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Federal gov't commits $57M to combat human trafficking in Canada

Last Updated Sep 4, 2019 at 9:21 am MDT

(Cormac Mac Sweeney, 1310 NEWS)

The feds are committing $57-million in new funding to fight human trafficking in Canada

A new strategy will include better supports for victims of human trafficking, many of whom are afraid to speak out

Feds are appointing a new Special Advisor on Human Trafficking: retired RCMP Assistant Commissioner Shirley Cuillierrier

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The Trudeau government is committing millions in new cash to help combat human trafficking in Canada.

The official announcement was made on Wednesday as the federal government unveiled a new national strategy. Coupled with previous funding announcements, the total investment is now $75-million.

The money is aimed at helping victims of human trafficking and the justice system address the growing problem.

The measures include better supports for victims, many of whom are afraid to speak out, out of fear of reprisal.

The strategy will also provide new training for prosecutors, the source says, as well as helping border enforcement. It will also bring in supports for financial intelligence to better track and flag suspicious transactions.

“Prosecutors need to understand what victims and survivors go through, and need to be victim-centred,” Barbara Gosse, the CEO of the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, says.

She is optimistic this strategy can make a dent in forced labour and prostitution, but adds she hopes it is only the beginning.

RELATED: Hotline to help human trafficking victims, educate public launches across Canada

“It’s a really good start. There is always more we can do,” Gosse says. “Potentially have a dramatic effect, but we need to wait and see.”

Many of the victims of forced labour and prostitution are women and girls. In 2016, Canadian police reported 340 incidents.

“Traffickers will go after vulnerable individuals, many of whom are minors,” Gosse explains.

The government is also appointing a new Special Advisor on Human Trafficking, retired RCMP Assistant Commissioner Shirley Cuillierrier, who is also a member of the Mohawk First Nations from Kanesatake.

As part of the national strategy, a special advisory committee has also been appointed, and will be made up of victims of human trafficking.

Crime stats show human trafficking has been on the rise in Canada and the Conservatives have been calling for harsher penalties for those convicted, including consecutive sentencing.

This strategy is being unveiled after a year of consultations but just days before an expected election call.