WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Indigenous women, girls, and young men form a disproportionate number of those sexually exploited in Canada through human trafficking. The team at the Ontario Native Women's Association are here to support community.
The Indigenous Anti-Human Trafficking Liaison (IAHTL) Program supports Indigenous communities in providing survivor focused and localized responses to Human Trafficking. The IAHTL initiative was created by and for Indigenous people in order to end Human Trafficking in our communities.
The Aakwa’ode’ewin (Courage for Change) Program supports the unique needs of Indigenous women, youth, and girls that are affected by sexual exploitation. All services provide a trauma-informed, anti-oppressive framework with culture-based practices and models to ensure a seamless integration of cultural and mainstream supports.
Journey to Safe Spaces
INDIGENOUS ANTI-HUMAN TRAFFICKING ENGAGEMENT REPORT
Ontario’s Strategy to End Human Trafficking launched in 2016.
It aims to increase awareness and coordination efforts, improve survivors’ access to services, and enhance justice sector initiatives. The strategy reflects the diverse views of survivors, front-line community agencies, public safety representatives, and Indigenous organizations. Supporting survivors and roviding safeguards for those at risk of trafficking is a part of Ontario’s vision to ensure that everyone in the province can live in safety free from the threat, fear, or experience of exploitation and violence.
ONWA 6-POINT STRATEGY
It is key that when a victim is identified, all barriers are removed to ensure they are survivors.
Based on extensive engagement with over 3,360 community members and the ongoing relationship with 250 self-identified human trafficking survivors who have shared their stories, ONWA has developed 14 recommendations, which we propose to implement through a six part strategy that is rooted in relationship and collaboration through #safeSPACES.
We focus on safety through;
and survivor-informed services that are culture and gender-based and delivered in a trauma-informed approach
Prevention through education,
training and public awareness campaigns, both in print and in person, targeting those who are most at risk and those who can respond first to the signs, namely peers, parents and educators
Access to safe & respectful spaces
at service delivery agencies that offer women only programming so women can speak openly and without fear, about their experiences
for transitioning to a new life, including emergency funding for immediate relocation, which is delivered in an expedient and efficient manner to ensure women and girls have no wait times to safety
policy and system reform, informed by survivor expertise and the successful extraction of Indigenous women by ONWA's multi-partner collaborative network that works across government, disciplines and professions
offered through a barrier free simplified process
Human Trafficking Lifecycle
A visual representation depicting how Indigenous Women are groomed for exploitation. It illustrates the barriers Indigenous women face, and where systemic change is needed.
Grandmother Earth Dress
HEALING & HONOURING INDIGENOUS WOMEN & GIRLS IN THE SPIRIT WORLD
The Grandmother Earth Dress is a traditional red jingle dress, created by the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA), and inspired by Jaime Black’s REDress Project. She honours and acknowledges Missing and Murdered Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people. She also serves as a sacred item of healing for families as well as communities to commemorate their loved ones. She is meant for families to visualize their loved one in beautiful traditional regalia.
Métis artist Jaime Black started the REDress Project (www.theredressproject.org) to call attention to the gendered and racialized nature of violent crimes committed against Indigenous women and to evoke a presence through the marking of absence. Inspired by her work and our own work with Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people, ONWA created Grandmother Earth Dress.
365 jingles on the dress represent a year round call for justice and safety for Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people. While the colour red is not normally part of the Journey Ceremony, this specific dress was born out of vision and ceremony through the guidance and consultation of Elders, Healers, and Knowledge Keepers, where she received her name Grandmother Earth Dress. Through ceremony and teachings, guidance and explanation told that Grandmother Earth Dress came from the Southern Direction to honour women, girls, and Two-Spirit people as missing loved ones and as mothers, daughters, aunties, sisters, grandmothers, nieces and cousins. They will know the dress is made for them. They will know that they are loved.
Grandmother Earth Dress travels throughout Ontario to support families and communities. She is never meant to be worn in this realm but is symbolic of those in the spirit world. ONWA cares and provides ceremony for her four times per year, when she travels, and to prepare her for the community she will be visiting.
ONWA would like to offer special acknowledgement to staff members Collin Graham and Lindsay Tyance, for their dream and hard work to bring forward Grandmother Earth Dress; and to recognize Rita Tyance for beadwork; and Jordis Duke for her creative ability to capture the essence of the Grandmother Earth Dress in ‘She Dances …and they dance with her’ artwork (right).