Getting information to the most vulnerable

This is the logo for CLEO's Connecting Communities projectDid you know that there is a nationwide movement in the US to train salon workers to recognize the signs of domestic violence and refer women for help?

CUT IT OUT: Salons Against Domestic Abuse is one such project. The idea started as a statewide collaboration in Georgia between a women’s rights organization and a domestic abuse organization. According to the CUT IT OUT website, the idea originated because “salon professionals are in a unique position to recognize the signs and symptoms of abuse in their clients and co-workers. Because of the intimate and nurturing nature of the relationship between salon professionals and their clients and co-workers, salon professionals can often spot signs of physical abuse that others may never see.”

One recently-approved Connecting Communities project will bring a similar approach to help get information to trafficked people. Led by the Coalition Assisting Trafficked Individuals (CATI), an interagency network based in London, Ontario, this project was created in response to the rise of human trafficking in southern Ontario.

Trafficked people are extremely isolated, marginalized and attempting to survive in very high risk situations. CATI spent considerable time doing community based research to identify the types of people or workers who trafficked individuals regularly come into contact with. From there, CATI explored ways that trafficked people might be able to get critically important legal information.

The project, funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario, will focus on training people who are not traditional conduits for legal information but who in fact might have the greatest access to trafficked people – taxi drivers, hair and nail salon staff, and restaurant and hotel workers. The training, which will also be given to front-line community workers, aims to raise awareness and deepen knowledge about trafficking issues and about resources for people trying to escape being trafficked (for example, information on how to apply for social assistance, social housing and temporary residence permits).

For more information on this project, click here.

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