- Ontario is a major centre for human trafficking in Canada, accounting for roughly 65 percent of police-reported cases nationally in 2014.
“I have great confidence in Ms. Richardson to lead the Anti-Human Trafficking Coordination Office. It is critical for survivors of human trafficking to have access to the supports and services they need to leave a life of violence and exploitation. Through this important initiative, our government will fund agencies and frontline workers, including those serving Indigenous communities, to help survivors of human trafficking live in safety.”
“The creation of the Anti-Human Trafficking Coordination Office is an important step toward ending human trafficking in Ontario. Ms. Richardson’s vast experience, from the frontline to the legislature, will be invaluable as we work to ensure that survivors have the supports and protections they need to heal from this deplorable crime.”
“I am extremely honored to be selected as the first Director of the Provincial Anti-Human Trafficking Coordination Office. I am confident that my personal and professional experience on all forms of human trafficking over the last 22 years in Manitoba, across Canada and the United States, will be extremely valuable in collaborating with community organizations, people with lived experience, child welfare agencies, law enforcement, and Indigenous leadership and their communities on this very important issue.”