According to the Ontario government and police statistics, more than two-thirds of police-reported human trafficking violations in Canada occur in Ontario. In fact, police-reported incidents of human trafficking in Ontario has increased by 284 per cent in the last five years. Nearly 75 per cent of human trafficking victims identified by police are under the age of 25 with the average age of entry being just 13-years-old.
Just in the GTA alone, seven victims of human trafficking were rescued during 2018 and more than 300 police officers were involved.
With that being said, human trafficking is a major issue in the province.
And the government just announced that they are planning to take steps to resolve the issue.
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The Ontario government will be investing $180 million in violence prevention and sexual assault support in this year’s budget.
Recently, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services Lisa MacLeod visited Voice Found to discuss what more can be done to provide support for survivors so they get the help they need.
The Ontario government also announced that they are investing up to $271,000 in funding for Voice Found, an Ottawa-based organization that supports survivors of sex trafficking.
“Sex trafficking is a crisis throughout Ontario, in our biggest cities and smallest towns. “We are taking action to end these crimes by shining a light on it and engaging with people who know first-hand the devastation it causes to women, young girls and other vulnerable people,” saidMinister MacLeod.
The government will also hold a series of roundtable discussions, chaired by Parliamentary Assistant Belinda Karahalios and Mississauga Centre MPP Natalia Kusendova, about sex trafficking with survivors, Indigenous partners, law enforcement and front-line service providers.
The discussions aim to create a more responsive and supportive system for survivors of violence and trafficking and change attitudes that give rise to violence against women. The province is also looking at new approaches to combat trafficking, support survivors and hold offenders accountable.
“Our government is fighting to end sex trafficking. We know we have a big challenge ahead, and that government cannot do it alone, but I am confident that by raising awareness and working together across ministries, across sectors and across jurisdictions, we can do more to stop these crimes and support survivors,” said MacLeod.
What do you think the province should do about the increasing rate of human trafficking crimes in Ontario?