New supports introduced for human trafficking survivors in Alberta

Victims of human trafficking in Alberta now have access to support. Global News file

Survivors of human trafficking now have access to new supports through a new program from the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams‘ human trafficking units.

Read more: 15-year-old Edmonton girl rescued from human trafficking, 35 charges laid: ALERT

The police organization has added safety network coordinators who will be embedded in the units in Edmonton and Calgary.

“The new civilian positions are focused on building relationships and trust-supporting with the victims,” ALERT said in a news release.

“Safety network coordinators are dedicated to providing support for human trafficking survivors by removing barriers towards exiting the sex industry, safety planning, and facilitating access to community support services.”

Click to play video: '10 people charged in human trafficking investigation in Lethbridge' 10 people charged in human trafficking investigation in Lethbridge
10 people charged in human trafficking investigation in Lethbridge – Aug 13, 2021

In the past, survivors were often identified through ALERT’s investigations against their perpetrators, but the victims lacked a link to support services.

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“These new positions provide a compassionate and fulsome response to survivor supports,” ALERT said.

The initiative has been underway in Edmonton since April and ALERT said 17 victims have been helped by accessing safe places to stay, mental health resources, court assistance and emotional support.

Read more: Edmonton man arrested on human trafficking, sexual assault charges

In one instance, ALERT was notified after a sex industry worker was violently attacked and was admitted to hospital. They were able to access short-term safety planning and other resources through the program.

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