Human trafficking is a heinous crime that 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.
Today, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Bill Blair, announced almost $500,000 over four years to REACH Edmonton Council for Safe Communities (REACH Edmonton) for a collaborative project entitled Integrated Response for Victims of Sex Trafficking and Exploitation: Red Deer North, Alberta. This funding is made available under the Contribution Program to Combat Serious and Organized Crime.
The objective of this project is to develop a coordinated community response to victims of human trafficking in Red Deer, Edmonton, and surrounding communities. Driven by their needs, all aspects of this project will be guided by insights from survivor experience, the wisdom of Indigenous knowledge, and best practices drawn from evolving work on trauma, intercultural competency, and gender-based violence.
In collaboration with REACH Edmonton, partners such as Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) and, the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE), will work with law enforcement community partners and stakeholders across the province to create an integrated community response to enhance resources and provide immediate safety and transitional support to victims of human trafficking.
Through this funding, REACH Edmonton, partners, and stakeholders will develop Alberta-specific training drawing on multiple resources for frontline workers who may come in contact with victims of human trafficking. This curriculum will increase the capacity of law enforcement, service providers, and shelter workers to meet the needs of victims in a way that is trauma-informed, culturally sensitive, and respectful to the survivor’s lived experience.
“I was pleased to announce this federal funding to REACH Edmonton to support their critical ongoing work to help victims of human trafficking escape their situation and begin their healing and recovery process. This project will increase Northern Alberta’s collective capacity to respond to human trafficking and support victims. 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
“REACH Edmonton is proud to receive this funding on behalf of CEASE, ALERT, and other important partners while recognizing the great work that is being done by Act Alberta, Not In My City, the Alberta Taskforce on Human Trafficking and all others working to aid victims and survivors of sex trafficking in Alberta. This funding will go a long way to raising awareness about human trafficking and helping survivors.”
– Jan Fox, Executive Director, REACH Edmonton
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.
Testimony from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has highlighted strong links between human trafficking and the disproportionately high rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls, noting that the extent of human trafficking and victimization of Indigenous women is grossly under-reported.
The Government of Canada has recently launched a national human trafficking public awareness campaign. The campaign aims to 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.