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Provincial Government Releases Sex Trade Report
October 8, 2015
Supporting Safe Communities
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is releasing a redacted version of the 2011 report titled It’s Nobody’s Mandate and Everyone’s Responsibility: Sexual Exploitation and the Sex Trade in Newfoundland and Labrador as recommended by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.
The recommendation is the result of an applicant’s appeal of a decision by the Women’s Policy Office to withhold the report under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
“The decision not to release the report was based on the advice of the RNC who indicated that doing so could endanger the safety or mental or physical health of already vulnerable individuals. Our primary concern in this issue has always been the safety of those involved. We have once again consulted with the RNC in light of this ruling. While we still have some concerns, we will follow the wishes of the privacy commissioner and release the report.”
– The Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minster Responsible for the Status of Women
The redacted report is now available on the government’s website at www.gov.nl.ca/exec/wpo/publications/STR.pdf .
“Nearly four years ago we gave advice based on our assessment of risk associated with the release of the report. We felt that there was a danger to vulnerable persons should this report go public. We believed that to be the right decision at that time. We now feel that these risks have been mitigated through the redactions made by the Privacy Commissioner. As a result of this work and the Privacy Commissioner’s review I believe we are at a point where we should respect the process and accept his recommendation.”
– Chief Bill Janes, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary
Since government received the report, its recommendations have served to inform a wide range of policies and programs, including:
- Improved collaboration among police, government and agencies that provide services to those most at risk of being drawn into the sex trade; for example the Premier’s Advisory Council on Crime and Community Safety, the joint provincial task force on Child Exploitation and Drugs and the NL Coalition against Human Trafficking;
- Continued support for the Violence Prevention Initiative, which funds violence prevention and front line service organizations across the province;
- Expanded sexual exploitation training for police and health care workers;
- The addition of a Child Exploitation Officer and Integrated Child Exploitation Units for the RNC and the RCMP;
- Providing health services to sex trade workers through Eastern Health’s Outreach Team; and
- Operational funding for Transition Houses and Women’s Centres, which provide safe havens for victims of sexual violence.
“Our government recognizes that exploitation within the sex trade is a serious and complex issue. We are continuing to gather information about this exploitation and we are open to identifying further initiatives based on information gathered.”
– Minister Sullivan
The Provincial Government launched Phase II of its Violence Prevention Initiative, titled Working Together for Violence-Free Communities on Tuesday, October 6. The new action plan includes the commissioning of a new study on the sex trade that will be developed in a manner that can be released to the public without putting vulnerable persons at risk.
- The Provincial Government is releasing a redacted version of the 2011 report titled It’s Nobody’s Mandate and Everyone’s Responsibility.
- The report is being released as the result of an appeal to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. It is available at www.gov.nl.ca/exec/wpo/publications/STR.pdf .
- The previous decision not to release the report was based on the advice of the RNC who indicated that doing so could endanger the safety, mental or physical health of already vulnerable people.
- The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is commissioning a new report that will be made public.
- Information about the Violence Prevention Initiative can be found at www.gov.nl.ca/vpi
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Women’s Policy Office
Constable Steve Curnew
Media Relations Officer, RNC
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