Canada has become a hotbed for human sex trafficking of minor-aged children. In fact, 60% of all of Canada’s human trafficking can be linked in some way to activities that occur along the 401 corridor. The 401 corridor is considered the ‘gateway’ to communities. Many girls have often recounted how they have been escorted to an ONroute station.
Because of the transitory nature of the 401, criminal activity in the form of sex trafficking has largely been unenforced. Traffickers are able to ‘hop’ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction with ease, taking advantage of the lack of provincial coordination to tackle this issue.
#ProjectONroute was inspired by a 16 year old survivor of sex trafficking who wanted to change the way victims of trafficking were portrayed in the media. We were inspired to change the way ‘trafficking awareness’ campaigns have been done in the past. Rather than objectifying criminal activity, #ProjectOnroute and now #ProjectMapleLeaf are using positive imagery to spark a movement!
Where We Started and Where We’re Going
On February 22, 2019, Canada’s Human Trafficking Awareness Day, #ProjectONroute was launched, a historic provincial human trafficking awareness campaign.
The ownership for the campaign itself came through Courage for Freedom (Farmtown Canada) and belongs to minor aged victims who created media ads about the realities of human trafficking and then negotiated their use to show 2 million screen impressions at the 20 ONroutes in Ontario on large screens over a 30 day period. This project was developed without request or expense to the federal or provincial government and in cooperation and collaboration with partners volunteering their time and energy across the province.
On July 30, 2019, World Day against Trafficking in Persons, Ontarians all across the province attended their local ONroute service centres to bring awareness to end human trafficking in Ontario. This was a record-breaking month for Ontario as media screen ads across the ONroute platforms reached millions of viewers. Hundreds of individuals including numerous police services, first responders, victim support groups, community and political leaders, chambers of commerce, businesses, healthcare providers, women’s groups, civic groups, and community service groups attended on July 30th and made this campaign a reality.
In 2020, the campaign will expand across the Nation and be rebranded as #ProjectMapleLeaf.
Join us in this fight February 2020!