Gender Equity Consultations for the City of Toronto

In early 2022, Aura Freedom led multiple community consultations in partnership with Social Planning Toronto to inform the Gender Equity Strategy that will be implemented by the City of Toronto. 

We consulted with a number of community partners in Toronto to ensure that the lived experiences, research, and expertise on gender-based-violence and human trafficking are an integral part of the Gender Equity Strategy for the city. 

Our community partners highlighted various ways women, girls and gender diverse people face inequality, discrimination, violence and control in Toronto. Marginalized and racialized women and girls experience added layers of discrimination and barriers to support, as well as youth in care and ones battling mental health. 

Moreover, colonialism, systemic racism, and homo/transphobia have created intergenerational trauma within communities, who are targeted by exploiters. Indigenous, Black, and other racialized women, girls and youth often lack social support, leaving room for exploitation under the guise of love, community and a better life.

As we know, human trafficking, like gender-based violence and sexual exploitation are manifestations of inequity. They thrive where there is an unequal power balance. In fact, according to Stats Canada, 97% of victims of human trafficking were women and girls, although boys can also be trafficked. 

Therefore, in order to implement a successful Gender Equity Strategy in Toronto, there needs to be an anti-GBV lens that is survivor-centric and trauma-informed.  

We encourage the City of Toronto to zoom out, address root causes, and unpack societal power imbalances and inequities, and most importantly, ensure that the impact of gender-based-violence and human trafficking on young women, girls and gender diverse people are part of the Gender Equity Strategy. 

Stay tuned for the full report.