Toronto has recently been named a ‘major hub’ for human trafficking within Canada. Of all police-reported cases nationwide, 65% occur in Ontario alone. According to a study conducted by the Alliance Against Modern Slavery in 2014, it was estimated that in Canada 71% of human trafficking cases involved domestic sex trafficking. Sex trafficking is defined as the recruitment, transportation, harbouring and/or exercising control, direction, or influence over the movements of a person in order to exploit them. Human trafficking is considered a serious criminal offence, and is strictly prohibited under the Criminal Code of Canada, which outlines six offenses specific to human trafficking. Sex trafficking is the most prevalent form of modern slavery within Canada. We spoke to policy experts to identify solutions in addressing this problem that affects over 16,000 Canadians.
Bruce Rivers is the Executive Director of Covenant House Toronto and Special Advisor to the International Forum for Child Welfare. As a highly regarded child welfare expert and advocate, Bruce has over 30 years of experience fighting for the protection of child and youth rights on a global scale. He has held a number of senior executive roles, including 16 years as Executive Director of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto. Bruce also served as Director at the local Catholic Children’s Aid, the Chief Executive Officer of Community Living Toronto, and the Executive Director of the Child Welfare Secretariat of the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services. Bruce has been an active member of numerous national and international boards, forums and task forces devoted to research and advocacy. He obtained his Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto, and is a sought after speaker.
Michele Anderson is the sex-trafficking specialist at Covenant House and has spent more than 30 years supporting young victims of sexual abuse. Michele’s devotion to this work goes beyond her time with Covenant House as she is also a member of the Toronto Counter Human Trafficking Network and was a presenter at the Alliance Against Modern Slavery’s Symposium. Michele has contributed to the Ontario Coalition Research Initiative on the “Incidence of Human Trafficking in Ontario” and Justice Canada’s Forum on Forced Marriage. As an anti-trafficking advocate, Michele works collaboratively with numerous community partners, including the Toronto Police Service’s Human Trafficking Enforcement Team. She provided instrumental support to the victims involved in Toronto’s first human trafficking conviction in 2014.
Julia Chan & Macrina Smart, Hosts & Producers
Ian T.D. Thomson & Jonah Kotzer, Technical Producers
Samira Basir, Executive Producer
Not Dead by Fine Times
More Like You by Brave Shores