Committed experts from around the world and across assorted areas are in the city for the three-day Toronto Police Administration (TPS) Global Illegal exploitation meeting.
During the event, which will last for three days, they will look into a wide range of communities and organizations that can help victims and survivors of intimate partner violence and human trafficking.
Agents will acquire knowledge on illegal exploitation casualties’ injury and understand the impacts that they persevere as well as knowledge on current worldwide issues that lead to exploitation in their separate wards.
According to Chief Myron Demkiw, the conference provides an opportunity to collaborate with some of the most innovative individuals and organizations working to combat a crime that puts far too many people at risk and to exchange ideas.
He stated at the March 20 opening ceremony, “Human trafficking is not an abstract or distant problem for us here in Toronto and for many communities across the country.” We can all see the horrifying victims all around us. They are our neighbors, friends, children, brothers, and sisters, and they are subjected to the most severe human abuses known to man. They are also pleading for assistance.
“We are here to respond to that call. to expand our networks with other police services and community organizations to improve victim support, to strengthen our investigative skills in human trafficking investigations, and to find ways to improve our capacity to support victims and survivors of human trafficking and intimate partner violence.
Ontario has more cases of human trafficking than the national average.
Demkiw stated that this is astonishment and grave concern.
“Unfortunately, our major cities and urban hubs have created more opportunities for human trafficking crimes,” he pointed out. “With more people, more transportation options and more access to accommodations, it has become easier for traffickers to conceal their actions. If a trafficker starts their mission in Toronto, they could mobilize on a moment’s notice and travel right across the province in only a matter of hours. This is a common practice that allows criminals to access different customer bases and avoid law enforcement detention.”
Despite the insidious nature of the crime, Demkiw noted that Toronto Police is making progress to stem the tide.
The Service established a Human Trafficking Enforcement Team nine years ago because it recognized the need for a specialized unit that is victim-centered and focuses on assisting individuals in their efforts to break the cycle of exploitation by their traffickers.
It consists of the Children at Risk Exploitation Team, which works in conjunction with the enforcement team of the Service and child protection workers from Toronto Children’s Aid. It focuses on youths between the ages of 12 and 17 who are at risk of being trafficked.
“This is just one example of work,” noted Demkiw. “But it underlines that the centrepiece of all our efforts to combat human trafficking is partnership. The Service is proud to be part of the province’s intelligence-led Joint Forces Strategy that has forged vital partnerships across jurisdictions. And we are seeing positive and direct results from this collaboration as it has been highly effective in providing specialized support for the investigations that are underway.”
Demkiw re-iterated the Service’s support for organizations engaged in the fight against human trafficking.
“We believe that every victim impacted by human trafficking and sexual exploitation deserves to be treated with respect, dignity, fairness and honesty,” he added. “And, to the best of our ability, we will fulfill our duty to identify, arrest and prosecute those responsible for this terrible crime.”
Specialized Criminal Investigations/Sex Crimes Inspector Susan Gomes commended Inspector David Correa for envisioning the Service hosting an international conference.
A year ago, he was in charge of the Human Trafficking Section as a Detective Sergeant.
“You planted a seed with your team at the time and it continued to grow under the leadership of Acting Detective Sergeant Earle Davies to what you see here today,” noted Gomes. “You will be proud of what they have accomplished as the conference unfolds over the next three days. Thank you for your dedication and compassion for this type of work and thank you for giving up your time this week away from your role as second in command at 55 Division to participate as the Master of Ceremonies.”
Staff Superintendent Pauline Gray and Superintendent Mark Barsky also spoke at the opening ceremony.