Human Trafficking Forum Rescheduled to Nov 25 and 26
The Anti-Human Trafficking Committee of Violence Prevention Grey Bruce has announced an information session and community forum for late November. The free and public events will feature human trafficking experts and showcase the committee’s work to organize local responses to human trafficking in Grey and Bruce counties.
Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation, harbouring and/or exercising control, direction or influence over the movements of a person in order to exploit that person, typically through sexual exploitation or forced labour. Beginning in 2018, Violence Prevention Grey Bruce received grant funding to create the first community committee focused on understanding and addressing human sex-trafficking in the twin counties. Since then the committee has raised public awareness about the issue, developed asset maps of local services, and provided local service providers with the tools to recognize and respond to people who are experiencing trafficking. The grant was supposed to conclude with a forum in March but that event was cancelled due to the pandemic. Instead, organizers will present the events online.
The forum will begin on the evening of Wednesday November 25th with a keynote presentation from Kaitlin Bick and Carly Church, two survivors of human trafficking who now work professionally to support victims and advocate for change.
“We’ve been taught to think of human trafficking as a city problem but people are being trafficked in Grey Bruce”, said Violence Prevention Grey Bruce coordinator, Jon Farmer. “People can be trafficked at as young as 12 or 13 years old. It can happen to anyone and young women are disproportionately the targets of traffickers. It doesn’t matter how much money your parents make or what school someone goes to. We need to raise awareness about this issue among both adults and young people if we’re going to prevent the violence and exploitation of trafficking in our communities”.
The evening event will live stream on Violence Prevention Grey Bruce’s website, Facebook page, and Youtube channel. The organizers are encouraging children as young as 12 to watch with their families. All adults who have children in their lives or who work with the public are encouraged to participate as well.
Registration for the half day forum on the 26th is open now at www.vpgb.ca. That event will focus on what service providers need to know if their work involves people who are at risk of being trafficked. Bick and Church will deliver another presentation and members of Violence Prevention’s anti-human trafficking subcommittee will introduce the tools and resources developed over the previous two years.
According to Farmer, the more that we can raise awareness about the issue and the warning signs, the more our community will be able to prevent exploitation.
“Human trafficking has come to greater attention over the past few years but we have a lot or work still to do. As caring adults, we need to be familiar with the warning signs and comfortable enough to talk with young people about relationships and exploitation. And as service providers we need to know how to recognize the warning signs and support people who have been exploited. Before we can do any of that, we need to do our own learning and this forum is a step in that direction”.