Submitted by Sr Lois, fcJ, to mark July 30 – World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.
The FCJ Refugee Centre’s Anti-Human Trafficking Program has been at the forefront of the work done on human trafficking in Toronto and surrounding areas. They have held numerous forums during the past few years, and it has always been their viewpoint to include all forms of trafficking, not only the sex trade.
The FCJ Refugee Centre realized that currently, there is a lack of services, settlement and/or legal, available to migrant workers who are exploited or at risk. To respond to this, the Centre has launched the Migrant Workers Welcome Program, with three main goals: 1) to prevent instances of labour exploitation by informing migrant workers about labour and immigration laws, policies and available community supports; 2) to identify at-risk or potential labour exploitation cases with the support of peers, and offer holistic case management support services; 3) to collect information about the extent of labour exploitation as well as the complex experiences of migrant workers exploited within the spectrum. Most specifically this project aims to outline the spectrum within which migrant workers are exploited, and complexities of their unique needs and support which will reflect future policy development.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many migrant farmworkers have contracted the virus and three have died. This fact has brought the plight of migrant workers to the attention of the general public. There is a growing movement to give farmworkers better living conditions, better pay, and a path to permanent residence, which would give them better access to health care. The FCJ Refugee Centre has continued to be in touch with farmworkers through phone contact and has been working with other organizations to push for better working conditions.
Visit the FCJ Refugee Centre website for more info about their anti-trafficking programme and their outreach to Migrant Workers.