Summary of the Evaluation of the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline
About the Program
The Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline (the Hotline) and its activities followed the recommendations of the 2016-2017 Public Safety Canada (PS) Evaluation of the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, which identified a need for a mechanism for victims and survivors of human trafficking to access services or report suspected cases; data collection to better understand the scope and nature of the problem; and, increased collaboration with various partners.
A contribution agreement was signed with the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking (the Centre) in October 2018 and is set to expire March 31, 2023. The Centre launched the Hotline on May 29, 2019. As part of the contribution agreement with PS, the Centre is responsible for a toll-free, bilingual, national hotline; a secure national human trafficking data management and collection system; an online portal to house human trafficking resources; a national referral mechanism to service partners to refer victims and survivors; awareness campaigns that promote the hotline number and its services; and acting as a centralized resource to provide services to victims and survivors, particularly tailored to vulnerable groups.
Budget 2018 announced $14.5 million in funding from 2018-19 to 2022-2023 to establish a human trafficking hotline, and PS awarded the Centre $12.5 million in contribution funding to operate the Hotline over the five-year period.
What We Examined
The purpose of this evaluation was to examine the continued relevance of the Hotline, as operated by the Centre, and program administration. The evaluation also examined the progress made towards the achievement of outcomes, including reaching populations at risk and vulnerable populations, accessing services through partnerships, achieving service goals to victims and survivors, increasing awareness of the Hotline and human trafficking, and data collection and use. The evaluation covered the years from the launch in 2019 to March 2022.
- There is a continued need for a hotline. Evidence suggests that human trafficking continues on an upward trend in Canada.
- Canadian awareness of the Hotline and human trafficking is low.
- The creation of a hotline is aligned with government priorities, departmental objectives, and federal roles and responsibilities.
- The Hotline has made a significant effort to ensure inclusivity and accessibility for diverse GBA Plus populations while also trying to reach at-risk populations.
- Since the launch of the Hotline, the Centre has increased partnerships with a range of service providers and law enforcement organizations across Canada.
- The Hotline has made trauma-informed support more accessible to victims and survivors.
- The number of contacts to the Hotline have increased each year and the Hotline has been able to provide services to its target audiences. The Hotline has provided an increasing number of referrals to partner services for victims and survivors in Canada.
- The Centre developed various methods to increase the public's awareness of human trafficking in Canada and the Hotline, including ones targeting groups at higher risk of being trafficked.
- Collaborative work between the Centre, partners, and stakeholders led to increased awareness and education programs, as well as improved communication and relationships between organizations.
- The Centre has advised federal and provincial governments on the development of legislation and policy, and Hotline data has been used in PS and Statistics Canada reports.
- The Centre recently signed a data-sharing agreement with Statistics Canada. While the Centre provides required reporting to PS, it is unclear if PS utilizes these reports to their full extent.
- The development and maintenance of the Hotline model was mostly successful. The time limited nature of the funding model was identified as a serious concern because without continued funding the Centre would no longer be able to operate the Hotline, leaving victims and survivors without access to a dedicated hotline.
The Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Crime Prevention Branch, should:
- Work towards continued funding of the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking in administering the Human Trafficking Hotline.
- In upcoming agreements ensure that the Hotline continues to focus on the needs of, and outreach to, populations identified as being at higher risk of trafficking, as well as on victims and survivors of labour trafficking.
- Clarify the areas around data ownership of the information collected by the Hotline, and in upcoming agreements ensure that PS has access to the data necessary for their work.
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