In October 2015, Covenant House Toronto launched a pilot program that offered two crisis beds in our shelter. The dedicated beds are for young women, ages 16 to 24, experiencing sexual exploitation or trafficking and fleeing their situations of crisis.
The creation of the crisis beds was in response to an urgent need for dedicated shelter and basic supports for an increasing number of young women being identified by the Toronto Police Services' Human Trafficking Enforcement Team (HTET).
This review captures the implementation of our pilot program over an 18-month period, and aims to add to the collaborative effort of sharing and learning, and strengthen a unified community response.
The content may be of interest to agencies that are considering or exploring opportunities to offer immediate crisis response, safety and support to survivors of sexual exploitation or trafficking within the structure of their shelter program. It may also be useful for those interested in establishing a different intervention and response program to address the issue of sex trafficking within their communities.