The petition asked Premier Kathleen Wynne to move to a broader, more coordinated approach to address the growth of sex trafficking in our province. Ontario has the bulk of this form of modern day slavery that most often ensnares local girls. In fact, almost half the charges laid between 2006 and 2011 were in Toronto.
The province could escalate its efforts to tackle this horrific crime with coordinated law enforcement, consistent specialized services for victims and targeted public awareness campaigns with a focus on prevention.
Other provinces, like British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba have made a more comprehensive effort to counter this crime. BC has created a provincial policy framework while Alberta has worked closely with its community agencies to coordinate initiatives.
For over thirty years, we have worked to help young women victimized by sex trafficking to reclaim their lives. In the past year alone, our caseload of sex trafficking victims has double to 46. Increasingly, these have been young, middle-class girls. These girls are some of our most traumatized young people and they need specialized, wrap-around support.
Through prevention, prosecution, victim assistance and advocacy, it is our hope that Ontario will reduce the terrible human cost of sex trafficking in Ontario today. In the meantime, we will adapt to serve the growing complex needs of these young victims who seek our help.
We are heartened and grateful that our petition garnered so much support from concerned individuals and organizations. Click here to read the letter to Premier Wynne.
For more about this issue, please watch our four-minute sex trafficking awareness video. It is a dramatization of Amy’s experience, a young woman forced into prostitution by a trafficker she thought was her boyfriend.