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Opposition parties call on Liberals to restore human-trafficking victims fund

Last Updated May 28, 2020 at 12:54 pm EDT

Green Party MP Jenica Atwin (left) and NDP Critic for Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, Women and Gender Equality Lindsay Mathyssen look on as Conservative Women and Gender Quality critic Karen Vecchio speaks during a news conference Thursday May 28, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA — Members of Parliament from every opposition party have joined together to call on the Liberal government to reverse its decision to allow funding to expire for programs that help victims of human trafficking in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MPs say without funding from Ottawa, these organizations will no longer be able to offer their specialized assistance to these women and girls who the ongoing pandemic has made even more vulnerable.

These organizations had been receiving funding through a five-year federal program, which ended in March 2020, that was set up by the former Conservative government alongside efforts to reform Canada’s prostitution laws.

That program is being replaced by a new national strategy to combat human trafficking, but that funding has not yet started to roll out.

This has left groups that help victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation with a gap in funding since March, with no clear idea of when new money will be made available.

A group of four MPs — from the Conservatives, Bloc Quebecois, NDP and Greens — sent a joint letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other ministers responsible for this file, urging them to restore funding to these groups and enable them to continue their work.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2020.

The Canadian Press