Ontario Supporting Specialized Services for Human Trafficking Survivors
Frontline Partners to Offer New Survivor-Centred Support Programs and Prevention Initiatives
Ontario is helping survivors of human trafficking to heal and re-build their lives through new programs and services designed to meet their unique and often complex needs, as well as initiatives that aim to prevent human trafficking.
Minister of Community and Social Services, Dr. Helena Jaczek and Minister of the Status of Women, Indira Naidoo-Harris announced 45 projects to help end human trafficking and support survivors, supported by the Anti-Human Trafficking Community Supports Fund and the Indigenous-led Initiatives Fund. This includes:
- East Metro Youth Services in Toronto, which will offer peer mentorship, public education and trauma therapy, as well as supports to assist families with the reintegration of survivors.
- Voice Found in Ottawa, which will develop a program led by a nurse practitioner who will provide survivors of human trafficking aged 13 and older access to a range of health services in a safe, non-judgemental and culturally sensitive setting.
- Legal Assistance of Windsor, which will offer crisis intervention, legal system navigation, education and outreach, with a focus on labour trafficking and exploitation.
- The Ontario Native Women’s Association, which will launch a Human Trafficking Response Team to respond 24/7 to women at risk of, or leaving, a trafficking situation. A broad range of client-centred services will be offered, using a strengths-based approach that honours the voices of women with lived experience.
Human trafficking is a deplorable crime as well as a human rights violation that robs the safety, livelihood and dignity of those who are exploited and abused. Because survivors are controlled mentally, physically and emotionally by traffickers, it is difficult for them to leave and find help. Those who do find a way out often need support in a range of areas, such as trauma counseling, addictions recovery, job training and more.
This funding represents a significant milestone in Ontario’s four-year Strategy to End Human Trafficking, announced in June 2016. The government is committed to addressing human trafficking so that everyone in the province can live in safety -- free from the threat, fear or experience of exploitation and violence.
- Ontario is providing approximately $18.6 million to 44 partners and agencies for projects up to three years as part of the Strategy to End Human Trafficking. Projects were selected following a competitive call for applications for the Anti-Human Trafficking Community Supports Fund and the Indigenous-led Initiatives Fund.
- Hundreds of partners were engaged to inform the creation of these new funds, including those who work in victim services, children and youth services, healthcare, education, and violence against women, as well as Indigenous partners and communities.
- Additional funding will be made available through the joint federal-provincial Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH) program, which funds the creation and repair of affordable housing, down payment assistance for home ownership, and rental assistance to families and individuals in need, such as human trafficking survivors.
- Ontario’s Strategy to End Human Trafficking includes an investment of up to $72 million to increase awareness and coordination, enhance justice-sector initiatives and improve survivors' access to services.
- Ontario is a major centre for human trafficking in Canada, accounting for more than two-thirds of cases nationally.
- Of Ontario’s reported cases of human trafficking, most are for the purpose of sexual exploitation, and the majority of survivors in these cases are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
- In Ontario, Indigenous women and girls are among the most targeted and overrepresented groups of trafficked individuals.
“Some people may be shocked to learn that human trafficking takes place in Ontario, but it’s no surprise to our partners who have been working with survivors for years. This support means specialized staff and resources will be available to help survivors move through trauma so they can live freely and in control of their own lives.”
Dr. Helena Jaczek
“Human trafficking is a brutal crime that robs people of their safety and livelihood and often leads to devastating, long-lasting trauma. It is so important to have specialized services that meet the needs of survivors. The hard work of our community partners at the local level will help survivors of human trafficking access vital services to reconstruct their lives and heal.”
“Human trafficking is a reprehensible crime, one that significantly impacts Indigenous women and youth. Indigenous organizations in Ontario play a key role in supporting survivors of human trafficking. Today’s announcement will ensure these organizations can continue to deliver culturally appropriate wraparound services to survivors in their communities.”
“The 360°kids HOPE program will provide first stage and transitional housing with wrap-around services for survivors of human trafficking, aged 16 to 26. The services will support survivors by providing trauma informed care, safe housing, a nurturing environment, medical attention and life skills that promote positive transitions into healthy adult lifestyles.”
“The Aakode’ewin Program recognizes that Indigenous women and girls who have been trafficked are more than survivors – they are triumphant women. The program respects women’s empowerment, and will be responsive to their needs through service providers that are trauma-informed, in spaces that are safe and supportive of their immediate as well as long-term needs.”
“Collaboration and trauma-informed care are critical to meet the complex needs of human trafficking victims. The HEALTH clinic will model these two elements as well as provide opportunities for survivors to be employed and to use their lived experience to educate others.”