Halifax, Nova Scotia
Human trafficking is a heinous crime that devastates victims, survivors, their families, communities and society as a whole. It also disproportionately affects women and girls, as well as vulnerable and marginalized individuals. The Government of Canada is committed to ending human trafficking in all its forms, including sexual exploitation and forced labour.
Today, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Bill Blair, announced almost $55,000 to Saint Mary’s University for their Community Hackathon: Addressing Human Trafficking in Atlantic Canada project. This funding is made available under the Contribution Program to Combat Serious and Organized Crime.
This project kicked off today with a virtual hackathon. This two-day event is bringing together post-secondary students from across Atlantic Canada, as well as service providers, law enforcement and others, to explore innovative ways that technology can be used to raise awareness of human trafficking.
For a month following the hackathon, participants will continue to receive mentorship and training from Saint Mary’s University to further develop their ideas and learn how they may be applied in practice.
This week, the Government of Canada also launched its national human trafficking public awareness campaign. The campaign will raise awareness among Canadian youth and parents of the misperceptions of human trafficking and increase understanding of its warning signs and how to report suspected cases to the appropriate authorities.
“I was pleased to participate in Saint Mary’s University’s virtual hackathon today. With the help of almost $55,000 in federal funding, the University is building on the important work it is doing to raise awareness on the signs of human trafficking, through technological innovation and collaboration. Through projects like this one, we are working together to build a safer and more resilient Canada, where all people are protected from human trafficking and its harms.”
– The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
“At Saint Mary’s University, community is at the heart of all that we do. We are committed to research and innovation that improves the wellbeing of our communities. This hackathon is an example of this work and we are pleased to partner with the Government of Canada as we raise awareness of human trafficking, find ways to combat this crime, and improve the lives of Canadians.”
– Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray, President and Vice-Chancellor, Saint Mary’s University
In September 2019, the Government of Canada launched a comprehensive National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking that brings together federal efforts and is supported by an investment of $57.22 million over five years and $10.28 million ongoing.
This builds on previous investments of $14.51 million over five years, and $2.89 million per year to establish the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline, which launched in May 2019, as well as ongoing work across the Government of Canada to combat human trafficking.
In 2020, Public Safety Canada launched a call for proposals for organizations working to prevent and address human trafficking and support at-risk populations and survivors. Through this call, $8.4 million is being made available for twenty projects that work to prevent and address human trafficking and support survivors.
The Community Hackathon: Addressing Human Trafficking in Atlantic Canada project aims to increase youth awareness of human trafficking and improve technology to facilitate the reporting of potential human trafficking situations to the appropriate authorities.