The Online Initiative to Address Human Trafficking – NEW Labour Trafficking Modules

By: Jack Xu
It’s difficult to wrap one’s head around the recent statistics assessing the prevalence of human trafficking globally – a staggering 40.3 million victims was estimated by the International Labour Organization. This phenomenon, largely invisible, is permeating communities across the globe. Ontario is not exempt from this.

Questions invariably arise: in what industries does it occur? Who are the individuals entangled in it? What are the techniques used by recruiters, and what are the indicators of this insidious crime? Indeed, what does one do if one is confronted with a case of a trafficked person? The Online Initiative to Address Human Trafficking explores each of these questions, and others that arise as one delves into the subject – questions that implicate and empower each of us to act.

Funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General and developed by MCIS Language Solutions, this free online training is composed of interactive modules that aim to both raise awareness, and equip participants with tools to recognize red flags and know what paths to pursue in a suspected case of trafficking.

It is a multi-faceted crime, and cases appear differently in different environments. Therefore, in addition to the 8-hour general training for service providers and the public at large, MCIS has developed industry-specific trainings including: training for law enforcement, legal and paralegal professionals, healthcare professionals.
Stories of survivors permeate the training – tales that can be as harrowing as they can be emboldening. Myths are shattered and a spectral set of questions is brought forth. The survivor’s journey before, during and after they have been disentangled from this phenomenon – the inner and outer barriers that need to be surmounted in the process of gaining autonomy – are pivotal to the training. Learners are invited to engage with these topics during live-webinars held by survivors, as well as front-line service providers, lawyers and activists. The questions they address span from how to build a transitional house for survivors (a webinar led by Julie Neubauer), to what barriers survivors face through the court process (led by Sarah Bell), to the particular vulnerabilities of aboriginal women and girls (led by Dr. Lavell-Harvard).

These webinars are also excellent opportunities for participants to shape questions addressed in the trainings to come. Currently a training on labour trafficking in Ontario is being developed in both English and French, to be launched in May.

Heeding suggestions made by our learners, in this new series of 3 modules, students will explore legal provisions that distinguish labour from sex trafficking while discussing circumstances where the lines are blurred; the modules offer lists of indicators that can be used by professionals and the general public; MCIS regards the phenomenon as both something practiced by individuals, who exploit through force and deception the vulnerability of others for profit, and as a problem that requires shifts in policy and culture in order to curtail. Attention is drawn both to the heinous practices of individual employers, and weaknesses in policies that allow for such exploitation, by examining policies governing the temporary foreign worker program, among others. The modules also highlight measures taken by the provincial and federal government to address these issues, as well as local, national and transnational organizations that are finding ways to diminish/eradicate this phenomenon from a multiplicity of angles.

The trainings are sobering, heart-breaking, thought-provoking and pragmatic. Above all, they are a reminder that no matter where you stand, there is an entry point to turn things around.

To learn how you can register for the new Labour Trafficking modules available in May please contact: or visit the program website at .

Flavia Zaka

Training Coordinator