Covenant House welcomes new provincial plan to combat sex trafficking


Covenant House Executive Director Bruce Rivers hosts the provincial anti-trafficking strategy announcement with Ontario cabinet ministers (l – r) Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues Tracy MacCharles, Community and Social Services Minister Helen Jaczek, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi and David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.

TORONTO, ON, June 30, 2016 – The province’s new anti-trafficking plan announced today at Covenant House Toronto, is a move in the right direction, the agency says.

The new plan for a coordinated and comprehensive provincial strategy was unveiled at the downtown agency, a leader in providing services to young victims of sex trafficking.

“The new provincial plan is a significant step in the right direction,” Bruce Rivers, Covenant House Toronto executive director said. “We look forward to continuing to work with the government as it moves toward a more coordinated and focused approach to address this critical issue in Ontario.”

Ontario will invest up to $72 million in an anti-human trafficking strategy aimed at increasing awareness and coordination, enhancing justice-sector initiatives and improving survivors' access to services.

Four provincial cabinet ministers presented the plan, including Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues Tracy MacCharles, Community and Social Services Minister Helen Jaczek, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi and David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.

Earlier this year, Covenant House launched its own wide-ranging anti-trafficking plan along with a $10-million fundraising campaign to support it over the next five years.

The agency’s “Urban Response Model” includes measures ranging from prevention to enhanced victim services, including its new transitional housing program, and a research and evaluation component to assess the services and develop an online resource hub. The housing program for young, female sex-trafficking victims is set to open in the fall.

Covenant House has partnered with more than 10 leading youth-serving organizations expert in trauma and addiction, police and legal professionals and hospitals.

Sex trafficking, the most common type of human trafficking in Canada, is a growing public issue and is a largely domestic crime. Some ninety percent of victims are female and most are Canadian girls as young as 13, and on average 17.

Toronto and Ontario have been identified as Canadian trafficking hubs. City police estimate the local number of victims may be in the thousands, although incidents often go undetected.


Contact: Rose Cino
Manager, Communications
cino@covenanthouse.ca
(416) 204-7081

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