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Canada has been identified as a source, destination, and transit country for human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labour. Human trafficking is a highly gendered crime and a form of Gender-Based Violence as 95% of police-identified victims in Canada are women and girls.
On September 4, 2019, a National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking was launched by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, with investments of $57 million over five years and $10 million per year ongoing. The new Strategy takes a whole-of-government approach that will:
- empower victims and survivors to regain self-confidence and control over their lives;
- prevent more of these crimes from taking place;
- better protect those who are most vulnerable to trafficking;
- prosecute human traffickers for their heinous crimes; and,
- embrace partnerships with provinces and territories and other organizations to maximize our impact.
The National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking builds on the investment to establish the National Human Trafficking Hotline, the final evaluation of the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking (2012-2016), the targeted engagements with stakeholders in 2018, and the engagements held for the development of It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence.
The new National Strategy proposed a number of new and expanded initiatives implemented by Public Safety, Canada Border Services Agency, Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE), Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada and Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.
WAGE received $10 million, starting in 2020-21, and $2 million per year ongoing to develop the Continuum of Care Prevention and Interventions for Vulnerable Populations initiative. The initiative will fund eligible organizations to:
- develop, deliver, and test innovative prevention programs for at-risk populations, including women and girls, Indigenous women and girls, LGBTQ2 and gender non-binary people, children and youth; and,
- develop, deliver, and test innovative short-term continuum of care interventions to support survivors while they transition out of human trafficking, reintegrate into their communities, and begin their healing and recovery process.
- WAGE’s new initiative will begin in Year 2 of the Strategy (2020-21).
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