Alberta has appointed an anti-human trafficking task force to help the province fight human trafficking and assist survivors.
On Tuesday, Premier Jason Kenney announced the creation of the Human Trafficking Task Force, which will provide the government with recommendations on supporting survivors and implementing the nine-point action plan.
“Alberta should be a place where people can live safely, free from exploitation and coercion. Sadly, human trafficking exists in our province, and it is our duty to bring these human rights violations to light and do more to protect those at risk,” Kenney said.
“This provincial Human Trafficking Task Force brings together knowledgeable and dedicated individuals to provide advice on protecting and empowering some of Alberta’s most vulnerable.”
The task force will be headed by country musician and longtime anti-trafficking activist Paul Brandt.
In 2017 Brandt and his wife Liz founded the organization #NotInMyCity, a group which raises awareness about human trafficking.
“The launch of this task force acknowledges and elevates the true value of the life of every human trafficking victim. Traffickers measure the worth of another by dollar and cents without thought or concern for an individual’s dignity, safety or life,” Brandt said.
“Today we’re standing up and saying we will not tolerate human trafficking in Alberta.”
According to the most recent information from Statistics Canada, human trafficking cases have increased significantly since 2009.
Last week the Alberta government passed Bill 8, which empowers police to prevent sex trafficking and increases protections for sex trafficking victims.
The creation of the task force comes weeks after anti-sex trafficking organizations across Canada learned that their federal funding would not be renewed.
Several weeks ago, the Trudeau government ended the Harper-era Measures to Address Prostitution Initiative (MAPI) which provided funding to organizations fighting sex trafficking and supporting victims.
Two organization leaders said they were trying to gain information about the future of their funding for months before the government abruptly told them MAPI would end.