Durham Police unveil specially wrapped cruiser in Whitby to mark World Day Against Human Trafficking

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Published July 30, 2021 at 5:47 pm

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The Durham Region Human Trafficking Coalition unveiled a newly wrapped police cruiser designed to raise awareness and combat human trafficking.

The unveiling helped mark World Day Against Trafficking in Persons and comes on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that the Ontario government will invest $11.5 million over three years in a pilot project that will see specialized intervention teams in Durham and Toronto established to protect children and youth from sex trafficking.

The new Children at Risk of Exploitation (CARE) Units pair child protection workers with police officers on the frontlines to identify and locate children and youth who are being sex trafficked, connect victims and families to services, and investigate and hold offenders accountable.

This theme for World Day Against Trafficking in Persons this year is “Victims’ Voices Lead the Way,” to highlight the importance of listening to and learning from survivors of human trafficking. The newly wrapped cruiser promotes the Durham Region Human Trafficking Coalition website – StopHT.com – a website developed to assist victims and direct them to local agencies that can help.

Human trafficking is the fastest-growing crime in Canada. Sixty-six per cent of all human trafficking in Canada occurs in Ontario and it is a growing problem in Durham Region, with human trafficking investigations nearly tripling in the past three years, said Detective Dave Davies from the Human Trafficking Unit.

“The reality is that human trafficking is happening in Durham Region. It is happening in hotels throughout the Region, not far from our schools and other places where youth hang out,” he said. “This vehicle will be on patrol to raise awareness of StopHT.com, in hopes that victims and potential victims see the vehicle, visit the website and learn how victims are lured by traffickers, as well as where they can get local help if they are being trafficked.”

“Not only is the new HT DRPS cruiser an incredible tool to create awareness of human trafficking in the Durham community, if even one survivor who sees it driving by will be guided to the StopHT.com website to see all the supports we offer in the community, it will be a win,” added Carly Kalish, Executive Director of Victim Services of Durham Region, one of the participating agencies.

If you are a victim of or suspect human trafficking, contact Durham Regional Police at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 5600 or Durham Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

The Durham Region Human Trafficking Coalition is made up of the following agencies:

  • Durham Regional Police
  • Victim Services of Durham Region
  • SafeHope Home
  • Victim Witness Assistance Program (Ministry of the Attorney General)
  • Set Free Durham
  • Bethesda House
  • Murray Mckinnon Foundation
  • CAREA Community Health Centre
  • Niijkiwendidaa Anishnaabekwewag Services Circle
  • Durham Mental Health Services
  • Region of Durham Social Services (Income and Employment Supports Division)
  • Durham Rape Crisis Centre
  • Women’s Multicultural Resource and Counselling Centre of Durham (WMRCC)
  • DRIVEN
  • Youth Justice Services (Ministry of Children and Youth Services)
  • Herizon House
  • YWCA Durham
  • Lakeridge Health
  • Catholic Family Services of Durham
  • Durham Children’s Aid Society
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