Toronto (Ontario) – Women and Gender Equality Canada

Human trafficking is an unconscionable crime that impacts the most vulnerable in Canada and around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more difficult to keep people safe, and help victims escape situations of human trafficking and access the supports they need. Indigenous women and girls, newcomers to Canada, Black and racialized women and those living in poverty are particularly at-risk to being trafficked.

The Government of Canada is committed to end human trafficking in all its forms and to provide victims and survivors with trauma-informed supports that will help them heal and regain control over their lives.

Today, the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, announced $3.2 million to support the following 10 organizations that prevent and address human trafficking in the Toronto area:

Centre francophone du Grand Toronto
Family Services of Peel
FCJ Refugee Centre
Indus Community Services
Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto
Victim Services Toronto
Strides Toronto Support Services
Ontario Network of Victim Service Providers
Women’s Centre for Social Justice
Women’s Support Network of York Region

This funding will help these organizations increase awareness around human trafficking and support at-risk populations – including victims and survivors. Organizations like those receiving this funding are essential in ensuring victims and survivors have the help they need to escape violent situations and are supported as they move forward in their lives. The funding announced today comes from a Call for Proposals launched in 2020.

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude for all the incredible work women’s and equality-seeking organizations in the Toronto area are doing to make our communities safer and more inclusive for everyone. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have provided $100 million in emergency COVID-19 funding to organizations serving women and children experiencing gender-based violence and made existing funding programs more flexible. To date, this assistance has been provided to 800,000 people across the country. Today’s investment will ensure that survivors and victims of human trafficking receive the support they need to regain independence and control over their lives.”

The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development

“The Government of Canada is taking strong action to end human trafficking in Canada. The funding announced today will support organizations that are doing critical work to raise awareness and provide supports to survivors and victims of human trafficking. We will continue to work with all partners across the country to make sure that everyone is protected from human trafficking and its harms.”

Gudie Hutchings, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development

Despite strong laws and global protocols, it is estimated that human trafficking generates around $150 billion in criminal profits worldwide annually. It disproportionately impacts women and children. In Canada, the vast majority (95%) of human trafficking victims were girls and women. More than one in five (21%) victims were girls below the age of 18. 

Since 2015, the Government of Canada has responded by investing multi-year funding for over 500 organizations working to address and prevent all forms of gender-based violence and promote gender equality, including through Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence. 

In 2019, the federal government introduced its $75 million National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking. This includes dedicated funding to create and maintain the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline, a multi-lingual, 24/7 service that connects callers to supports and services. This hotline is a secure avenue for providing tips or reporting human trafficking to authorities. 

The National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking builds on and complements the efforts of Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence. It also advances the implementation of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice. 

To ensure that anyone facing gender-based violence has reliable and timely access to protection and services, no matter where they live, Budget 2021 invested $601.3 million over five years to advance towards a new National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence. This includes increased funding for initiatives to end human trafficking. 

Marie-Pier Baril

Press Secretary

Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development