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Prevention is the focus of 2024 human trafficking conference in Sudbury

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Several community partners in Sudbury hosted a human trafficking conference Friday at the Steelworkers Hall.

The theme was ‘prevention through connection.’ There were more than 250 people in attendance learning how to help children and youth from becoming victims of human trafficking and helping those who have.

Dr. Catherine Horvath, a psychologist from Ottawa, was the keynote speaker. She talked about childhood trauma and how it can lead to young people becoming victims of human trafficking.

“The people who are most likely to get involved in human trafficking have a trauma history before they become trafficked,” Horvath said.

“So it tends to be a cycle of poly-victimization where then they are encountering additional traumas by being trafficked.”

Sudbury and Area Victim Services was one of the partners hosting the conference. Officials said social media is the leading factor in recruiting young people into sex trafficking.

“We have predators and traffickers that prey on our youth on every social media platform on every gaming platform and it has changed the game,” said human trafficking education coordinator Tiffany Pyoli York.

“It really has enabled traffickers so much more freedom and so much more access to our kids and public.”

Greater Sudbury Police was also a presenting partner at the conference.

“It was focused on front-line workers working with children and youth,” said Chelsea Gauthier, Indigenous trauma prevention and support coordinator with the police.

“So we have I think about 20 organizations that are taking part today.”

Everyone attending the conference was given the ‘Guiding Our Path - Together We Heal’ tool kit for survivors of human trafficking and intimate partner violence.

Greater Sudbury police said the tool kit is also available on its website for everyone.

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