Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day in Ontario and as such, the Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking launched a new website to help educate people about human trafficking and to provide community supports and services for survivors/victims.

“Thunder Bay remains one of the top six hubs in Ontario for human trafficking, so it’s important to continue to help victims and survivors access resources, while also educating the community about this largely under-reported crime,” said Cindy Paypompee, Co-Chair – Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking. “We encourage everyone to visit the website to learn how they can recognize and report suspected human trafficking in our community.”

People often confuse human trafficking with human smuggling (across borders). However, girls and women who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents are the most represented individuals trafficked in Ontario. In fact, Ontario is a major centre for human trafficking in Canada, with about two-thirds of the reported cases.

The average age of recruitment/luring is 13 years of age. Anyone can become a victim of human trafficking, but there are groups of people who tend to be targeted more, including Indigenous women and girls, homeless and marginalized youth, people struggling with mental health and substance misuse conditions, and those with developmental disabilities. Often this happens to people because they think they are in a trusting relationship with someone, and that person exploits them.

“Human trafficking is a crime and considered an abuse of human rights that unfortunately our community is not immune to,” said Kristal Carlson, Co-Chair – Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking. “The Coalition was formed three years ago to bring together resources to support survivors of this crime.”

Canada has a dedicated, confidential, 24/7 human trafficking hotline: 1-833-900-1010. The hotline provides information on services available across Ontario.

See the Thunder Bay Coalition’s new website.

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Contact: Kristal Carlson, Co-chair – Coalition to End Human Trafficking, (807) 633-7098,