The provincial government is facing a call to action, after a new report found Ontario has become a “major hub” for human trafficking and sexual violence in Canada.
The legislative committee behind the report is demanding more funding for the justice system, as well as a co-ordinated, province-wide strategy to deal with the problem.
Close to 150 women from all over Ontario who were victims of rape or sexual harassment shared their stories with members of the committee, which included two former nurses and another who worked in a rape crisis centre.
Despite their experience, they say they were often in shock listening to women tell “gut wrenching” stories of sexual assaults.
According to the report, almost 60 per cent of sex assault victims in Canada are under 18, and a quarter of them are under the age of 12.
Roughly 92 per cent of the victims are women, while 99 per cent of the attackers are men.
They also found Ontario lacks up-to-date stats on sexual harassment, and childhood sexual abuse rates, as well as a standardized system to track human trafficking cases.
The committee wants the government to dedicate the same level of funding to solving these issues as it spent on Toronto’s ‘Guns and Gangs’ initiative.