Alberta announces $20.8 million in funding to fight human trafficking

The Government of Alberta will provide $20.8 million over the next four years to implement the recommendations of a star-led task force on human trafficking.

Country singer Paul Brandt, chairman of the Alberta Human Trafficking Task Force, personally thanked Premier Jason Kenney during the funding announcement Sunday at Edmonton International Airport for his willingness to prioritize the problem and having trusted Brandt to lead the group.

« Premier Kenney’s long-standing personal dedication and commitment to the issue of human trafficking is genuine and admirable, » said Brandt.

“He is the only political leader I have met in my 17 years of advocacy for victims and survivors of trafficking who has taken the time and initiative to personally craft a plan to combat this horrific crime. «

The money will help establish an anti-trafficking office as well as a center of excellence for research and data collection – recommendations the government accepted when the task force presented its report in March.

Justice Minister Tyler Shandro said the goal was to launch the office by next summer.

Country singer Paul Brandt is chair of the Alberta Human Trafficking Task Force. (Warner Music Canada)

Other task force recommendations that will be supported include a new grant for community-based projects and Indigenous-led and culturally appropriate services.

Civilian positions that will focus on supporting victims and survivors throughout human trafficking investigations will also be funded.

« Human trafficking is much more widespread – much more common – than the statistics suggest, because it is a hidden crime, » Kenney said during the announcement.

« It escalates in the dark. There are victims who face fear, shame and self-doubt and some who will never report what they have experienced. »

The task force was appointed in May 2020 and has worked with nearly 100 experts and survivors of trafficking to provide advice on how best to implement the government’s action plan to combat human trafficking .

It festers in the dark. There are victims who face fear, shame and self-doubt and some who will never report what they have experienced.-Jason Kenney

The government has stated that human trafficking includes sexual exploitation, trafficking in forced labor and trafficking in human organs or tissues.

Kenney, who will be replaced as prime minister when his United Conservative Party chooses a new leader on Thursday, noted that he started fighting human trafficking more than 20 years ago when he was an MP and had joins a group of international parliamentarians in a coalition to fight the practice. .

Later, as Canada’s Immigration Minister, he said he had taken steps to make it easier for victims of human trafficking who had emigrated to Canada to obtain safety and protection.

In the winter of 2019, he said he engaged the UCP in a nine-point action plan to combat human trafficking, which led to the Protection of Survivors of Human Trafficking Act, which entered into force in May 2020.


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