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Oakville, ON

Anti-Human Trafficking Services

We recognize that survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation are survivors of trauma – many have experienced sexual and physical assault, emotional and mental abuse, coercion, manipulation, loss of agency, malnutrition, displacement, witnessed violence against others, threats to loved ones, and much more. We know that the experience of trauma overwhelms a survivor’s ability to cope, and that “experiences like these can interfere with a person’s sense of safety, self, and self-efficacy, as well as the ability to regulate emotions and navigate relationships. Traumatized people commonly feel terror, shame, helplessness and powerlessness.” (Essentials of Trauma Informed Care, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse).

SAVIS operates from a harm reduction, non-judgmental, ARAO feminist framework. SAVIS’ mandate is to be accessible, free, equitable, immediate and supportive. SAVIS provides a range of core services, ongoing case management and crisis support to all survivors of human trafficking; sex trafficking, labour trafficking, forced marriage, domestic servitude and individuals at risk of exploitation. 

Defining Human Trafficking:

Article 3(a) of the United Nations Palermo Protocol defines “Trafficking in Persons” as:

The recruitment, transportation, harbouring or receipt of persons by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

Human Trafficking in Ontario:

Ontario has become a “major hub” for human trafficking in Canada, with most trafficked persons being local underage girls and young women (93%). Over 65% of police reported cases of human trafficking in Canada occur in Ontario. In addition, the RCMP reports that 90% of human trafficking in Canada is domestic, with a disproportionate number of Indigenous women and girls represented.

Difference Between Sex Work & Sex Trafficking / Exploitation:

There is a marked difference between legitimate sex work and sex trafficking / exploitation. The main differentiating factor is consent or control (whether the individual providing sexual services is in control of the circumstances and payment for those sexual services). Consent should always be CLEAR, COHERENT, WILLING, and ON-GOING.

Sex Work Sex Trafficking/Exploitation
Voluntary (by choice or circumstance)EntryInvoluntary/Forced

Our services include but are not be limited to:

SAVIS provides trauma-informed, survivor-centred supportive counselling that is goal and solution focused. We provide emotional support and assistance to build and restore connection, safety, stability and enhance coping strategies.

First Response Bags (personal hygiene products, clothes, etc.) are intended to meet immediate needs of a survivor.

SAVIS provides accompaniments to police stations, Nina’s Place, court, legal and other appointments as needed. We cannot speak on your behalf, however, we will:

  1. Ensure you are treated in a humane way
  2. Offer information to demystify the legal and medical process
  3. Provide you with emotional support

Individuals who have experienced sexual exploitation or are being trafficked frequently require support to safely leave the location they share with their exploitative partner/trafficker. The level of risk increases for the individual when the exploiter/trafficker believes that they are leaving the relationship or attempting to escape. Leaving must be done with a careful plan to mitigate/manage risk, enhancing a survivor’s safety.

SAVIS will help create an emergency escape plan so you are better prepared to leave a situation very quickly and safety planning once you have left. We will develop transition plans and safety strategies based on survivor’s goals.

Free and confidential one-on-one counselling available at our Acton, Burlington, Georgetown, Milton and Oakville locations.

SAVIS is committed to identifying and removing barriers to accessibility. The Crisis Support Worker will help create individual accommodation wherever needed to better provide support.

We network extensively with members of the Halton Collaborative Against Human Trafficking to provide information, referral and wrap-around support to survivors. We assist with navigating emergency housing, government supports (income support, social housing, medical coverage etc.), local community initiatives (food banks, recreation centres, libraries etc.), employment programming and more, to enhance our client’s independence, safety and security while living in the community.

One-on-one mentorship focuses on learning life skills like budgeting, employment development, positive parenting, healthy relationships, healthy lifestyle habits, nutrition & cooking and much more. Survivors learn at their own pace based on their need to build a sense of belonging and thrive as they transition to living independently.