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Durham MPPs Announces $300,000 to Help Local Fight Against Crime

Durham Region: On August 6, 2020, the Ontario Government announced an investment of more than $6 million over the next three years to help combat crime and build safer communities in Ontario. The Proceeds of Crime Front-line Policing (POC-FLP) Grant repurposes funds forfeited during criminal prosecutions and helps local police fight gun and gang crime, human trafficking and sexual violence. This year, $300,000 of provincial investment will be provided to the Durham Regional Police Services (DRPS) in collaboration with Helping Alliances Law Enforcement and Trafficking (HALT Project). This local initiative will add a second Human Trafficking Crisis Intervention Counsellor to Durham Regional Police Service’s Human Trafficking Investigative Unit (HT Unit), in a collaborative strategy to identify trafficked persons and connect them to social services. “The DRPS Human Trafficking Unit is grateful for the opportunity to add additional Victim Support in the ever increasing problems within the Region of Durham,” said Detective Sergeant Sean Sitaram, Durham Regional Police Services. “DRPS HTU is dedicated to conducting criminal investigations to hold the individuals that are involved in these serious crimes accountable and the increase in support for our survivors will assist in their recovery.” “Victim Services of Durham Region is heartened at the investment in improving services for Survivors of human trafficking. VSDR’s human trafficking statistics have doubled annually for the past three years,” said Kayla Yama, Interim Executive Director of Durham Victim Services. “This investment in Police and Victim Services’ partnerships enables survivors to receive trauma-informed care, while exiting incredibly traumatic experiences, which can make all the difference in their lives moving forward.” “To promote public safety and fight crime in Durham Region, we are providing our frontline police and community partners with the tools they need to do their jobs,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge. “Any time we have the opportunity to take away the resources criminals use to commit a crime, we should seize it, and with this grant program, that’s exactly what we are doing.” Funding from this grant would assist the DRPS HT Unit in fulfilling a community need to prevent youth in Durham from being recruited, lured and groomed into domestic human trafficking. Many teachers, parents and school social workers reach out to the HT Unit explaining the concerns they have regarding young girls in Durham Region being forced into the sex trade. With the acquisition of this funding, the HT Unit will be able to implement a new component in their fight against human trafficking. “We are repurposing the funds from the guns, cash and property confiscated from criminals to support victims of sex trafficking in Durham,” said Lindsey Park, Member of Provincial Parliament for Durham. “The Durham Regional Police Service’s Human Trafficking Unit is on the front lines of fighting this horrific crime that violates our most vulnerable and this funding will help their Unit respond to the victim’s complex needs.” HALT will run as a full day annual youth symposium aimed at helping youth identify the signs and stop exploitation before it begins. In conjunction with Victims Services of Durham Region (VSDR), the HT Unit will educate young people on the range of services available to those they suspect are becoming involved with human trafficking. “Crime should not pay and that is why we are standing up against criminals who prey on Ontario communities for profit,” said Sylvia Jones, Solicitor General. This investment builds on Ontario’s province-wide strategy to fight gun and gang violence, and its new comprehensive strategy to combat human trafficking.

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