The money side
If the issue of human trafficking seems to come out of nowhere, it’s because it has.
Last year, the provincial government announced it would invest $72 million over four years to fight human trafficking.
Part of that money is funding for community organizations that provide the Victim Crisis Assistance Ontario program. Victim Services for Prescott-Russell is one of those organization and received $8,500 to put towards the workshop.
Another part of that provincial investment went to establish a new fund earlier this month, which “will support community-based solutions” for survivors of human trafficking. The fund will have $18.7 million available over the next three years.
On April 11, community partners had a follow up meeting to “close the gaps,” says Smith. While she didn’t want to expand on details—for victims’ safety—she says there are now 24-hour services to respond to human trafficking cases.
The next step is community education.
There are two important messages to that education. The first is that human trafficking doesn’t only involve sexual exploitation; the second, Campisi says, is that Hawkesbury and the surrounding area can be considered a “vessel” since it’s located between major cities.
“We’re hoping to work in collaboration with the schools because the targets are 12 to 18-year olds, mainly girls,” says Smith.
Campisi also stressed the need for community involvement.
“The issues that evolve in our community, it’s more than just a police problem,” she says. “The community needs to know what’s happening.”