Industry partners and Government of Ontario hold launch of anti-human trafficking online training program in MississaugaPublished on September 02, 2021
New program signals a turning point in battle against human trafficking in Ontario
September 2, 2021
[MISSISSAUGA] — This past Monday, Natalia Kusendova, MPP for Mississauga Centre and PA to the Minister of Francophone Affairs, joined several partners in the trucking industry including Shelley Uvanile-Hesch, CEO of the Women's Trucking Federation of Canada and Stephen Laskowski, CEO of Ontario Trucking Association along with Minister Caroline Mulroney, Mayor Bonnie Crombie and several guests from Peel Regional Police to unveil a new online-based training program designed to help truck drivers play an important role in the fight against human trafficking.
The program, made in collaboration between the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada, the Trucking Human Resource Sector Council Atlantic, the TC Online Institute and the Government of Ontario, focuses on survivor-led training modules to give participants an insight into the perspectives and experiences of human trafficking victims. The Government of Ontario, through the Ministry of Transportation, committed $47,000 to the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada, which has directly contributed to the creation of this valuable resource.
Through the completion of the program, which is to be offered in both English and French, truck drivers will become more familiar with recognising the signs of human trafficking, and will moreover be better positioned to assist law enforcement in bringing perpetrators to justice.
The support provided by the Government toward this new anti-human trafficking program is a part of a broader commitment to eradicating human trafficking in Ontario. As a part of Bill 251, the Combatting Human Trafficking Act, Ontario’s anti-human trafficking strategy 2020-2025 commits $307 million over five years to support survivors, prevent new victims and prosecute traffickers to the fullest extent of the law. The Combatting Human Trafficking Act also features provisions to advance oversight in Ontario’s hotels, and strengthens the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 to further protect Ontario’s children from falling into the hands of traffickers. Initiatives like these, which incorporate a broad array of stakeholders and ministries, are new ways the Province of Ontario is fighting human trafficking with the aim of making it a thing of the past.
“Human trafficking presents one of the sternest challenges that our province currently faces, but as this new survivor-led training program shows, we are collectively ready for the fight,” said MPP Natalia Kusendova. “Ontario is home to many stakeholders and advocates who, alongside our brave men and women in law enforcement, are on the frontlines every day supporting survivors and bringing traffickers to justice. Our government is proud to stand alongside them, and with our bold anti-human trafficking strategy, we are committed to working toward an Ontario that is free from this heinous crime.”
“Our government is proud to invest in education tools like the new online-based training program developed by the Women’s Trucking Federation of Canada designed to help truck drivers in the fight against human trafficking,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “This program will help truck drivers identify and prevent human trafficking while working, making a difference on our roads and saving lives in the process.”
“Our mission is to help strengthen the Ontario Government's strategy on Human Trafficking”, said Shelley Uvanile-Hesch, CEO of the Women's Trucking Federation of Canada. “This survivor-led human trafficking online training for Professional Drivers will help assist drivers across Canada in knowing what to look for, how they can help, so together we can stop it.”
- Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing crimes worldwide. Approximately two-thirds of police-reported human trafficking violations in Canada occur in Ontario.
- The average age of recruitment into sex trafficking is 13 years old.
- Over 70 per cent of human trafficking victims identified by police are under the age of 25.
- Young women and girls are particularly at risk, especially those from Indigenous communities and children and youth in care, though boys, men and people who are LGBTQ are also targeted.