Ontario Strengthens Indigenous-Led Approaches to Support Victims Of Human Trafficking
Liaisons Program to Develop Supports and Services for Indigenous Communities
The Ontario Native Women's Association (ONWA) has been selected to deliver Ontario's Indigenous Anti-Human Trafficking Liaisons program in areas known for trafficking, including Toronto, Windsor, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, and remote areas identified through consultations with ONWA and other Indigenous partners.
Working in partnership with Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations and service providers, ONWA will support the development of culturally appropriate supports and services for survivors in Indigenous communities throughout the province, especially women and girls who are disproportionately affected by human trafficking.
ONWA has been working for many years to address the issue of trafficking of Indigenous women and girls in Ontario. Through the liaison program, ONWA will continue to work with its Indigenous partners to:
- Support Indigenous communities in providing survivor-focused and localized responses to human trafficking
- Provide advice, training and capacity-building to Indigenous and non-Indigenous service providers
- Contribute to the design, development and implementation of an Indigenous-Led Initiatives Fund
- Identify trends and targeted populations, as well as gaps in existing services.
Supporting indigenous-led approaches to end human trafficking is one of many steps on Ontario's journey of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
Ontario’s Strategy to End Human Trafficking 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.
- ONWA is a provincial not-for-profit organization that represents Indigenous women across Ontario. It was established in 1971 to empower and support Indigenous women and their families throughout the province.
- Human trafficking is a criminal offence that involves recruiting, transporting, transferring, receiving, holding, concealing or harbouring a person, or exercising control, direction or influence over the movements of a person, for the purpose of exploiting them or facilitating their exploitation.
- 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.
- Last week, Ontario introduced The Anti-Human Trafficking Act 2017 that, if passed, would enable individuals to apply for restraining orders against human traffickers and make it easier for survivors to get compensation from those who trafficked them.
- Ontario is a major centre for human trafficking in Canada, accounting for roughly 65 per cent of police-reported cases nationally in 2014.
- In Ontario, Indigenous women and girls are among the most targeted and overrepresented populations for human trafficking.
- Of Ontario’s reported cases of human trafficking, an estimated 70 per cent are for the purpose of sexual exploitation, and the majority of survivors are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
“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. I am confident that the Ontario Native Women’s Association will provide the liaison support that is critical to ensuring the right supports are in place for Indigenous women and girls who have survived human trafficking. The establishment of the Indigenous Anti-Human Trafficking Liaisons program is just one of many steps we are taking in Ontario’s Strategy to End Human Trafficking in Ontario.”
Dr. Helena Jaczek
“Too many Indigenous women and girls in this province are disproportionately affected by human trafficking. The Indigenous Anti-Human Trafficking Liaisons program is a critical component of our government’s commitment to create safer communities and to provide culturally relevant services and supports that will help survivors heal.”
“Led by the Ontario Native Women’s Association, Ontario’s Indigenous Anti-Human Trafficking Liaisons program will provide culturally appropriate and localized responses to human trafficking in Indigenous communities. This is just one of many ways we are working together to support survivors, end human trafficking and advance reconciliation.”
“In 2007 we as a community gathered to address violence against Indigenous women; we together created a strategic framework to address violence from the voices of Indigenous women across the province. We have worked hard over the past 10 years to increase our capacity to focus on these harder issues of human trafficking and I want to thank the province of Ontario for their leadership in creating space for Indigenous women’s voices and addressing these critical issues. We know when we restore the roles of Indigenous women in our families and communities the issues of violence and human trafficking will be elevated.”