Covenant House supports recommended anti sex-trafficking measures
TORONTO, Dec. 10, 2015 – The Ontario government should adopt recommendations to better combat sex trafficking proposed today by the Select Committee on Sexual Violence and Harassment.
In its report, the committee recommended wide-ranging proposals, including measures to improve victim services and better coordinate efforts to tackle the problem of trafficking. Ontario has the bulk of Canadian cases and Toronto has been identified as a trafficking hub. Most victims are local girls, as young as 13, and on average 17.
“Sex trafficking, which accounts for most of the human trafficking cases, is very much a local issue, happening in this province and in our city,” says Bruce Rivers, executive director of Covenant House Toronto. “We are urging the provincial government to take action on today’s report because we need a more coordinated approach to combat this crime and better help these victims.”
Rivers said research shows an estimated 71 percent of trafficking cases nationally involve domestic sex trafficking and 63 percent of those trafficked were Canadian citizens in Ontario.
Recently, Covenant House urged Premier Kathleen Wynne to do more to combat sex trafficking and delivered an online petition signed by more than 10,000 Ontarians supporting the appeal.
Rivers explained that homeless youth are at high risk of traffickers but unsuspecting girls are being lured from malls, schoolyards and online. Last year, the agency supported 46 trafficked and sexually exploited victims – a 130 percent increase over the previous year. These victims are very often middle-class girls.
The select committee’s key recommendations to boost the province’s anti-trafficking measures included:
- providing resources for the development of a coordinated approach to help victims of human trafficking, allowing providers of support services and the criminal justice system to share information and work collaboratively
- developing a multi-ministerial, province-wide strategy on human trafficking
As Canada's largest homeless youth agency, Covenant House Toronto changes lives by providing the widest range of services and support under one roof. A national leader, we educate and advocate for change to help at-risk, homeless and trafficked youth by influencing public policy and delivering prevention and awareness programs.
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