Today, to mark the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, the Durham Region Human Trafficking Coalition unveiled a newly wrapped police cruiser designed to raise awareness and combat human trafficking.
This year’s theme for the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons is “Victims’ voices lead the way,” to highlight the importance of listening to and learning from survivors of human trafficking. The newly wrapped cruiser promotes the Durham Region Human Trafficking Coalition website StopHT.com – a website developed to assist victims and direct them to local agencies that can help.
Human trafficking is the fastest growing crime in Canada. Sixty-six (66) per cent of all human trafficking in Canada occurs in Ontario and it is a growing problem in Durham Region. DRPS’ human trafficking (HT) unit has reported a year-over-year increase in human trafficking investigations since 2018. In 2020 the HT unit conducted 137 investigations. As of June 30th this year (2021), they have already conducted 155 investigations.
“The reality is that human trafficking is happening in Durham region. It is happening in hotels through-out the Region, not far from our schools and other places where youth hang out. This vehicle will be on patrol in Durham Region to raise awareness of StopHT.com, in hopes that victims and potential victims see the vehicle, visit the website and learn how victims are lured by traffickers, as well as where they can get local help if they are being trafficked,” says Detective Dave Davies from the HT Unit.
“Not only is the new HT DRPS cruiser an incredible tool to create awareness of human trafficking in the Durham community, if even one survivor who sees it driving by will be guided to the StopHT.com website to see all the supports we offer in the community, it will be a win,” adds Carly Kalish, Executive Director – Victim Services of Durham Region.
If you are a victim of or suspect human trafficking, contact Durham Regional Police at 1-888-579-1520 ext 5600 or Durham Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
The Durham Region Human Trafficking Coalition is made up of the following agencies:
Durham Regional Police
Victim Services of Durham Region
Victim Witness Assistance Program (Ministry of the Attorney General)
Set Free Durham
Murray Mckinnon Foundation
CAREA Community Health Centre
Niijkiwendidaa Anishnaabekwewag Services Circle
Durham Mental Health Services
Region of Durham Social Services (Income and Employment Supports Division)
Durham Rape Crisis Centre
Women’s Multicultural Resource and Counselling Centre of Durham (WMRCC)
Youth Justice Services (Ministry of Children and Youth Services)
Catholic Family Services of Durham
Durham Children’s Aid Society
HT Wrap MR