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Image: Randy Thoms/Acadia Broadcasting, April 11, 2024

New human trafficking coalition in the works

By Randy Thoms Apr 11, 2024 | 5:21 PM

There are efforts in Fort Frances to establish a coalition to tackle the issue of human trafficking.

Representatives from several agencies gathered to discuss its purpose this week.

Some participation also came from International Falls.

Brandis Oliver, a case manager Giishkaandago’Ikwe Health Services, sees it helping victims.

“I know that there are only a few right now that are actually working in the human trafficking sector. Bringing more people together, we have more resources. We’re able to share time. We’re able to share funding opportunities. We’re able to work better to serve the victims,” says Oliver.

The prevalence of human trafficking in the Rainy River District area was outlined at a separate gathering held in February.

Officials say it is on the rise and that the nature of human-trafficking has changed.

Similar coalitions are known to exist in big cities.

Oliver says with the rise area agencies note, it is necessary to establish one here.

“Because Fort Frances, and even all the distance between Thunder Bay to Kenora is definitely a big enough area where we should actually have a coalition put in place, and the fact that we have seen an increase in human trafficking within our area as it stands.”

Oliver says it could be a few months before the coalition is in place.

Work is now taking place to attract members.

Oliver says they are off to a good start, with several individuals who attended a recent meeting have expressed interest in taking part.