“Human trafficking is an unthinkable crime that denies a person their safety, freedom and individuality. It is a practice that strips victims of their essential human rights – victims who already belong to some of the most vulnerable groups in our province.

“That is why one of our government’s first platform commitments was to implement a nine-point Alberta Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. We have committed more than $20 million in funding to implement the Alberta Human Trafficking Task Force recommendations and are working with partners to establish an Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons, creating a new grant for coordinated community supports and Indigenous-led services, and providing funding for civilian positions focused on supporting survivors through the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams.

“Alberta, in partnership with former Alberta Human Trafficking Task Force chair Paul Brandt’s organization #NotInMyCity, is hosting a national summit in April for human trafficking investigators from across Canada. The meeting, known as the ‘Maddison Sessions’ in honour of sex trafficking victim Maddison Fraser, who tragically died in 2015, will encourage collaboration and find cross-jurisdictional opportunities to disrupt human trafficking.

“Along with taking these steps, we are providing better educational resources to help ensure Alberta’s public servants are aware of, and sensitive to, the challenges presented by human trafficking in our province. Human trafficking awareness modules are now available for all Government of Alberta staff to increase their knowledge of this social issue, the relevant legislation and how to help survivors more effectively.

“We have made progress, but we still have a long way to go to end this terrible crime. Defeating human trafficking is going to take all of us, working together, to help victims break down the systems that keep these crimes in place, and bring perpetrators to justice. I encourage Albertans to consider how this appalling crime affects our communities and how we can help fight human trafficking.”