Sup­port paramount for hu­man traf­fick­ing vic­tims

MPP Jeff Yurek said many peo­ple are un­aware of at how young an age women in On­tario are be­ing traf­ficked and what they have had to en­dure

Sentinel-Review (Woodstock) - - FRONT PAGE - HEATHER RIVERS

Youth and young women un­der 18 who are sur­vivors of hu­man traf­fick­ing need a li­censed, spe­cial­ized res­i­den­tial treat­ment fa­cil­ity to re­gain their lives, one lo­cal ex­pert says.

Kelly Franklin, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Farm­town Canada, said that rec­om­men­da­tion was an out­come of a meet­ing about the is­sue held last week at her Aylmer horse ther­apy fa­cil­ity.

Farm­town Canada is a char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tion that pro­vides pro­grams to dis­ad­van­taged girls, teen girls and young women through their Horses that Heal pro­gram.

Dur­ing the past five years, Farm­town has tran­si­tioned into the area of anti-hu­man traf­fick­ing and sex­ual vi­o­lence, us­ing ther­apy horses to treat post-trau­matic stress dis­or­der and trauma.

The meet­ing, which took place fol­low­ing a two-day sym­po­sium in Lon­don about traf­ficked vic­tims, drew to­gether hu­man-traf­fick­ing sur­vivors, po­lice, politi­cians and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from vic­tim ser­vices.

Franklin said there is a huge gap in ser­vices for hu­man-traf­fick­ing vic­tims in an al­ready over­taxed sys­tem.

“There is nowhere for them to go that is go­ing to give them traf­fick-trauma-in­formed care,” she said. “Work­ing with a girl who has been traf­ficked is so spe­cific and so frag­ile. There needs to be spe­cific things avail­able for these girls in or­der to look a bet­ter suc­cess rate.”

Kawartha Lakes MPP Lau­rie Scott, who at­tended the meet­ing, has pledged to present their plea to Queen’s Park.

Franklin said she hopes Farm­town plays a ma­jor role in a pos­si­ble pi­lot project for traf­ficked sur­vivors due to their high level of ex­pe­ri­ence with traf­fick­ing vic­tims.

“We can’t do things the wrong way,” she said. “We need to leg­is­late it the right way and then we need to fund it.”

El­gin MPP Jeff Yurek, who at­tended the meet­ing, said many are un­aware of how young an age women are be­ing traf­ficked and what they have to en­dure.

Sixty-six per cent of those traf­ficked are un­der the age of 19, with a me­dian age of 13.

“Hu­man traf­fick­ing is a grow­ing prob­lem in our prov­ince, and we need to un­der­stand the se­ri­ous­ness of the prob­lem and we need to act,” Yurek said. “Go­ing for­ward, we need to en­sure money is flow­ing to agen­cies that sup­port them, so that youth un­der the age of 18 have ser­vices and sup­ports avail­able to them.”

In Septem­ber, the prov­ince an­nounced that fund­ing of $18.6 mil­lion was ear­marked to help sur­vivors of hu­man traf­fick­ing heal and re­build their lives.

Yurek said he is prob­ing whether the money has be­gun to flow and whether any was El­gin County was al­lot­ted any.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.