Joint Statement by MPP Laurie Scott and Timea Nagy on the Importance of Ontario’s First Human Trafficking Awareness Day
QUEEN’S PARK - Ontario has a horrifying and rapidly-growing human sex trafficking problem. The statistics are staggering and undeniable:
- Over 93% of human sex trafficking victims in Canada are Canadian-born
- 60% of victims in Canada are trafficked right here in Ontario
- Ontario serves as a major trafficking hub, with the proximity of cities along the 401 and other highway corridors creating easy access and aiding secrecy and invisibility
A victim can be swept up into this criminal underworld and disappear in less than 24 hours. The average age of a trafficking victim is 14, but some have been as young as 11 years old. Once they fall into this life, victims face horrific conditions that make escape very, very difficult.
The Saving the Girl Next Door Act tabled in the Legislature two years ago was the culmination of the tireless work of so many advocates, police officers, service providers and experts. Their voices helped to make the important changes proposed in the bill the law of the land, and they are a huge part of today’s important Awareness Day.
“There is great work being done across the province by steadfast advocates fighting against human sex trafficking. As information is shared and groups come together to coordinate their efforts, we develop a better understanding about how serious and widespread this horrific crime really is. What is clear is that more resources are desperately needed to save lives,” MPP Laurie Scott said.
The time is now to inform Ontarians about what is happening to their children and grandchildren in their own neighbourhoods and communities.
“When all sectors come together and work in collaboration, we will eradicate this crime indefinitely,” said Timea Nagy, who after being lured to Canada twenty years ago, now helps to fight the human sex trafficking epidemic.
Parents and guardians need to know what to look for in order to protect their children:
- They need to monitor social media and internet use;
- Stay current with the apps and social sites children are using;
- Have conversations with their children about school;
- Know their child’s friends, not just by nicknames;
- Know where their child is;
- Talk to their child about strangers; and
- Educate their child on healthy relationships.
For more information about this issue, please visit my website at http://www.lauriescottmpp.com/human_sex_trafficking
February 22, 2018
MPP Laurie Scott Hosts Successful Open Forum on Human Sex Trafficking in Toronto
TORONTO – Today, MPP Scott hosted almost 200 members of the public at an open forum to mark the inaugural Human Trafficking Awareness Day in Ontario on Thursday, February 22.
“Human Sex Trafficking is one of the fastest-growing crimes in Canada and raising public awareness is an urgent priority. Most people I talk to have no idea that this is happening in our communities – big and small – so we all need to get the word out to better inform parents, grandparents and children themselves. That is why events like this are important,” said MPP Scott.
“This Thursday marks Ontario’s first-ever Human Trafficking Awareness Day. We all need to do our part to raise awareness of a crime that targets children who are on average only 14 years old,” Scott added.
MPP Scott was joined by an expert panel that included:
- Detective Sergeant Nunzio Tramontozzi of the Toronto Police Service, who has been the Officer in charge of the Human Trafficking Enforcement Team since 2014
- Karyn Kennedy, the President and CEO of Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre, Toronto's first Child & Youth Advocacy Centre.
- Karly, a Survivor and Community Outreach Worker for the Gender-Based Violence Program at East Metro Youth Services.
- Joseph Mari is a Senior Manager in the Anti-Money Laundering Financial Intelligence Unit at Bank of Montreal.
The moderator of the event was the Hon. Peter MacKay, former Federal Minister of Justice.
February 20, 2018
QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Laurie Scott’s Private Member’s Bill 120, the Mandatory Sexual Assault Law Training for Judicial Officers, received the support of all parties in the Legislature at second reading.
Bill 120 calls in particular for mandatory sexual assault training for currently sitting judges and justices of the peace.
“I am happy that despite their long-standing opposition, the Liberal government finally decided to vote in support of mandatory training for our judicial officers,” Scott said. “With so many recent stories of judges making insensitive comments while presiding over sexual assault cases, there is a clear and urgent need for this training for sitting judges,” Scott added.
“Requiring that all judges are properly trained to handle sexual assault cases will actually go a long way towards strengthening Ontarians’ trust in our judicial system. The Liberal government must now bring this Bill to committee, and back to the Legislature for a final vote so it can become law. Survivors of sexual assault are watching closely,” Scott concluded.
On the need for Bill 120, the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario noted that since the currently available training “won’t be mandatory for current provincial judges, victims of sexual assault appearing before the provincial court still run the risk of experiencing negative and damaging comments and rulings from the presiding justice.”
Dr. Jacqui Linder, a renowned Clinical Traumatologist - “As a trauma specialist and educator, I strongly support initiatives like Bill 120 designed to increase understanding of the complex dynamics underpinning sexual assault, human trafficking and sexual violence in general”November 16, 2017
MPPs Scott and Yurek hear about the urgent need for support for victims of Human Sex Trafficking in Aylmer and London
AYLMER - Earlier today, MPP Scott joined her colleague Jeff Yurek, MPP for Elgin-Middlesex-London in Aylmer for a visit to Farmtown Canada, which is a charitable organization that provides support, housing, and care specific to the needs of sex trafficked minors.
“The average age of human sex trafficking victims in Canada is only 14 years of age. These are children who need very specialized care once they have been freed from exploitation at the hands of traffickers. Organizations like Farmtown Canada do amazing work, but they desperately need more support to face this growing crisis,” Scott said.
“The type of therapy that Farmtown Canada offers has proven very effective in helping victims recover their lives, and to help them build confidence to testify against their traffickers so that they can be brought to justice,” Scott added.
Farmtown Canada and other roundtable participants told MPPs Scott and Yurek that government resources and training are insufficient for the task they face, and that service providers and police officers are simply overwhelmed.
“This is one of the fastest-growing crimes in Canada and small towns in Ontario are not immune from this form of modern-day slavery. The Wynne government finally needs to act to support our rural communities in this fight,” Scott concluded.
November 08, 2017
INDSAY – Today, MPP Scott expressed profound disappointment at the decision to deny Kawartha Downs’ request for 40 racing slots; a decision that will almost certainly lead to job losses and hurt the local economy.
“It’s now clear that the Wynne government is continuing its all-out attack on the horse racing industry in this province,” stated Scott.
First, the Liberal government suddenly cancelled the Slots at Racetracks Program that helped to support this vital rural industry for many years. That decision led to 23,000 job losses and 27,000 dead horses.
Now, for the second year in a row, Kawartha Downs has had its application for additional racing slots denied.
“Kawartha Downs is trying hard to make things work in the face of this government’s attacks on the industry. But even then, the government slaps them down! How does Rural Affairs Minister Jeff Leal expect Kawartha Downs to succeed, when they’ve had both hands tied behind their back by his government?,” Scott added.
Minister Leal has feigned concern about the crisis affecting Kawartha Downs, while at the same time turning a blind eye to the decisions made by the government and its agencies, which are killing the local horse racing industry.
“It is this government that caused the current crisis, and it is their responsibility to fix the mistakes they have made. Sadly, it seems that Minister Leal is happy to watch this vital rural industry die on his watch,” Scott concluded.October 25, 2017
QUEEN’S PARK – On April 7, 2017, MPP Scott launched a petition calling on the Attorney General to step in and overturn the decision to close the Minden Courthouse, stating that “the closure of the Provincial Offence court in Minden means; a dramatic reduction in access to justice for residents, hurts the local economy and, jeopardizes community safety by letting criminals get off scot-free.”
“Unfortunately, the Wynne Government has refused to listen to the hundreds of constituents who signed my petition and failed to act to stop this closure” said Scott.
Instead the Attorney General hid behind judicial independence and failed to take responsibility for causing the backlog of Justice of the Peace appointments in the first place.
“This is a shameful response from the Minister, showing that he doesn’t care about the realities of life in rural Ontario. Nevertheless, I will keep up the pressure on him to listen to my constituents and ensure that they have the access to justice that they deserve,” Scott concluded.
September 20, 2017
TORONTO – Yesterday, at the Annual General Meeting of the ground-breaking BOOST Child & Youth Advocacy Centre in Toronto, MPP Laurie Scott was recognized with the Champion for Children Award for her work in the fight against human sex trafficking.
“Your leadership and advocacy efforts in the area of human sex trafficking have made a real difference in the lives of the children of Ontario,” BOOST stated.
The annual Champion for Children Award honours a group or individual who has displayed an exemplary commitment to creating pathways to better service for children, youth and families.
“I am humbled to receive this award, and will continue to dedicate myself to protecting our children from the horror of human sex trafficking. There is much more that needs to be done to eradicate it and to provide proper support to victims,” Scott said.June 20, 2017
QUEEN’S PARK – Bill 96, the Anti-Human Trafficking Act, based largely on MPP Scott’s Saving the Girl Next Door Act, became law today after having received unanimous support in the Ontario Legislature. This law will finally provide much-needed recourse and justice to survivors of human sex trafficking in Ontario.
“On behalf of the PC Caucus I want to say, ‘Finally,’” said MPP Scott during third reading debate yesterday. “We’ve been waiting for legislative action for over a year.”
This new law establishes February 22nd as Human Trafficking Awareness Day, allows victims of human trafficking to apply for restraining orders against their traffickers, and allows victims to sue their traffickers for damages.
MPP Scott has advocated for anti-human trafficking legislation for two years.
“There is much more to follow through on with respect to anti-human trafficking measures. We need public service announcements, we need education. We cannot allow human trafficking to be a normal part of our society. Collectively, we have to stamp it out,” Scott said.
“I am putting the government on notice: I will continue to watch their actions on this file closely, but I appreciate the fact that we are finally adopting anti-human trafficking legislation,” she concluded.May 18, 2017
"I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as the Ontario PC Critic for Community Safety, in addition to my previous role as Critic for Women's Issues. Over the past year, I have had the privilege of meeting many dedicated police officers and public safety officials as I travelled across the province raising awareness of the issue of human sex trafficking. I look forward to working closely with the men and women in our law enforcement and emergency service communities as they strive to keep Ontarians safe."February 07, 2017