Please note that we are not a crisis service. If you are in immediate danger, please contact 911 immediately. The Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline (1-833-900-1010) is available 24 hours, 7 days a week for telephone support and referral information.
The Gender-Based Violence Program provides free support to individuals who are involved or at risk of being involved in human trafficking or those who have been involved in the sex trade by choice, circumstance, or coercion. The program is grounded in treating trauma, relational therapy and addressing human rights. Our team works from a strength based, sex-positive, harm reduction and trauma-informed approach. We believe in empowering survivors to have self-worth and to build healthy support systems.
Our team is composed of Trauma Therapists, Community Outreach Workers and Peer Navigators. The GBV program offers the following services centred around client-directed service planning:
- Trauma Therapy. Our therapists use a trauma-informed approach to help clients overcome psychological trauma. The GBV program recognizes that individuals who access our services often experience a combination of acute and developmental trauma. An acute trauma can be one where a person perceives a threat to one’s life, body, or emotional safety. Developmental trauma can occur because of adverse and chronic childhood experiences, such as neglect and abuse. As a result of trauma, people may have difficulty coping with their experiences, which can be very distressing and disruptive to daily functioning. Our therapists support individuals by working toward managing trauma symptoms, reducing shame and blame and building healthy relationships. Our therapists apply various therapeutic modalities in this process, including relational therapy and EMDR, as well as provide psychoeducation for participants and their family.
- Community Outreach & Education. The GBV team is available to provide outreach and education to youth 12-29 years old in various settings. Outreach and education take a preventative, non-judgemental approach to human trafficking/sex trafficking and incorporate topics such as healthy relationships, safety, consent and boundary setting. Concurrently, as part of our outreach, the GBV team can provide education on the topics of sex trafficking and trauma-informed care to service providers.
- Case Management & Service Navigation. Our Community Outreach Workers assist individuals with finding safe and affordable housing, accessing financial assistance, finding medical care, obtaining identification documents or legal consultation, school enrollment, job searching and can provide external referrals when needed. Assistance with life skill development, goal setting and budgeting support is also available.
- Peer Support & Navigation. Our Peer Navigators actively advocate to reduce and end sexual exploitation. They act as support workers to encourage trauma recovery, build hope, confidence, and resilience within participants. The lived experience of the Peer Navigators lessens the isolation that many survivors feel, by creating a sense of belonging, connecting survivors with each other and to community-based resources. They can also offer assistance with appointments, court support, and aid with safety planning.
- Support Group. Our Peer Navigators run an online support group with support from one of our Trauma Therapists. The group focuses on life skills and social/recreational activities.
- Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Counselling Program. This program offers short-term (8-12) immediate counselling sessions for children and youth who are victims of internet sexual exploitation and to their immediate family members.
*ICE is available by referral only via the Ontario Provincial Police and BOOST. Learn more about ICE (link).
Find out more about our program here: Gender-Based Violence Program Information Package
To complete a referral, please fill out our referral form: Gender-Based Violence Program Referral Form
Any questions can be directed to the Gender-Based Violence Program at GBVinfo@stridestoronto.ca or 416-438-3697 ext. 13265.