London hosting human-trafficking training session for police officers and other frontline workers

A renowned Canadian human-trafficking expert is leading a training program in London for police and other frontline workers.

Located on the Highway 401 corridor between Windsor and Toronto, London has been identified as a hub for human trafficking - writes

The two-day training session, kicking off Monday, aims to create a trauma-informed, community-based response to human trafficking.

Jacqueline Linder, a psychologist specializing in profiling human-trafficking survivors, is hosting a seminar on advanced psychological first-aid training. A professor at the University of Edmonton, Linder is the founder and executive director of the Chrysalis Anti-Human Trafficking Network.

The first day of training will draw 250 police officers, justice officials and staffers from dozens of community organizations to the Best Western Lamplighter Inn on Wellington Road, say organizers.

The second day, designed specifically for police officers and justice workers, will focus on the lasting effects that being trafficked can have on survivors. Participants will learn how to be support human-trafficking victims through the court system.

Experts are warning that human trafficking is on the rise across Ontario.

In April, London police wrapped up a six-month investigation into human trafficking and prostitution, known as Project Equinox, that led to 129 charges across the region.

The province announced in September that it would distribute up to $18.6 million to 44 organizations working to end human trafficking across Ontario. Eight Southwestern Ontario agencies, including three in London, will receive more than $1.4 million in funding.

Megan Walker, executive director of London Abused Women’s Centre, says outreach work in the community is key weapon in the fight against human trafficking, a criminal enterprise she calls a multi-billion dollar industry.

“We also know that organized crime plays a huge role in sex trafficking,” Walker said.

In addition to offering support services to human-trafficking victims, the LAWC visits schools, groups homes and youth detention centres to educate young people on the issue.

“When you’re vulnerable you can be trafficked very easily,” Walker said, adding that family support plays an important role helping women escape the cycle.

Later this month, Walker is one of a half-dozen Canadians being honoured for their efforts to combat human trafficking at this year’s Joy Smith Foundation gala in Winnipeg.

Read other news of London here.

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