September 5, 2019 – Oakville North-Burlington, Ontario –Yesterday, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, announced new National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking. The Strategy is supported by a financial commitment of $57.22 million. The new Strategy takes a whole-of-government approach that will:
- empower victims and survivors to regain self-confidence and control over their lives;
- prevent more of these crimes from taking place;
- better protect those who are most vulnerable to trafficking;
- prosecute human traffickers for their heinous crimes; and
- embrace partnerships with other organizations to maximize our impact.
This announcement builds on funding originally announced in Budget 2018 that provided $14.51 million over five years and $2.89 million per year ongoing for the new Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline for victims and survivors in need of services and support. The hotline is a national, multilingual (200 languages, including 27 Indigenous languages), 24/7/365 service operated by the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, a national charitable organization.
Human trafficking is an abhorrent crime that includes sexual exploitation and forced labour, which devastates the victims and survivors, their families and society. Most victims and survivors of human trafficking are women and girls, including Indigenous women and girls, and marginalized groups in Canada. The Government of Canada is committed to countering this scourge.
To support this work, the Minister of Public Safety has appointed a new Special Advisor on Human Trafficking, retired RCMP Assistant Commissioner and member of the Mohawk First Nation from Kanesatake Shirley Cuillierrier. Ms. Cuillierrier will work with survivors and community organizations and offer ongoing advice and recommendations to the Government on its efforts to combat human trafficking and bring awareness domestically and internationally.
In Halton, the Halton Collaborative Against Human Trafficking (HCAHT) was founded to create and support a unified Halton community and regional response to combat human trafficking. Sexual Assault & Violence Intervention Services of Halton (SAVIS) is the lead agency and acts as a backbone organization to the HCAHT. The HCAHT works as a hub of community efforts to advance the rights of survivors of human trafficking, coordinate the delivery of services to people who have been and/or in situations of human trafficking and collectively break down and address systemic barriers survivors face when accessing services.
Halton Women’s Place provides shelter and crisis services for physically, emotionally, financially and sexually abused women and their dependent children and is dedicated to ending violence against women and their children. Many of the women seeking housing are survivors of human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is a despicable crime that disproportionately affects women, girls, and the marginalized. We must put an end to human trafficking, support victims and survivors of this devastating crime and bring its perpetrators to justice. Backed by $75 million in additional investments, the new National Strategy strengthens Canada’s ability to fight this abhorrent attack on basic human rights and dignity.”
– The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
“I have seen the heart-breaking consequences of human trafficking first hand through my work as Vice Chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. I am proud of our government’s efforts to combat human trafficking and sexual-and-gender-based violence, in particular as it relates to empowering victims. The focus on empowerment in our National Strategy enhances support and services to victims and survivors of human trafficking, helping them regain control and independence.”
– Pam Damoff, Member of Parliament for Oakville North-Burlington
“Halton Women’s Place applauds the Federal Government’s new national Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking. Human trafficking is an issue that destroys lives and devastates families. Halton Women’s Place provides services to women who have been or are being trafficked in Halton Region and beyond.”
– Diane Beaulieu, Executive Director of Halton Women’s Place
“SAVIS of Halton is pleased to see that the Federal Government of Canada is prioritizing anti-human trafficking efforts through their recently announced National Strategy to end human trafficking. At SAVIS, we support survivors of human trafficking in Halton through our trauma-informed Continuum of Care program; we provide them with housing supports, practical assistance, community supports, and ultimately help them to empower themselves through their own healing journeys. Over the past two years, SAVIS of Halton has supported over 100 survivors of human trafficking in our communities.”
– Alma Arguello, Executive Director, SAVIS