SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Gary Arora, Zakia Bouachraoui, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan

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Launch of First Anti-Human Trafficking On-line Training Program for Service Providers in British Columbia

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 06/22/11 -- Today, the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice and the Honourable Shirley Bond, BC's Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, commended British Columbia's Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons (OCTIP), on the launch of a training curriculum aimed at enhancing the ability of first responders and service providers to identify, assist and protect victims of human trafficking in British Columbia.

"The Government of Canada is committed to continuing its efforts to combat human trafficking both at home and abroad and to supporting our partners with the tools they need to prevent this terrible crime," said Minister Toews. "This partnership is just one example of our commitment to protect victims and to bring those who traffic in persons to justice."

"We remain committed to combating the exploitation of vulnerable persons and will continue to take steps to ensure that all Canadians can live in safe and healthy communities," said Minister Nicholson. "First responders must be in a position to identify, support and protect those who have been victimized by human trafficking. I commend those who work so hard to put an end to this heinous crime."

Support for this training initiative is the latest example of the Government of Canada's ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking. Other measures have included:

--  Enabling immigration officers to issue short-term temporary resident
    permits (TRP) to trafficking victims;
--  Allocating $6 million per year to strengthen existing federal efforts to
    combat the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children by enhancing
    current enforcement responses and public awareness activities;
--  Supporting the creation of mandatory jail sentences for persons
    convicted of child trafficking;
--  Launching two national awareness campaigns to better inform the public
    about human trafficking; and,
--  Hosting regional, national and international roundtables aimed at
    preventing human trafficking.

"Human trafficking is unacceptable, and this is the reason the BC Government created the Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons," said Minister Bond. "Since we established the BC office in 2007 we've made it a priority to develop partnerships with all levels of government, First Nations, police, and other community organizations to fight this terrible crime. I am pleased that we can now offer this unique training program online to help identify and protect victims, and in particular help prevent the exploitation of Aboriginal people."

The curriculum was developed through a contribution agreement of over $106,000 between Public Safety Canada and Justice Canada with in-kind support from OCTIP.

If you have information concerning a human trafficking victim, please call the local police, or report it anonymously to Crime Stoppers at: 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

In BC, OCTIP operates a toll-free 24/7 telephone line to assist trafficked persons to obtain services at: 1-888-712-7974.

For more information about BC's Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons and to access the new on-line training curriculum, please visit the website: www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/octip

Contacts:
Media Relations
Public Safety Canada
613-991-0657
[email protected]

Media Relations
BC Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
250-356-6961

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