September 28, 2017 6:09 pm
Updated: September 28, 2017 8:29 pm

Ontario invests $18M in 45 projects to help end human trafficking

The Ontario government has announced funding for 45 projects to help end human trafficking and support for survivors.

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The Ontario government has announced funding for 45 projects to help end human trafficking and support survivors.

The government said $18.6 million will be distributed to 44 partners and agencies across the province to support projects up to three years as part of the Strategy to End Human Trafficking.

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Ontario is a major centre for human trafficking in Canada, accounting for more than two-thirds of cases nationally. Of those, most are instances of sexual exploitation, and the majority of survivors are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

READ MORE: Human trafficking in Peterborough on sharp rise, crisis workers report

“This support means specialized staff and resources will be available to help survivors move through trauma so they can live freely and in control of their own lives,” said Ontario’s Minister of Community and Social Services, Dr. Helena Jaczek.

The 45 projects were selected following a competitive call for applications through the Anti-Human Trafficking Community Supports Fund and the Indigenous-led Initiatives Fund, said a press release on Thursday.

WATCH BELOW: Tapping into technology to curb human trafficking

Community supports fund

A Community Supports Fund for three-year projects will see a funding contribution of $14 million.

The City of Toronto will receive $885,000 for residential supports of trafficked women and girls, that will contribute to on-site services for mental health and addiction treatment, education, legal and income supports. Additionally, $1 million will be distributed to Toronto’s East Metro Youth Services, FCJ Refugee Centre and South Asian Legal Clinic Ontario.

READ MORE: London man charged with attempted murder, human trafficking in Brampton

Other organizations benefiting from the community supports fund in the Greater Toronto Area include $1.2 million for a long-term recovery program in Ajax, nearly $1 million to emergency and crisis response supports in Oakville, $300,000 for a screening tool in Mississauga and nearly $800,000 for prevention and awareness in Richmond Hill.

Three London agencies – Addiction Services of Thames Valley (ADSTV), London Abused Women’s Centre (LAWC), and Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI) – will receive a total of nearly $832,000. ADSTV plans to use the funding for support and programming for women trafficked in the sex trade, while LAWC will fund crisis response, and outreach and prevention services for at-risk women and youth, among other initiatives. AIAI plans to organize a three-day education and training forum that will see members and workers of member First Nations learn about human trafficking.

Indigenous-led Initiatives Fund

One portion of the Indigenous-led Initiatives Fund will go towards the prevention and service delivery of three-year projects will see funding of $3.4 million.

READ MORE: Man, teenager face combined 21 charges in alleged sex trafficking of 15-year-old girl: Toronto police

Two Toronto organizations will receive just over $1 million for the facilitation of regional working groups and comprehensive culture-based outreach programs. Funding of $700,000 will help wraparound services in Hamilton, while $270,000 will go towards an anti-human trafficking team in London.

WATCH BELOW: Feds investigating suspicion of human trafficking at Quebec border

The second portion of the Indigenous-led Initiatives Fund, of $1.1 million will go towards one-year projects of capacity building.

This money includes $154,000 to 11 independent First Nations communities throughout Ontario for engagement on provincial initiatives to prevent and address human trafficking of Indigenous Peoples.

An agency in Toronto will receive $154,000 for Indigenous Peoples who experienced human trafficking that will engage in a advisory circle with Elders.

READ MORE: RCMP charge 2 Toronto-area men in human trafficking investigation in Sault Ste. Marie

A Hamilton organization will see $112,000 for the facilitation of regional working groups, and the Oneida Nation of the Thames near London will receive $73,000 for a multi-sector collaboration to focus on Indigenous persons at risk.

Ontario’s Strategy to End Human Trafficking was launched in 2016 with an aim to increase awareness and coordination, improve survivors’ access to services and enhance justice-sector initiatives.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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