Raising awareness of sex trafficking ‘warning signs’ aim of Halton school boards’ session

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Published May 23, 2024 at 9:29 pm

Ontario, Burlington, Oakville, Milton, Halton Hills, sex trafficking, exploitation, information, session, Halton, school boards

Halton’s school boards are coming together to raise awareness about sex trafficking and sexual exploitation in the region.

The Halton Catholic District School Board (HDCSB) and Halton District School Board (HDSB) are joining forces with SAVIS of Halton (Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Services) and EFRY (hope and help for women) to host a joint information session on Thursday, June 13 at Bishop Reding Catholic Secondary School (1120 Main Street East) in Milton, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

“We are committed to equipping our students, educators, and families with the knowledge to identify and address the warning signs of sex trafficking,” said Anthony Cordeiro, Superintendent of Education overseeing Safe Schools at the Halton Catholic District School Board. “This additional information session is vital in our ongoing commitment to creating and sustaining safe school communities.”

While sexual assault cases were down by 29.5 percent in Halton last year compared to 2022, other sex offences increased by 28.2 percent in 2023 compared to the year before.

Human trafficking cases, according to Halton Regional Police statistics, increased a whopping 74 percent from 2021 to 2022.

This is the second session the school boards will be hosting after the “overwhelming” interest showing in a joint Ant-Sex Trafficking information session held back in February.

Organizers say the event will uncover the realities of sex trafficking and exploitation and provide insight into who is at risk, digital and cyber security considerations, warning signs, and how to keep our children and youth safe.

Survivors of sex trafficking will be on hand to tell their stories, while those in attendance can also connect with representatives from SAVIS and EFRY.

“Following strong community engagement at our initial session, we are committed to continuing our efforts to combat sex trafficking in our community,” said Jennifer Fowler, Superintendent of Education with responsibility for Safe Schools for the Halton District School Board.

“Education and community collaboration remain vital. By coming together once again, we aim to further raise awareness, enhance prevention strategies, and ensure the safety and well-being of our students and community members.”

The information session is open to everyone in the Halton community. Child minding will be provided for children aged four and up.

You can register to attend online here.

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