Ontario is launching a new strategy to combat human trafficking

 

You might not know this, but 400 series highways are some of the most commonly used highways for human trafficking in the country.

Recently, the provincial government has announced they are launching a strategy intended to help combat this problem that has been on the rise since 2009.

“Ontario has more police-reported incidents of human trafficking than any other province in Canada,” Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General, said in a news release.

“Ensuring the safety and security of Ontarians is the government’s most fundamental responsibility, which is why we are committed to providing ongoing funding to stop the criminals who are profiting from this crime, so we can protect our children and keep our communities safe,” she continued.

The strategy will be co-led by Jones, and Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues.

As part of the strategy, the Ontario government will be committing $20 million that will go towards victim supports and initiatives that will be put in place to prevent human trafficking.

“During discussions across the province, frontline workers and survivors of human trafficking told us there is a need for consistent and reliable funding,” Dunlop said in the same news release.

“We are taking action to respond to what we heard. This annual investment for dedicated anti-human trafficking initiatives will ensure victim supports are available on an ongoing basis, and that critical prevention and enforcement actions continue,” she continued.

According to the release, 66 per cent of all reported cases of human trafficking in Canada occur in Ontario.
This is a problem that primarily impacts young people, as 70 per cent of victims identified by police are under the age of 25.

Additionally, the average recruitment age for sex trafficking is just 13 years.

According to Stats Canada, this is a problem that has been growing in Canada since 2009.

In 2009, there were 50 reported cases of human trafficking, while in 2016, that number had risen nearly 600 per cent to almost 350 reported cases.

More alarming is the fact that those numbers only account for instances in which police were able to intervene and don’t include the countless number of cases that go undetected.

Photo courtesy of Stats Canada

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