Human trafficking is a serious crime that violates the freedoms and rights of individuals, including children, and attempts to destroy all personal identity and relationships. The three main categories of human trafficking are sex trafficking, labour trafficking and the trafficking of organs. Between 2011 and 2021, more than 3,500 incidents of human trafficking were reported across Canada. Many incidents go unreported, often due to fear among victims and survivors.
To fight against human trafficking, Alberta’s government developed the Alberta Human Trafficking Task Force, which submitted its final report in August of 2021. The report has five primary recommendations for government to assist in combatting human trafficking. The first of these is to create an Alberta Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons, which will facilitate the implementation of the remaining recommendations. Alberta’s government has committed $4 million over two years to make this office a reality.
“We can’t afford to close our eyes to the problem of human trafficking. And we can’t afford to ignore those who are at risk of being trafficked or those who have been trafficked. I’m proud that our government is creating this Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons to keep fighting this scourge on society.”
Operation of the Alberta Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons will be led in partnership by #NotInMyCity, Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA) and REACH Edmonton Council for Safer Communities. Under their leadership, the office is another step closer to connecting survivors and victims of human trafficking to important supports and services.
In addition to the work with victims and survivors, the Alberta Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons will enhance public awareness and establish a more effective data collection process. This data will monitor the effectiveness of service delivery and help close gaps in tracking cross-jurisdictional trafficking incidents.
“The first step to fighting human trafficking is to raise awareness of the issue and its presence right here in Alberta. We are grateful to have strong partnerships with organizations that have proven to be effective in this, along with directly supporting survivors and victims. Every investment made into the combating of human trafficking is helping restore the humanity and freedom that every individual deserves.”
#NotInMyCity is a non-profit organization working to prevent, disrupt and end human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Since 2016, the organization has been building community alliances to spur collective action, always learning from and elevating the voices of victims and survivors. The organization is an important education and awareness resource for affected sectors and all Albertans.
“This milestone wouldn’t be possible without the countless organizations and individuals who shared their experiences and expertise in our journey with Alberta’s Human Trafficking Task Force. Combating human trafficking requires collective action, and we applaud the province for taking a collaborative approach with the community.”
Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA) has operated in the province for more than five decades with a focus on fair and equitable treatment for Indigenous people across Alberta. From supports for family and youth to restorative justice to the active pursuit of reconciliation, the NCSA has had an important and positive impact on supports and assistance for Indigenous people in the province.
“We are advocating for Indigenous people in Alberta and committed to educating others on the important issues of exploitation and human trafficking. Understanding the Indigenous worldview and the resilience of Indigenous individuals, families and communities is a gift of learning. We are here to help and hear the people.”
REACH Edmonton Council for Safer Communities has brought together community members and organizations for more than a decade to address social challenges, advance community safety and build relationships between cultural minority communities and police services. Their experience in engaging and convening diverse community partners to find and fill service gaps will benefit the new office.
“Human trafficking is a complex problem that requires a systems approach to tackle, with multiple partners working in unison and leveraging our collective strengths and expertise. REACH is looking forward to helping build up and operate the new office to help make Alberta a safer place for everyone.”
With community partners now selected, work is underway to set up, organize and staff the office. The office will share updates on the progress of this work in the coming months.
- The task force was part of the Alberta government’s platform commitment to implement a nine-point Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.
- All nine points of Alberta’s Human Trafficking Action Plan have been implemented, or implementation is ongoing.
- Police services in Canada reported more than 3,500 incidents of human trafficking between 2011 and 2021, with the vast majority of victims (96 per cent) being women and girls, and one-quarter of victims under the age of 18.
- The most overrepresented victim group was Indigenous women and girls.
- Those interested in learning more about human trafficking, how to recognize it and how to help can take #NotInMyCity’s 30-minute online e-learning course Mobilizing Communities to Disrupt Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking in Canada.
- Human Trafficking Action Plan
- Human Trafficking Task Force
- Human Trafficking Task Force Report
- Mobilizing Communities to Disrupt Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking in Canada 30-minute online e-learning course
- Stepping up the fight against human trafficking (Oct 2, 2022)
- Fighting human trafficking (Mar 27, 2022)
- Task force to help protect vulnerable Albertans (May 19, 2020)