Province funds fight against human trafficking in the north
The Ontario government has announced $1.5 million in cash and proceeds seized from criminals will be spent across the province to help local partners fight back against crime.
The Ontario government is spending more than $64,000 through the Civil Remedies Grant Program to support Angels of Hope Against Human Trafficking, which is based in Sudbury.
Officials said the money will fund youth compassion groups and human trafficking workshops for people who work closely with youth, including teachers across northeastern Ontario.
“Our youth compassion groups will consist of discussions about problematic substance abuse, human trafficking and sexual exploitation,” said Cristina Scarpellini, Angels of Hope Against Human Trafficking founder.
"We’re gonna' have a piece that’s called 'I am enough' and 'positive masculinity,' and for the service providers workshop we’re going to deliver innovative and educational workshops in person and online to service providers working with youth. These workshops will provide the necessary tools to recognize, identify, respond and prevent sex trafficking of youth."
Changes to strengthen the Civil Remedies Act passed under the 2020 Smarter and Stronger Justice Act allow personal property, such as cash or cars used by criminals for illegal activities, to be forfeited without a court order in cases where no interested person disputes the forfeiture.
“Crime should never pay, and these seized funds will help communities support victims of crime and fight back to break the cycle of offending,” said Vic Fedeli, MPP for Nipissing.
Another northern organization being recognized is the Nishnawbe Aski Police Services, which is receiving $99,000 for a mobile surveillance package that will provide service with the critical tools needed to disrupt criminal activities associated with the current drug crisis in rural and remote First Nations communities.
In 2020, the Ontario government spent $2.5 million in cash and proceeds from crime to support 33 local projects aimed at fighting human trafficking in communities across the province.