Ontario Increasing French-Language Supports for Young Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking in Hamilton-NiagaraPublished on September 27, 2021
Investment in new community program will help young victims rebuild their lives
WELLAND – The Ontario government is investing more than $940,000 over five years in a new community-based program to provide more young victims and survivors of human trafficking in Hamilton-Niagara with the French-language services they need. With this funding the Centre de santé communautaire Hamilton/Niagara will provide French-language services such as psychotherapy support, referrals and assistance accessing resources, as well as outreach and prevention for children and youth. Providing better protection and increased supports for children and youth who have been sexually exploited or are at risk is a key focus of Ontario’s strategy to combat human trafficking.
“Access to specialized supports is critical for victims and survivors of sex trafficking so they can heal and rebuild their lives,” said Jane McKenna, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues. “This investment will increase French-language services dedicated to children and youth who have been trafficked or are at risk, so more young people have access to the help they need to stay safe and recover.”
This new program is funded through Ontario’s Anti-Human Trafficking Community Supports Fund to increase services across the province. The government is investing a total of $96 million in community-based services and Indigenous-led supports for victims and survivors of human trafficking over five years as part of the province’s Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy 2020-2025.
“This funding responds to a key need for more French-language services to support victims and survivors of human trafficking in Hamilton-Niagara,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Francophone Affairs. “Making more services available in French and increasing outreach to the Francophone community in this region will help protect more children and youth from this crime.”
“Through early intervention and access to multidisciplinary support and guidance, the Centre de santé communautaire Hamilton/Niagara will be able to promote a better understanding of the risks of human trafficking among the Francophone population, provide tools to help victims heal from their trauma, improve their physical, social and mental well-being, and encourage healthy stress management,” said Loubna Moric, Coordinator – Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse Team, Centre de santé communautaire Hamilton/Niagara.
In total, 27 new projects are being funded through the Anti-Human Trafficking Community Supports and Indigenous-led Initiatives funds to provide a more comprehensive network of supports across the province. This investment is part of Ontario’s $307-million Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy, which aims to raise awareness of the issue, protect victims and intervene early, support survivors and hold offenders accountable.
“Sex trafficking is a very serious issue facing Ontario today,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West. “This investment will increase French-language supports in this region, helping more young victims and survivors of this crime get the specialized, community-based programming they need.”
- Ontario is a hub for human trafficking, accounting for the majority of police-reported incidents in Canada.
- In 2019, 65 per cent of known human trafficking victims identified by police were under the age of 25 and 22 per cent were under 18.
- Ontario’s Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy represents the largest total investment in dedicated anti-human trafficking supports and services in Canada.