Written by Paige Kreutzwieseron
Envision Counselling and Support Centre has been pioneering a certain service across the province for the past several months.
The counselling centre is one of the only organizations in the province that offers ongoing support to sexually exploited individuals.
Christa Daku, executive director, has worked in the southeast area for more than a decade and says it’s something she never thought happened here.
“It’s not something we need to turn a blind eye to and be afraid of, it happens all across the country and in the United States there’s a lot of cross-border trafficking that’s happening,” she said.
In the southeast, Daku explained, it’s not the “typical situation” you might think.
“What happens down here is it’s all online soliciting,” she said. “Pimps bring people into our communities, put them in a hotel, advertise their services then move them to the next community.”
Envision’s goal is to have an intervention when the victims are in our community, to offer them options for a healthier lifestyle.
In October of 2016, Daku and her staff created the Into the Sunshine program through funding from the federal Ministry of Justice, which offers support to individuals involved in prostitution and provides training to counselling staff and volunteers.
“We are the only province in Canada that doesn’t have a provincial strategy around human trafficking and exploitation,” explained Daku.
With that also in mind, Envision recently partnered up with the Weyburn Police Service’s victim service department to take the program across the province.
Daku has advice for people who want to help with the issue of sex exploitation: keep your eyes open and report it.
“It’s not something we would typically look for in a small, safe community that we live in but it’s happening behind the scenes,” she said.
Discover Weyburn has sat down with the Weyburn Police Service’s victim services department and will share more from that conversation in the coming days.