The MPPs said they will work with multiple provincial ministries and the trucking industry to end human trafficking in Ontario after the province announced changes at ONRoute highway rest stops across the province as well as support to the trucking industry for training to help identify the signs of human trafficking.
Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop, associate minister of children and women’s issues, says she has worked with Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney to ensure truck drivers are trained on identifying human trafficking, as well as improving 14 existing truck rest areas, building 10 new rest areas and adding 178 additional truck parking spaces at four existing ONroute travel plazas.
Improvements will include adding additional cameras and lighting to the stops, intending to deter human traffickers.
“The trucking industry has really stepped up to educate drivers,” said Dunlop. “There are more truckers on the highways than there would ever be police officers. These are vigilant people who are willing to help.
“We know that traffickers use the 400-series highways and the ONRoute locations, because it’s easy to move people along those highways. People are coming and going all the time,” she said.
Just prior to COVID-19, the province also announced a five-year, $307 million human trafficking strategy.
The Ontario Trucking Associations supports efforts to end human trafficking and is working with Truckers Against Trafficking’s Canadian committee on bringing awareness to the issue