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'See the Trafficking Signs': Foundation gets funding to help raise awareness on human trafficking

The Manitoba government is committing funds to continue the battle against human trafficking.

On Wednesday, the government announced it is giving $100,000 to the Joy Smith Foundation, to expand its public education efforts.

The Winnipeg-based foundation is a non-profit and focuses on human trafficking prevention, intervention and survivor support.

The money will be used for the foundation's campaign, 'See the Trafficking Signs'.

"One of the things that really inspired us with this particular initiative is the survivors that we work with in our office on a daily basis. And we meet with them and their families and hear that they just didn't know," said Janet Campbell, the president and CEO of the Joy Smith Foundation.

"These survivors truly are our heroes and they provide an inspiration for us on a daily basis and was really behind our focus of pushing this campaign forward."

Campbell said the campaign is designed to bring awareness and prevent trafficking from happening to youth.

"As people come into our presentations and learn about the signs, they often are surprised to learn exactly what (trafficking) looks like and how it happens here. It's not what people expect."

The campaign showcases nine key signs of sex trafficking.

Those signs are:

• Getting new clothing or gifts, even though they don't have money;

• Seeing a change in how a child dresses or does their makeup;

• Frequent sleepovers at a friend's house;

• A new group of friends and being isolated from old friends;

• Interest in an older man;

• Attitudes shifts about school, activities and friends;

• Grades dropping;

• Using two cell phones; and

• The child has cuts and bruises that can't be explained.

"Human trafficking is a growing crisis in communities across Manitoba, particularly putting young girls and women at risk and it can happen in any community and we have to speak about it in any community. It is not something that knows borders, it is not something that knows ethnicity. It can impact everyone," said Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen.

The Joy Smith Foundation was officially launched in 2012 and has since helped more than 6,000 human trafficking survivors and their families restore their lives.

The foundation was started after Joy Smith learned there were no laws in Canada protecting victims or to bring people to justice for participating in human trafficking.

She won a seat in the Manitoba Legislature in 1999 and in 2004 she became and a Member of Parliament in Ottawa.

She became the first sitting MP to amend the criminal code twice – seeing stronger sentences for traffickers and having Canada's laws be able to reach the international level. Top Stories

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