It Happens in Our Communities: How Canadians Are Coming Together to End Human Trafficking

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© Photo Courtesy of The Centre

Striving to support survivors, educate the public, and prevent human trafficking from happening in the first place, The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking released a report with data from their first year of operations. The report was the first of its kind in Canada, lighting the way to ending trafficking across the country.

Founded in 2016, The Centre works to facilitate innovative policies and knowledge on how to eliminate trafficking in Canada. Later, in 2019, The Centre expanded its support efforts by launching The Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline. The report gathered data from the Hotline, making it the first in Canada to report on data without police-reported statistics.

“This report is one of many initiatives The Centre is launching the shed light on human trafficking in Canada,” explained Executive Director Julia Drydyk. “We will also be enhancing public awareness, informing legislation, advocating for trauma-informed policies and services, and improving information-sharing across sectors.”

Human trafficking happens in Canada at an alarming rate, particularly among women and girls, transgender, and gender non-conforming individuals. Between 2019 and 2020, the Hotline identified 415 cases of human trafficking—the vast majority of them made up of victims/survivors in Canada, and two percent of them in the transgender and gender non-comforming groups.

“Human trafficking exists in every community in Canada with human traffickers having only one goal: to generate as much revenue as possible. To do this, they rob survivors of their basic human rights,” Drydyk said.

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The report’s other findings include:

  • COVID-19 has had a major impact on the social services that victims rely on to escape trafficking and heal. Approximately one in five service providers who responded to a survey indicated that they could no longer offer some or all of their services.
  • Service providers have had to significantly adjust their operations during the COVID-19 era, including reducing hours and moving services online.
  • Anecdotal evidence has found that service providers themselves are often overwhelmed and burnt out.
  • Approximately one in three callers were victims/survivors, the highest percentage of callers to the Hotline.
  • The vast majority of victims/survivors were Canadian; only 14 percent of victims/survivors were foreign nationals.

The Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline is striving to create positive change to end human trafficking in Canada. By educating Canadians with data and reports, and supporting people through the Hotline, they hope to achieve this mission.

The Hotline is available 24/7 and is a confidential, multilingual service. Utilizing a victim-centred approach, the Hotline connects victims and survivors with social services, law enforcement, and emergency services to aid them in the recovery process. As the crisis is prevalent in Canada, The Centre works alongside local emergency services and long-term supports across the country to cater services to each individual’s needs.

“I also want to thank the 900+ service providers and law enforcement agencies across Canada that we partner with to support those impacted by human trafficking,” Drydyk said.

In addition to the important work led by social services, family and friends play a vital role in supporting victims. The Centre shares that support from family and friends play a vital role in supporting victims and survivors on their healing journey.

“Close personal networks, particularly parents, are among the most trusted allies in combating human trafficking,” Drydyk said. “They have direct contact with persons being groomed, exploited and who have survived this horrible crime. Services can be really hard to navigate, and friends and family members can play a vital role in helping them access the support they need to exit and heal from their trafficking situation. We must prioritize giving family and friends the knowledge and tools they need, so they are equipped to get loved ones out of trafficking situations and on the path to recovery.”

For more information, visit canadiancentretoendhumantrafficking.ca, or contact The Centre at [email protected]

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Our goal is to mobilize collective action and system change to end human trafficking in Canada. NEED HELP? If you or someone you know is a victim/survivor of human trafficking, or you think someone might be, we can help.

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