Ontario Increasing Supports for Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking in Niagara

Published on March 11, 2021

St. Catharines - The Ontario government is investing $1.4 million over the next five years to create a new community-based program to provide more young victims and survivors of human trafficking in Niagara with access to the supports they need. Enhanced protection of children and youth is a key part of the province's new proposed groundbreaking Combatting Human Trafficking Act, which was introduced last month to help fight this growing crime."This new residential program in Niagara will help keep young victims of sex trafficking safe while providing wrap-around supports to help them heal," said Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues.

"Residential care is extremely helpful in supporting recovery, particularly programs like this, which are developed and managed by survivors."

The new program delivered by YWCA Niagara Region is being funded through the province's Anti-Human Trafficking Community Supports Fund. It will provide a residential program for youth aged 16 to 24, providing access to crisis housing, trauma therapy, peer support and cultural connection.

"With human trafficking being one of the fastest-growing crimes worldwide, there is a critical need for more services to help victims and survivors," said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West.

"These new programs will help young people rebuild their lives so they can pursue their dreams free from exploitation."

"Through our work with the community and survivors of human trafficking, the need was identified for a safe, secure housing program to provide supports for victims in Niagara," said Elisabeth Zimmerman, Executive Director, YWCA Niagara Region.

"We are most grateful for the funding that we have received as it will ensure this much needed service will be in the region."

In total, 27 new projects are being funded through the Anti-Human Trafficking Community Supports and Indigenous-led Initiatives funds to provide a more comprehensive network of supports across the province. This investment and the proposed new and amended legislation are part of Ontario's $307-million Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy, which aims to raise awareness of the issue, protect victims and intervene early, support survivors and hold offenders accountable.