Canada's Anti-Human Trafficking Newsletter
In this Issue
Training, Programs and Events
National Forum on Human Trafficking
On March 23-24, 2016, Public Safety Canada (PS) hosted its Annual National Forum on Human Trafficking in partnership with the Canadian Women's Foundation. The event was held in Toronto, Ontario, with over one hundred participants in attendance, representing law enforcement, NGOs, provincial and federal government sectors. The two-day event included plenary sessions, concurrent workshops and a keynote speaker, as well as a World Café with four main themes: root causes; principles to inform policy; frontline response improvements; and outside the box. PS Associate Deputy Minister, Gina Wilson, and Canadian Women's Foundation CEO, Scheherazade Hirji, opened the event by acknowledging the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations and welcoming participants to the Forum.
The Government of Ontario hosted a Ministers' reception, featuring the Honourable Yasir Naqvi, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services (now Attorney General of Ontario), and the Honourable Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children and Youth Services and Minister for the Ontario Women's Directorate (now Minister responsible for Women's Issues and Accessibility), who spoke to the importance of anti-trafficking efforts. Kathy Thompson, Assistant Deputy Minister Community Safety and Countering Crime Branch, PS, spoke to the federal government's continued commitment to combatting human trafficking. The Government of Ontario also hosted a working lunch to present the status of its upcoming Human Trafficking Strategy which was released in June 2016.
The goal of the event was to invite stakeholders from across the country to discuss current gaps in human trafficking efforts, potential areas for collaboration,
best practices, and to identify trends as we move forward. This year's Forum was a positive opportunity for broad consultation, garnering diverse views and perspectives from those who have experienced trafficking, Indigenous women, law enforcement, government representatives and service providers, as well as sex workers. Recommendations for future action focused on a number of areas, including: training for media, prosecutors, law enforcement, and front-line service providers; evidence-based data collection; peer-led outreach and programs; programs that reflect specific cultural and geographic contexts; and wrap-around services for survivors.
The Ottawa Coalition to End Human Trafficking Training (OCEHT) Blitz
Each January (Human Trafficking Awareness Month) and June, the Coalition offers train-the-facilitator sessions, as well as training to traditional and non-traditional service providers. The training sessions are provided free of charge at a venue arranged by the Coalition (or at the location of a requesting organization) and are concentrated over an eight-day period. The latest Training Blitz took place June 4-11, 2016. To register for the next training Blitz, please review the agenda posted on the OCEHT Training page at http://www.endhumantrafficking.ca/training-blitz/ for the dates and times of the training sessions and to complete and submit a Training Request Form accessible at: http://www.endhumantrafficking.ca/training-request-form/
Workshop: Working with families of sexually exploited and trafficked youth
Children of the Street Society recently hosted a free workshop on how to work with families of sexually exploited and trafficked youth. The workshop was held during the national Victims and Survivors of Crime week and was open to service providers and the general public. The workshop was based on the recently released toolkit, “Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Children and Youth in Canada”. Each participant received a hard copy of the toolkit. This training was funded by the Department of Justice Canada.
Abbotsford and 100 Mile House Tackle Human Trafficking
In fall 2015, the B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General's Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons (OCTIP) held two train-the-trainer workshops on human trafficking in Abbotsford and 100 Mile House. These workshops, hosted by 100 Mile House and the District Women's Centre and Abbotsford Community Services, were well attended. OCTIP's train-the-trainer workshops assist front-line service providers to learn about the indicators of human trafficking and effective ways to support trafficked persons. They also help train service providers and leaders to work with their communities to develop an ongoing response to human trafficking, including developing prevention activities for action by the community following the event.
Over the past four years, OCTIP has held train-the-trainer workshops in ten B.C. communities: Williams Lake, Prince George, Prince Rupert, Saulteau First Nation (Chetwynd), Nisga'a Nation (New Aiyansh), Kamloops, Quesnel, Courtney, 100 Mile House, and Abbotsford.
Funding for these workshops has been provided by the Department of Justice Victim's Fund.
“Guacamole for Justice”: Workshop Examines the Plight of Migrant Farm Workers
In November 2015, B.C. OCTIP collaborated with the Migrant Workers Dignity Association, West Coast Domestic Workers Association, KAIROS, Co Development Canada, members of the faith-based community, and other organizations on the “Guacamole for Justice” project, which helped to raise awareness about the labour exploitation and trafficking of migrant farm workers. Workshop participants made guacamole from vegetables harvested by temporary foreign workers, listened to the experiences of migrant farm workers who face a number of barriers that make them vulnerable to exploitation and human trafficking, and engaged in discussions about labour exploitation.
On November 17, 2015, members of the RCMP's Integrated Organized Crime North Unit (Saskatoon) began Project Fesquire in relation to human trafficking of escorts and sex trade workers. The main objective of Project Fesquire is to identify and further investigate any incidents of human trafficking involving escorts and sex trade workers in Saskatchewan and on a national level. Project Fesquire also involves the education of escorts and sex workers regarding health, safety, and human trafficking.
The Integrated Organized Crime North Unit has approached escorts and sex trade workers to discuss matters involving human trafficking and has been positively received. Escorts and sex trade workers have stated they are pleased to see the proactive approach being taken by police and the attempts made to locate and assist the victims of human trafficking.
In March 2016, the Integrated Organized Crime North Unit was contacted by an escort who had been advised of the proactive approach being taken by the Unit. Members of the Unit met with the escort who posted -on a blog used by escorts and sex trade workers- the names and contact information of the officers, and encouraged any victims of human trafficking to contact the Unit immediately.
As of May 5, 2016, the Integrated Organized Crime North Unit had conducted nine operations throughout various locations in Saskatchewan and had spoken with approximately 23 escorts and sex trade workers regarding health, safety and human trafficking. The Unit will be continuing with Project Fesquire in an attempt to locate victims of human trafficking as well as to disrupt any human trafficking networks found, both on a provincial and a national level.
SWAN Vancouver: The Hidden Harms of Anti-Trafficking
In October 2015, SWAN Vancouver Society hosted an evening of critical dialogue and research with the aim of dismantling the hidden harms of the anti-trafficking industry. Speakers presented new research and discussed troubling trends in anti-trafficking information, campaigns, and funding.
The forum also served as a platform to launch an advocacy toolkit developed by SWAN Vancouver Society titled "Im/migrant Sex Workers, Myths and Misconceptions: Realities of the Anti-Trafficked". This toolkit was created as a result of intensive consultation, field work, collaboration, and research on anti-trafficking criminal and immigration laws in Canada.
It provides specific guidelines and information on how to interact respectfully with immigrant and migrant sex workers, for the following stakeholders: social service providers, health care providers, immigrant support workers, faith-based communities, CBSA, police, bylaws enforcement officers, researchers, policy makers, media and the general public. http://swanvancouver.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Realities-of-the-Anti-Trafficked.pdf
Presentations can be viewed at http://swanvancouver.ca/anti-trafficking-2/
Guyana: Children's Rights and Business Conference on Child Rights in the Extractive Sector
On January18, 2016, UNICEF Guyana, in collaboration with UNICEF Canada and the Canadian High Commission, held the Children's Rights and Business Conference on Child Rights in the Extractive Sector in Georgetown, Guyana. Mining plays an important role in Guyana's economy and has a significant impact on children, especially those in hinterland communities. This impact includes trafficking of persons, school dropouts, teenage pregnancies, exploitation, and abuse. UNICEF Guyana and UNICEF Canada brought together key stakeholders from government, civil society and the mining sector to build their capacity on child rights, discuss the impacts of mining on child well-being and identify priority interventions and next steps so that children are protected and can grow up in a safe environment. Proposed next steps include working with the government to review their policies from a child rights perspective, forging partnerships for implementation at national and regional levels and developing action plans for monitoring children's rights within the sector. For local press coverage see: http://guyanachronicle.com/forum-spotlights-rights-of-children-in-mining-sector/. For more information email email@example.com.
Resources and New Initiatives
New Partnership and Collaboration to Combat Human Trafficking in Montreal
Every year, Montreal hosts many large-scale national and international events. These events bring large numbers of people to the city, including many foreign visitors from all across the world. Authorities are very aware that large-scale events can result in a greater demand for sexual services in the city. These events require special attention from authorities with respect to raising awareness and combatting sexual exploitation, which includes human trafficking.
This summer, the RCMP, in partnership with the Service de police de la ville de Montréal (SPVM) and in collaboration with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the United States Attorney's Office (USAO), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), United States Border Patrol (USBP), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), will roll-out an awareness-raising campaign and put into place a multitude of prevention measures with the aim of disrupting existing networks with known involvement in sexual exploitation.
The goal of the campaign will be to create awareness regarding sexual exploitation among citizens and visitors during these large-scale events. The campaign will utilize social media, create informative posters on sexual exploitation, and distribute brochures, all with the goal of helping potential victims of human trafficking. The preventative measures will also target the dismantling of networks implicated in sexual exploitation including the sexual exploitation of young minors.
Freedom Collaborative: An online platform to end human trafficking together
Freedom Collaborative is a partnership project between Chab Dai and Liberty Asia, re-launched in February 2016. Originally piloted in the United States in 2012 as the Freedom Registry, Freedom Collaborative is an online platform that seeks to integrate every facet of the counter-trafficking movement by enabling advocates, practitioners, policymakers and researchers to contribute to and draw from its collective knowledge base. Through use of the platform's Freedom Library, international Freedom Registry, and a collaborative interactive map, those interested in the cause are able to communicate, exchange resources and collaborate in real time.
To explore the Collaborative, you can register easily and, if applicable, generate a profile for your organization. By signing up, you are joining a community of over 1000 others and over 200 organizations globally. This allows you to engage in weekly discussions, have access to hundreds of resources and see what is happening in your community and all over the world in the fight against human trafficking. Sign up at www.freedomcollaborative.org today.
Ontario's Action on Human Trafficking
In February 2016, the Government of Ontario made a commitment to develop a comprehensive, survivor-focused provincial strategy on human trafficking. The Government of Ontario has been developing its strategy in consultation with the justice sector and experts from the community. Nine consultations with diverse organizations and individuals with expertise in responding to human trafficking took place throughout Ontario over the winter and spring.
Recognizing the importance of partnerships across sectors and jurisdictions, in March 2016, the Government of Ontario convened a special session to speak with experts and community leaders from across Canada at the National Forum on Human Trafficking hosted by Public Safety Canada and the Canadian Women's Foundation.
More than 200 participants took part in Ontario's human trafficking consultations, including representatives from the violence against women sector, stakeholders providing frontline services and supports for survivors, representatives of Indigenous organizations, agencies serving immigrants and migrant workers, research and advocacy groups, police and public safety representatives, and survivors of human trafficking.
The strategy was recently released. More information will be available on the ministries' websites and at https://news.ontario.ca/newsroom/en.
Model to Boost Help for Trafficking Victims
A new, comprehensive, coordinated anti-sex trafficking plan, including more help for young, female victims has been launched by Covenant House Toronto. The plan will be supported over the next five years by a $10 million fundraising campaign, including significant government funding, as well as private donations.
“Our goal is to provide leadership and forge the community partnerships to provide the critical help that these young women need and to prevent this horrific crime,” Bruce Rivers, Covenant House Executive Director said. Covenant House is the country's largest agency for homeless youth.
While homeless youth are at a high risk of being trafficked, Rivers explained that unsuspecting young women and girls are also being lured from malls, school yards and online. The agency saw the number of its cases of trafficking and sexual exploitation increase 130% to 46 last year.
Covenant House's “Urban Response Model” proposes measures ranging from prevention to enhanced victim services, including its transitional housing program and a research and evaluation component to assess the services that will be provided.
The housing program, the centrepiece of the plan, is set to open in the fall. The house will be called The Rogers Home. Up to seven residents, 16 to 24 years of age, will be able to stay at a time in the house for up to two years and receive transformational support, including trauma and addiction counselling, life skills training and educational and vocational support.
Toronto Community Housing (TCH) is leasing the house for a nominal annual charge and the City of Toronto is renovating the building and supporting two dedicated crisis beds – a first in the city.
Covenant House has also partnered with more than 10 leading youth-serving organizations with expertise in trauma and addiction, police and legal professionals and hospitals to implement the plan.
Developed over the past two years, highlights of the Urban Response Model include:
Prevention and Early Intervention:
- Multi-media program and in-school presentations to warn girls of the signs of luring and trafficking; and
- Training sessions for those in relevant fields, such as hotel staff, to recognize potential trafficking and luring incidents.
Services (Crisis Intervention, Stabilization, Transition and Independence):
- 24-hour emergency plan and response team and dedicated crisis beds;
- Case management and personalized supports (safety plans, court support, addiction and trauma counselling);
- Transitional housing program with wrap-around services; and
- Peer mentorship, health promotion and access to the agency's community apartments.
Research and Evaluation:
- Gaps analysis of existing services and systems;
- Evaluation of prevention and intervention strategies/plan;
- Evaluation of program model and emergency response protocol; and
- Development of resources to be shared through an online hub.
Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Children and Youth in Canada
Children of the Street Society recently developed a toolkit for parents of youth at-risk or affected by sexual exploitation and human trafficking. The toolkit is designed to educate parents on the issue of sexual exploitation and human trafficking, enabling them to recognize warning signs, safeguard their children against exploitation, and equip them with strategies and tools for managing this issue should it happen to their child. This project was funded by the Department of Justice Canada.
A PDF of the toolkit is available at: www.childrenofthestreet.com/parents
Addressing the Link Between Pornography and Human Trafficking
Linda Smith and Cindy Coloma, authors of Renting Lacy: A Story of America's Prostituted Children, assert that many women and children who are being sexually exploited and trafficked are also being used for the production of pornography. Sometimes acts of prostitution are filmed without the consent of the victim and distributed. Based on her research, and on legal decisions, Melissa Farley asserts that pornography, prostitution and trafficking are inextricably linked.
Understanding that there is a link between pornography and human trafficking for sexual exploitation, Defend Dignity has undertaken a campaign, Family Friendly Wi-Fi, in an attempt to convince the proprietors of public gathering places, especially where children may be present, to filter their Wi-Fi service. “Child pornographers and sexual predators want to avoid detection. Public Wi-Fi without filtering that prohibits pornography provides safe haven for offenders and puts children at risk, ”says Jennifer Richardson, Provincial Child Exploitation Expert, Manager of Street Reach, Winnipeg, MB.
Defend Dignity is calling on Canadians to sign an online petition at http://www.familyfriendlywifi.ca asking Starbucks to put a filter on their public Wi-Fi service in all their Canadian stores. Starbucks in the United Kingdom proudly displays the "Friendly Wi-Fi" sign, which means it has been recognized as blocking all Internet sites containing pornography, including child pornography. Defend Dignity maintains that Starbucks in Canada needs to follow suit, noting other fast food chains in Canada, such as McDonalds, Tim Horton's and Second Cup have good filters on their public Wi-Fi. Defend Dignity is urging the public to sign and share this petition to address this aspect of trafficking.
Online Training Initiative to Address Human Trafficking
Building on the success of its Online Training Initiative to Address Human Trafficking that has been taken by over 2000 service providers across Ontario and Canada, MCIS Language Solutions is preparing to launch four new online training modules on human trafficking. These training sessions will be free and each takes approximately two hours to complete. Each training session will address human trafficking from the perspective of a specific type of service provider, including:
- Professionals who work with children;
- Legal and paralegal professionals;
- Law enforcement professionals; and
- Healthcare professionals.
Every version of the training will include an overview of the basics of human trafficking in Canada, as well as industry specific indicators, referrals and interventions.
The training will be available in June 2016, and those who complete it will be eligible to receive a certificate of completion. Stay tuned to www.helpingtraffickedpersons.org to find out when they are available or contact Veronica Costea at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-467-3096 for more information.
RCMP's Participation in the INTERPOL Human Trafficking Expert Group (IHTEG)
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is a member of the INTERPOL Human Trafficking Expert Group (IHTEG), the only international body that promotes communication and facilitates interaction with the international law enforcement community on this issue. Participating countries meet regularly to share and gather intelligence on new global human trafficking trends, share best practices for combatting this crime and assist each other on human trafficking investigations. The RCMP's Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre (HTNCC) participated in the IHTEG meeting in March 2016.
In April 2016, the HTNCC participated in an INTERPOL-led needs assessment mission in Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries as part of a Global Affairs Canada-funded project to train and facilitate human trafficking investigational cooperation throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America.
The RCMP HTNCC, in consultation with law enforcement, lawyers and service providers partnered with the Canadian Police College to develop a five-day Human Trafficking Investigators Course (HTIC) for Canadian law enforcement. This course includes information such as an in-depth session on human trafficking legislation, effective investigative techniques, the effects of trauma on victims, interviewing techniques, how to build trust and obtain cooperation from victims, and successful human trafficking case studies.
The next HTIC session is scheduled to run: October 31 - November 4, 2016.
For more information on this course, please visit http://www.cpc.gc.ca/en/htic
ACT Alberta has Published Two New Resources
Myth Busting Infographic
Human trafficking is an issue that is receiving increased attention from government, law enforcement, and the general public. Unfortunately, the discourse on human trafficking often tends to sensationalize and misrepresent its local reality. ACT Alberta has created a Myth Busting Infographic to challenge and correct the misconceptions about human trafficking in Alberta. The infographic is available at: http://www.actalberta.org/mwg-internal/de5fs23hu73ds/progress?id=ANdXvymBVHSqrc6jSFuQZlfCig5uzLbEkd1Rkaj_3M8.
Case Studies Booklet
ACT Alberta has published a booklet of case studies sharing stories of trafficked individuals. The stories have been adapted from real client referrals to ACT Alberta. This resource seeks to assist in creating a more accurate understanding of the realities of human trafficking in Alberta. The booklet is available at http://www.actalberta.org/mwg-internal/de5fs23hu73ds/progress?id=N5ZmdTGHOqOhh_lk86aA7Avd3nJokfF0Y0MZcbrxY70.
Iamnot4sale Website Application
EGADZ (Saskatoon Downtown Youth Centre) unveiled its Cyber Outreach initiative, “I Am Not for Sale”, as a means of addressing violence and abuse against women and youth. A new website, www.IAmNot4Sale.ca, and application for smart phones were developed by youth to help vulnerable individuals who are sexually exploited and trafficked through social media.
The free app provides immediate access to 24-hour resources with confidential, appropriate supports that offer safe and positive solutions and, when necessary, access to an immediate community agency response.
Research and Publications
Ottawa Coalition to End Human Trafficking's First Annual Report
In May 2016, the Ottawa Coalition to End Human Trafficking (OCEHT) released its first Annual Report on Accessing Services by Trafficked Persons in the NCR (Nov 2014- Dec 2015). The goal of this report is to identify barriers and gaps with respect to access and availability of services, supports and resources experienced in our community by persons who have exited or are exiting a trafficking situation. The report emphasizes areas where service improvement, further service development or partnership may be required, or where services are simply non-existent and, therefore, require particular attention/action on part of legislators, policy developers and/or funding schemes. These barriers were observed from November 2014 to December 2015 by Members of OCEHT.
The OCEHT aims to be transparent and to serve the public and community. OCEHT reports that 2015 was a year of change for OCEHT and this report highlights key changes made to the infrastructure and operations of the past year. The report also provides a glimpse into new initiatives and projects planned for the year to come. The report can be accessed at: http://www.endhumantrafficking.ca/human-trafficking/annual-report-on-barriers/
The Palermo Protocol & Canada: the Evolution and Human Rights Impacts of Anti-Trafficking Laws in Canada (2002-2015)
This collaborative research project by University of Fraser Valley Criminologists Dr. Hayli Millar, Dr. Tamara O'Doherty and SWAN Vancouver Society critically assesses the state of Canadian anti-trafficking legal efforts in the more than ten years after ratifying the UN Trafficking (Palermo) Protocol. The researchers share key preliminary findings and recommendations, including the vital need to increase the presence and awareness of immigrant and migrant sex workers' needs, realities and perspectives in the dominant discourse on human trafficking in the Canadian context and to contest a single, highly gendered, racialized and inadvertently harmful narrative that conflates sex work with human trafficking.
To Submit Items
If you have anti-human trafficking related activities, events, news or stories that you would like to share, send your suggestions to: HTT.GTTP@Canada.ca
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This newsletter is being offered up to three times yearly by the Serious and Organized Crime Division at Public Safety Canada with content provided by anti-trafficking stakeholders from across Canada. Its relevance depends on the information received from our partners. The content and information provided in the newsletter does not necessarily reflect the views of the Government of Canada or Public Safety Canada.
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