Ontario Supporting Young Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking in Ottawa

Press Release

July 28, 2021

Investment in new community and Indigenous-led programs will help young victims

OTTAWA – The Ontario government is investing more than $8.2 million over five years in new community-based and Indigenous-led programs to provide more young victims and survivors of human trafficking in Ottawa with the services they need. With this funding, Tungasuvvingat Inuit and Roberts/Smart Centre are providing new programs to help children and youth in the region in need of specialized care. Providing better protection and increased supports for children and youth who have been sexually exploited or are at risk is a key focus of Ontario’s strategy to combat human trafficking.

“It is important to be able to meet victims and survivors where they are and provide the appropriate care,” said Jane McKenna, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues. “Both organizations will do great work as they increase Indigenous-led supports and community services dedicated to children and youth. This means more young people who have been trafficked or are at risk can get the help they need to stay safe and recover.”

The new program at Tungasuvvingat Inuit will provide early prevention and outreach for Inuit youth, as well as culturally based programming, therapeutic practices, and help them access housing and counselling. Roberts/Smart Centre’s new program will provide services including 24/7 crisis support and mobile treatment services, residential services, life skills training and mentorship.

“Providing more supports for victims and survivors of sex trafficking, particularly those under age 18, is a key commitment in our government’s Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services and MPP for Kanata—Carleton. “This investment will ensure more young people in Ottawa have access to services to support their recovery and provide more dedicated, culturally responsive supports to help Indigenous children and youth.”

These new programs are funded through Ontario’s Anti-Human Trafficking Community Supports and Indigenous-led Initiatives funds to increase services across the province. The government is investing a total of $96 million in community-based services and Indigenous-led supports for victims and survivors of human trafficking over five years as part of the province’s Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy 2020-2025.

“Tungasuvvingat Inuit is grateful for these funds to support our Alluriarniq Programming,” said Amanda Kilabuk, Executive Director of Tungasuvvingat Inuit. “Our programming is urban Inuit specific and it is vital in order to access potential life-saving supports such as access to culture, traditional foods, and discreet services that make a huge difference for those caught in a web of exploitation.”

“We have seen firsthand the devastating impact that human trafficking can have on a young person,” said Catherine Van Vliet, Executive Director, Roberts/Smart Centre. “This is an example of government and community coming together to help youth and to address a growing epidemic for our 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 is part of Ontario’s $307-million Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy to raise awareness of the issue, protect victims and intervene early, support survivors and hold offenders accountable.

“Human trafficking is a very serious issue happening in communities across the province,” said Jeremy Roberts, MPP for Ottawa West—Nepean. “This investment will boost anti-human trafficking efforts here in Ottawa and provide specialized community-based programming to support young victims and survivors.”

Quick Facts

  • Ontario is a hub for human trafficking, accounting for the majority of police-reported incidents in Canada.
  • In 2019, 65 per cent of known human trafficking victims identified by police were under the age of 25 and 22 per cent were under 18.
  • Ontario’s Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy represents the largest total investment in dedicated anti-human trafficking supports and services in Canada.

Additional Resources

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Health and Wellness

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Ontario’s laws and related information about our legal system, emergency services, the Ontario Provincial Police and victim services. Learn more

Media Contacts

Christine Bujold
Minister’s Office
[email protected]

Media Relations
Children, Community and Social Services
[email protected]


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