Alberta commits $4 million for first-in-Canada approach to combat human trafficking

Alberta is taking the lead on addressing human trafficking with the creation of a first-of-its-kind office to facilitate cross-sector collaboration to address one of Canada’s fastest growing crimes.  

Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA), #NotInMyCity and REACH Edmonton are partnering with the Government of Alberta to fight human trafficking across the province. 

The province is investing $4 million to create the Alberta Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons. This office will work to improve supports for victims and survivors, as well as invest in prevention. The funding will support the office over two years. 

Following the Alberta government’s nine-point Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, the Alberta Human Trafficking Task Force submitted its final report in August, 2021.The primary recommendation of the task force was the creation of this office, which will facilitate the implementation of the remaining recommendations.

Award-winning country singer Paul Brandt spearheaded much of this work as founder and president of #NotInMyCity and chaired the task force. 

“This milestone wouldn’t be possible without the countless organizations and individuals who shared their experiences and expertise in our journey with Alberta’s Human Trafficking Task Force,” says Brandt. “Combating human trafficking requires collective action, and we applaud the province for taking a collaborative approach with the community.”

For more than a decade, REACH has worked as a backbone organization, supporting the work of partners on the ground, which enables them to focus on the issues at hand. REACH’s strength is engaging and convening diverse community partners to inform, pilot and accelerate solutions for complex challenges. 

“Human trafficking is a complex problem that requires a collective approach to tackle, with multiple partners working in unison and leveraging our collective strengths and expertise,” says Jan Fox, Executive Director of REACH Edmonton, who was also a member of the task force. “REACH is looking forward to helping build up and operate the new office to help make Alberta a safer place for everyone.”

Partnerships in the community are key to ensuring the office is able to engage the vulnerable communities that are most affected by this issue. Statistics show that Indigenous women and girls are at significantly higher risk of being trafficked than other groups. This makes partnership with Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA) essential, as it has a strong history of tackling complex issues while empowering Indigenous people.  

This further supports the office’s commitment to empowering survivors and ensuring their voices are central to everything the office does. 

“We are advocating for Indigenous people in Alberta and committed to educating others on the important issues of exploitation and human trafficking,” says Marlene Orr, CEO of NCSA. “Understanding the Indigenous worldview and the resilience of Indigenous individuals, families and communities is a gift of learning. We are here to help, and hear, the people.”

With community partners selected, work is underway to set up, organize and staff the office in the coming months.



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