Report calls Ontario 'major hub' for human trafficking, sexual violence

TORONTO -- A new report says Ontario has become a "major hub" for human trafficking and sexual violence in Canada, with most of the victims being local underage girls and young women.

See Full Article

The report by a provincial legislative committee is calling on the Liberal government to increase funding for the justice system and create a co-ordinated, province-wide strategy.

"These young women, girls really, underaged girls and children, are being forced into sex work in our cities and towns, and they really are the girls next door," said Progressive Conservative MPP Laurie Scott.

The government should provide the same sort of dedicated funding for an anti-trafficking task force as it did for Toronto's 'Guns and Gangs' initiative, Scott said.

The committee, which issued its report on the final day of the fall session Thursday, said human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation is the most common form of trafficking in Canada, and Ontario is acting as a "major" hub.

"We need to send resources to law enforcement and to the justice system so there is a concentrated team that works throughout the province, because these girls are trafficked widely throughout the province on a daily basis," said Scott.

The committee travelled across Ontario hearing stories from 147 women who were victims of rape or sexual harassment. Committee members, including two former nurses and another who worked in a rape crisis centre, said despite their experience they were often in shock listening to women tell "gut wrenching" stories of sexual assaults.

"I don't think any of us were prepared for what we heard," said New Democrat MPP Peggy Sattler. "It was very difficult to control our own emotions as we watched survivors struggling to hold back tears as they relived the pain and trauma of what they went through."

Tracy MacCharles, the minister of children and youth services who is responsible for a sexual violence and harassment bill that is now before the legislature, said the committee's recommendations, including the call for a task force, will help strengthen her bill.

"I'm open to all good ideas on this," said MacCharles. "I'll be sitting down with the premier on this."

Liberal Daiene Vernile, who chaired the committee, said it's up to the government to decide how to proceed, but she wants to make sure the recommendations are implemented.

"For many witnesses, it was very difficult for them to appear before this committee, and reliving the trauma of being violated," she said. "But they did so hoping that there would be some kind of positive outcome, and we don't want to let them down."

The committee found almost 60 per cent of sexual assault victims in Canada are under the age of 18, and a quarter of them are under the age of 12. Most victims -- 92 per cent -- are women, and the overwhelming majority of attackers -- 99 per cent -- were men.

It also found Ontario lacks up-to-date statistics about the incidence of sexual harassment and childhood sexual abuses, and doesn't have a standardized system to track cases of human trafficking.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Trump recounts minute-by-minute details of Soleimani strike to donors at Mar-a-Lago

    World News CTV News
    U.S. President Trump recounted minute-by-minute details of the strike that killed Iran's top military commander during remarks to high-dollar Republican donors at his South Florida estate, according to audio obtained by CNN. Trump, speaking at a GOP fundraising dinner Friday evening, offered new details about the strike that killed Gen. Source
  • Thousands gather for Women's March rallies across the U.S.

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Thousands gathered in cities across the country Saturday as part of the nationwide Women's March rallies focused on issues such as climate change, pay equity, reproductive rights and immigration. Hundred showed up in New York City and thousands in Washington, D.C. Source
  • House Dems to outline case for removing Trump from office

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- House Democrats were preparing to outline their case for removing U.S. President Donald Trump from office in a legal brief due Saturday, as opposing sides in the impeachment case look ahead to the opening of the historic trial in the Senate. Source
  • More than 150 injured after police, protesters clash in Lebanon's capital

    World News CBC News
    Riot police fired tear gas and sprayed water cannons near parliament in Lebanon's capital Saturday to disperse thousands of protesters after riots broke out during a march against the ruling elite amid a severe economic crisis. Source
  • Lebanon police fire tear gas, water cannons at protesters amid Beirut riots

    World News CBC News
    Riot police fired tear gas and sprayed water cannons near parliament in Lebanon's capital Saturday to disperse thousands of protesters after riots broke out during a march against the ruling elite amid a severe economic crisis. Source
  • Prince Harry and Meghan give up royal titles, public funding

    World News CBC News
    Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will no longer be working members of the Royal Family and will, therefore, no longer use their royal titles or taxpayer money, according to a statement from Buckingham Palace released Saturday. Source
  • Prince Harry and Meghan will give up royal titles, public funding

    World News CBC News
    Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, will no longer be working members of the Royal Family and will, therefore, no longer use their royal titles or taxpayer money, according to a statement from Buckingham Palace released Saturday. Source
  • Harry and Meghan will no longer use royal titles, receive public funds for duties

    World News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Harry and Meghan will no longer use their "royal highness" titles or receive public funds for royal duties, Buckingham Palace announced Saturday.Sign up for our Royal Dispatch newsletter for all the latest Royal news Source
  • Prince Harry, Meghan will no longer use 'royal highness' titles

    World News CTV News
    TORONTO -- v> Prince Harry and Meghan will no longer use their 'royal highness' titles or receive public funds for royal duties, Buckingham Palace announced Saturday.Sign up for our Royal Dispatch newsletter for all the latest Royal news Source
  • Protests close Louvre museum in Paris amid pension strikes

    World News CBC News
    Dozens of protesters blocked the entrance to the Louvre museum and forced the famous Paris landmark to close Friday while they denounced the French government's plans to overhaul the pension system. Protesters later chased down President Emmanuel Macron at an evening theatre performance in northern Paris. Source