Sex trafficking has become one of the fastest-growing crimes in Canada.
Through our work with police and community partners, it became clear that more resources were needed to tackle this issue. In 2016, we decided to make sex trafficking a major focus of our work and launched our Urban Response Model anti-trafficking plan.
This comprehensive plan brings a holistic response to combating trafficking in our communities and has three key pillars:
Prevention and early intervention
Our goal is to increase awareness of sex trafficking through our:
- School presentations to grades 7-12 that help equip teachers and students with the tools they need to protect themselves so they can recognize the warnings signs and reach out for help.
- Training for hotels, transportation and other industries that come in contact with victims of sex trafficking. Our free training sessions equip staff with the tools they need to recognize the signs and keep their workplaces safe.
- Awareness campaign to help create awareness and education for teen girls and caregivers.
Direct services to survivors
We support survivors to reclaim their lives with:
- Immediate care through crisis shelter beds, health care services and counselling that recognizes the trauma victims have experienced.
- 24-7 care through two specialized housing programs, the Avdell Home and The Rogers Home. These programs offer health care services, mental health support, safety planning, income supports, education assistance and job training opportunities.
- Dedicated staff advocates who provide consultations with survivors and their families and work closely with community partners, the court system and police services.
Learning and transfer of knowledge
We conduct research and evaluation to help inform promising practices in providing direct services to survivors, and share our findings from working with them:
- Customized presentations on sex trafficking and survivor supports to other front-line agencies.
- Research into service gaps and barriers to exiting, as well as evaluation of our residential services and approach to working with survivors.
- Widely offer final campaign findings such as our report on our Just Like A Girl You Know campaign.
These three pillars are supported through community partnerships with leading youth-serving organizations, police, hospitals, legal professionals and advocacy programs.