The government of Alberta is “stepping up fight” against human trafficking with an investment of $20.8 million over the next four years.
The provincial government says to protect and help the vulnerable from exploitation and trafficking, the Alberta Human Trafficking Task Force’s five recommendations will be implemented.
The funding will be used to build a centre for research and data collection and implement an Office to fight trafficking, a new grant for community projects and Indigenous-led and culturally appropriate services, fund jobs for people through the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams to support victims, and implement other activities.
The government adds it’s investing in this project to help victims come forward “due to the nature of the crime” which make statistics and data collection difficult to obtain.
“One of our very first platform commitments was to implement a nine-point Alberta Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking,” said Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney. “Today’s announcement of over $20 million in additional funding continues that life-saving work. Ensuring that we put real resources into implementing the recommendations of our Human Trafficking Task Force, chaired by Paul Brandt. Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery. Today’s step reinforces Alberta’s determination to stamp out this terrible exploitation.”
Tyler Shandro, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, says victims will be able to receive professional help.
“This funding is critical to combat human trafficking in the province,” Shandro said. “It will allow survivors and victims of human trafficking to receive the specialized services they need and reduce the risk of re-exploitation.”
Country singer Paul Brandt, chair of the Alberta Human Trafficking Task Force, says this will make a difference in the lives of the vulnerable.
“Stewarding the learning in the task force report was a profound and sacred privilege,” said Brandt. “I am pleased to see next steps come to fruition and thankful that the government is providing funding to start implementing this critical work.”
Supt. Marc Cochlin, chief executive officer of Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams, adds this project will create a safe environment for vulnerable people.
“ALERT is committed to targeting perpetrators of human trafficking, but more importantly, equipping survivors and loved ones with the long-term engagement resources needed to escape,” Cochlin said. “This funding will solidify unconstrained access to sustainable supports and create the safe environment needed to break the trauma bond.”
Human trafficking is a serious crime that strips people of their rights, freedom, and humanity where traffickers use violence and threats against their victims.