Ontario Increasing Supports for Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking in Kawartha Lakes

KAWARTHA LAKES – The Ontario government is investing more than $780,000 over the next five years in a new community-based program to provide more young victims and survivors of human trafficking in Kawartha Lakes with the services they need. With this funding, Women's Resources of Kawartha Lakes will provide a four-month stabilization program for youth, including residential services, individualized programming and skills development. 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.

“Programs created to support young victims and survivors of human trafficking are critical in their healing process, allowing them to rebuild their lives,” said Jane McKenna, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues. “Our investments will go a long way to increase services dedicated to children and youth who have been trafficked. They will also mean more young people have access to the help they need to stay safe and recover.”

This new program is funded through Ontario’s Anti-Human Trafficking Community Supports Fund 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.

“For many decades, Women’s Resources has been a staple in our community, providing women and children with a safe haven as they flee from violence, abuse and sex trafficking. That’s why, I’m so pleased they’ve been awarded this funding for the new Survivor Stabilization Project,” said Laurie Scott, MPP for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock. “Victims of sex trafficking need a safe and secure environment to begin to heal from the trauma of this horrible crime and this new project will help provide a steady ground so victims can become survivors.”  

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, which aims to raise awareness, protect victims and intervene early, support survivors and hold offenders accountable.

“The trauma of human trafficking is significant. Emotional and physical recovery can be a long journey with victims returning to their abusers time and time again, out of fear and dependency,” said Lori Watson, Executive Director of Women’s Resources of Kawartha Lakes. “This funding will allow us to develop a stabilization program to support survivors from initial intake until they are established in secure housing, increasing their sense of safety, well-being and skills, all of which will mitigate the risk of revictimization.”

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