Vancouver (British Columbia) – 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 of being trafficked.
The Government of Canada is committed to end human trafficking in all its forms and to provide victims and survivors with the supports they need to help them heal and regain control over their lives.
Today, Gudie Hutchings, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, announced $2.8 million to support the following eight organizations that prevent and address human trafficking in British Columbia:
Covenant House Vancouver
Migrant Workers Centre BC Society
Justice Education Society of BC
M.O.S.A.I.C. (Multilingual Orientation Service Association for Immigrant Communities)
Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of British Columbia
SWAN Vancouver (Supporting Women’s Alternatives Network Society)
Surrey Women’s Centre Society
Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver
This funding will help these organizations increase awareness about 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.
“I would like to express my sincere gratitude for all the incredible work women’s and equality-seeking organizations in British Columbia 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. Since 2015, we have supported 85 equality-seeking organizations to continue their incredible work in British Columbia. 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.
Gudie Hutchings, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
“Victims and survivors of human trafficking are part of a very vulnerable group who are involuntarily forced into sexual slavery. The Government of Canada recognizes that these individuals need to be kept safe and supported now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, more than ever. The $2.8 million in federal funding for these eight BC-based organizations will provide them with the resources to support victims and survivors to get the help they need and enable them to move forward in their lives.”
The Honourable Hedy Fry, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre
“Human trafficking is an intolerable crime that disproportionately affects women and girls, particularly Indigenous, newcomer and low-income individuals, and we must do everything we can to stop it and support victims. Today’s funding announcement represents our commitment to supporting the integral work of the various organizations across the region that are working to end gender-based violence. Together, we will continue to focus on supporting victims and providing them with a safe place to turn and rebuild their lives.”
Randeep Sarai, Member for Parliament of Surrey Centre
The funding announced today comes from the Human Trafficking Call for Proposals launched in 2020.
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.
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development