June 1, 2023 (Sudbury, Ontario) – Angels of Hope Against Human Trafficking (AOH) is honoured to receive the 2022-2023 Attorney General’s Victim Services Award of Distinction to recognize our dedication to supporting survivors of human trafficking and their loved ones, raising awareness about human trafficking and gender-based violence in Ontario, and ensuring victims’ rights. The Ontario Ministry of Attorney General stated:
Angels of Hope Against Human Trafficking, Sudbury
Angels of Hope Against Human Trafficking (AOH) has provided long-term bilingual support to survivors of human trafficking and their loved ones since 2015. Mental health, addictions counselling and peer support are some of the services AOH offers to help survivors heal. Staff members have their own lived experiences with addictions and mental health, which allows them to connect with clients in a meaningful manner. The peer support program at AOH provides life skills workshops to survivors and empowers them to act as facilitators at their own sessions. Angels of Hope Against Human Trafficking has conducted over 75 workshops to help increase awareness of human trafficking and sexual exploitation within the Sudbury community and has received extensive media coverage for the work it does. In 2021, AOH also launched a video called “Not My Child” to spread awareness of human trafficking among youth.
Cristina Scarpellini, Jeffrey Bradley, and Derrick Flynn received the award at a virtual ceremony on May 11th, 2023 presented by Sudbury MPP Jamie West alongside Attorney General Doug Downey and Charmain Williams. We recognized how over the last year, AOH has accomplished great strides including receiving grants, hiring more staff, expanding our programs and services, and engaging in more outreach to raise awareness and build lasting community partnerships. In August of 2022, we received a grant from the Canadian Women’s Foundation to do mental health and addiction counselling with survivors of human trafficking and youth compassion groups and workshops for service providers on human trafficking prevention. In November, we received the Access to Justice Fund from the Law Foundation of Ontario for Project Rise to support survivors going through the criminal legal system, creating legal information resources for survivors and service providers, and researching survivors’ experiences with the legal system and victim services to improve identified gaps and expand alternatives such as restorative and transformative justice. Additionally, we have written a research summary report from three focus group discussions with survivors of human trafficking and will be doing presentations to legal professionals and law/justice students about how to better work with survivors of human trafficking going through the legal system and referring them to community-based agencies to address their diverse needs. We also received a grant through the Department of Justice to host workshops with parents and youth about human trafficking and gender-based violence during National Victims and Survivors of Crime Week 2023. The AOH team looks forward to continuing our work with survivors, raising awareness about human trafficking and gender-based violence, and is hopeful to receive future financial support from the Ontario government.