Organization skills

Saskatoon organization helps survivors of trafficking and exploitation

“It is an honor to work with these courageous people every day.”

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Joeline Magill grew up with the signs around her, but only recognized them as an adult.

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Magill, who grew up in the western part of Saskatoon, is the co-founder of Hope Restored Canada, which provides public education and services to survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation and has operated an eight-bed shelter since 2019.

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She heard about exploitation and human trafficking growing up, then did more research in college, worked in community outreach, and got to know people who had experienced it. .

“For me, it was just about acknowledging that we had to do something,” she said in an interview.

“I remember going to a seminar and they were talking about how child exploitation happens in Saskatoon, and they were naming specific streets and areas. And all of a sudden my world became very small because the exact places they were naming were my paper itinerary when I was a kid. It was right next to my elementary school and my high school.

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She thought of old classmates and wondered if this happened to them when they weren’t at school on certain days. It hit close to home, she said.

It became her motivation to do the job she does, running the only safe house in Saskatchewan exclusively for survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

“It’s an honor to work with these brave people every day,” she said.

Hope Restored Canada’s programs have three phases: exit and stabilization; recovery and transition to the next, — return to school, search for a job or permanent accommodation; and long-term supports. It takes up to a year to complete all three phases. Survivors work with trauma therapists and social workers to develop personalized plans.

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Many people are referred by the justice system or other community organizations, but some refer themselves, she said. The majority of participants were residents of Saskatchewan.

Approximately 61% are Indigenous and 35% are people of color. The average age of women is 24 and all clients are adults.

Magill said she learned through her work that many trafficked people do not identify as trafficked. The traffickers pose as partners, people who love them, or people who want to start a business with them, so there’s a lot of manipulation, she said.

“When I work with individuals, it’s just about peeling back the layers of things that exist for them. Truly, every person wants to be loved, every person wants to be known, every person wants a family, so traffickers exploit those vulnerabilities.

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Going forward, Hope Restored should house exit programs and long-term transition programs in separate locations; the organization also sees a need for shelters in other cities, Magill said.

Like other nonprofits, it struggled to secure continued financial support; it is also a newer organization. To date, it has survived through donations, funding from local family foundations, and grants.

Earlier this week, the Government of Saskatchewan announced it would provide $150,000 to Hope Restored Canada for a one-year pilot project to provide housing, counseling and life skills programs to survivors of the human trafficking.

“Combating human trafficking is an important part of reducing violence against women and girls and helping to build safer communities across the province,” Minister Responsible for Women’s Affairs Laura Ross said in a statement. a statement.

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Magill said Hope Restored’s annual operating budget is $550,000. She said the one-year pilot money will help the organization continue to operate its shelter and programming, and build on its cultural programming.

“We really hope that this pilot project will turn into continued funding from the province and we are very open to an ongoing conversation with them about this, as stable funding is an absolute must for the work we do,” said Magill.

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  1. Beatrice Wallace stands near a vacant commercial space on 5th Avenue in Regina, Saskatchewan on June 2, 2021.

    Exploited: How Human Trafficking Takes Root in Saskatchewan

  2. Professor Manuela Valle-Castro is Director of the Division of Social Accountability at the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine and a researcher on a project looking at human trafficking in the Prairies.  Photo taken on May 28, 2021.

    Operated: Sask. advocates say sex trafficking legislation misses the mark

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