A new collaborative community project is being launched to help combat human trafficking in Niagara.
TOES (Tools of Empowerment for Success) Niagara is working in partnership with Brock University Professional and Continuing Studies to develop a code of conduct to increase awareness of human trafficking and provide resources, including prevention strategies, for hospitality and tourism businesses and organizations in the region.
The Welland-based non-profit organization — which supports and promotes the empowerment of women, with a special focus on marginalized and racialized women and youth — has received funding from the Government of Canada’s Women and Gender Equality (WAGE) office to bring the project to fruition.
The initiative will build on an existing promising practice that has come out of the European Union to prevent human trafficking. The practice engages key stakeholders in the community to develop a code that local industry members may adopt to support workers in the travel and tourism sector in identifying and preventing human trafficking.
“Fighting against human trafficking is a collective effort. This collaboration between TOES Niagara and Brock University isn’t just a necessity, it forms the bedrock of impactful policy development,” says Nyarayi Kapisavanhu, Executive Director at TOES Niagara. “Together, we will not only harness knowledge, empathy and grassroots insights to highlight the dangers vulnerable populations face when it comes to human trafficking but also provide resources for prevention.”
The project will look to support vulnerable populations in the Niagara region, including newcomers to Canada, through the development of a code of conduct that will be brought to local businesses and organizations, particularly in the hospitality and tourism industry, for adoption. Stakeholders will be consulted throughout the document’s development to ensure it is applicable for the Niagara region.
Brock will work with TOES Niagara to create the policy and educational materials for local businesses. The tools and resources for prevention of human trafficking will be developed and delivered over the next three years.
“This important program reflects Brock University’s deep commitment to partnering with community organizations and local industry to improve lives throughout the Niagara region,” says Rajiv Jhangiani, Vice-Provost, Teaching and Learning at Brock University.
“We are proud to support the prevention of human trafficking through the development of educational resources,” he says.
“I am pleased to support TOES Niagara in their continued efforts to empower immigrant and marginalized women within our community. The project is centred around creating policy for people in the hospitality and travel industry, that addresses and educates individuals surrounding the issues of human trafficking for labour and/or sexual exploitation,” says Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre. “The Niagara region is a renowned tourist destination, thus making this funding crucial in educating individuals on the ways they can protect themselves against human trafficking. TOES Niagara and Brock University are continuing to support our local community with important projects like this one.”
Funding is provided by the Government of Canada’s Women and Gender Equality Canada.