We will be holding community engagement sessions with service providers and people with lived experience in 8 different sites across northeastern Ontario. There will also be a final plenary session to reflect on the findings and to action-plan. We are inviting people with lived experience and organizations that work in the areas of sexual assault, domestic and intimate partner violence, community counselling, mental health and addictions, health services, housing and homelessness, youth services, victim services, and Indigenous friendship centers and other relevant Indigenous organizations. The sessions will be facilitated by Jenny Restoule-Mallozzi, and Elder and counselling support will be provided.
Community Engagement Sessions Schedule:
- North Bay: Monday, June 26, 2017, 9:00-4:30 pm
- Sudbury: Wednesday, June 28, 2017, 9:00-4:30 pm
- Sault Ste Marie: Wednesday, October 4, 2017
- Little Current: Thursday, October 5, 2017
- Kirkland Lake: Wednesday, October 11, 2017
- Cochrane: Thursday, October 12, 2017
- 2 more (rural) locations TBA
Human trafficking occurs across Ontario but most existing research and resources are based in Southern Ontario. NORAHT’s research thus far shows that although indicators of human trafficking are present in our region, there is limited information on specific patterns or occurrences. Many service providers in our region may be aware of human trafficking, but lack the training, protocols or capacities to respond to it. There is a clear need for cross-sector collaboration and strategically preparing organizations to be able to identify and serve people who have been trafficked and sexually exploited. Moreover, there is a need to develop northern-specific approaches that take into account our large geographic spread, isolated and underserviced rural and remote communities, and diverse Indigenous cultures.
For the community engagement sessions, we are using a Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach. Aimed at promoting social change, PAR is an inclusive, anti-oppressive process that enables critical understanding from multiple perspectives, and it works toward empowerment and capacity-building. In PAR, affected groups actively collaborate in the identification and diagnosis of problems, the gathering of evidence, making sense of findings, action-planning, reflection, implementation, and evaluation. We take a feminist intersectional approach and, given the strong likelihood that Indigenous women and girls are overrepresented amongst those trafficked for sexual exploitation, we take seriously the importance of centering Indigenous worldviews in our research, including by having Elder guidance and support for the project.
The purpose of each one-day local community session is to:
- Identify gaps and barriers in local service for persons who have experienced human trafficking and sexual exploitation;
- Initiate the development of regional service provider networks, toolkits and other resources for responding to human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
During our one-day session, we might collectively identify areas needing further research, analysis and development. You may participate in subsequent stages of the process as much or as little as you would like. For example, you might choose to participate actively in subsequent stages of the process, such as collecting and analyzing data and/or helping to develop toolkits. Or, you may choose to help set the future agenda during the community engagement session and provide feedback during the later stages of the project. Your participation, and the degree of participation, is completely voluntary. You may cease participation and withdraw from the project at any point in the process without penalty.
NORAHT’s job is to guide the overall process and to implement the research and outcomes with you and on your behalf over the next two years. We will keep in constant communication with all participants throughout the process. For the first community engagement session that is located in your community, we are able to provide lunch and refreshments. For the final plenary session, we should be able to cover travel and accommodation costs and provide a per diem, as well as lunch at the session.
The Nipissing University Research Ethics Board has approved this community engagement session and we will provide you with a Participant Information Letter that seeks your informed consent should you be interested in participating. For more information or to let us know you are interested in participating, please contact us at email@example.com.