Saturday, May 25, 2019
   
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Meeting on Parliament Hill

On February 20, the Toronto Counter Human Trafficking Network met with the co-chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group to End Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.

Varka Kalaydzhieva, Interim Program Director for the Sisters' Ministry for Social Justice, Peace and Care of Earth, joined the Toronto Network for this meeting.

The Parliamentary Group is made of senators and members of Parliament from across the Liberal, Conservative, NDP and Green parties as well as the Independent Senators Group.

Among their priorities is to ensure that the Government of Canada does all that it can to prevent and protect civilian populations from modern slavery. It also seeks to increase prosecution of traffickers and build partnerships with various organizations. 

A meeting on Parliament Hill.

The Toronto Network discussed the collaborative model of work with survivors of human trafficking in Toronto. The central part of this collaboration is the Ontario Human Trafficking Helpline.

The Helpline:

  • Began as a community initiative with the local Toronto 211/Find Help services and the Toronto Network, was launched in February 2017.

  • Has received more than 178 calls.

  • Serves a range of callers: People looking for support to leave trafficking situations, family and friends of those at risk, and also service providers seeking to assist their clients. 

  • Has a primary focus of service provision and protection of survivors which is paramount to criminal proceedings and data development. 

  • Applies an anti-oppressive approach which recognizes the agency of survivors and respects their ability to make decisions regarding their situation. 

  • Provides immediate multilingual service to survivors who speak languages beyond English and French as well as a warm phone transfer connecting survivors directly to services they may require.   

In this respect, the Toronto Network shared with the Parliamentary Group its eagerness to collaborate with the National Human Trafficking Hotline which is expected to launch in May 2019.

This future hotline has the potential to reduce the number of people being trafficked in Canada, mitigate the risk for vulnerable communities and create infrastructure support for survivors.

Recommendations & Collaboration

 

It is the Toronto Network’s hope that the organization which will implement the National Hotline will reach out to collaborate with local helplines, communities and services providers across the country. 

Such collaboration will ensure broad knowledge of diverse services within local communities and make use of existing infrastructure to avoid duplication of services. It would also improve the effectiveness and impact of the hotline operations. 

Among other recommendations, the Toronto Network suggested that the Parliamentary Group recommend avenues for collaboration on the National Human Trafficking Hotline to ensure deep roots in local communities and coordinated access to services.  

Related Links

Ontario Human Trafficking Helpline

Toronto Counter Human Trafficking Network

All-Party Parliamentary Group to End Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

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