Human Trafficking in Northeastern Ontario: Collaborative Responses

  • Rosemary Nagy PhD, Associate Professor, Nipissing University, Department of Gender Equality and Social Justice
  • Gina Snooks MGS, Doctoral Candidate, Western University, Department of Women’s Studies and Feminist Research
  • Brenda Quenneville MSW, RSW, Centered Fire Counselling and Consulting
  • Lanyan Chen PhD, Professor, Nipissing University, Department of Social Welfare and Social Development
  • Sydnee Wiggins Undergraduate student, Nipissing University, Department of Gender Equality and Social Justice
  • Donna Debassige Resident Elder, Northeastern Research Alliance on Human Trafficking/Union of Ontario Indians: Anishinabek Nation
  • Kathleen Jodouin MHS, Executive Director, Victim Services of Nipissing District
  • Rebecca Timms Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Coordinator, Union of Ontario Indians: Anishinabek Nation
Keywords: Critical anti-human trafficking, participatory action research, service mapping, Indigenous methodologies, feminist intersectionality, social work


Human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation is undoubtedly occurring in Northeastern Ontario. However, there is a lack of information, resources, coordination, and collaboration on the issue in comparison to Southern Ontario. Furthermore, urban-based programming from “down south” does not necessarily fit the unique circumstances of Northeastern Ontario: specifically, the isolation and underservicing of rural and remote communities, the presence of francophone communities, and diverse Indigenous communities. The Northeastern Ontario Research Alliance on Human Trafficking is a community-university research partnership that takes a critical antihuman-trafficking approach. We combine Indigenous and feminist methodologies with participatory action research. In this paper, we first present findings from our eight participatory action research workshops with persons with lived experience and service providers in the region, where participants identified the needs of trafficked women and gaps and barriers to service provision. Second, in response to participants’ calls for collaboration, we have developed a Service Mapping Toolkit that is grounded in Indigenous cultural practices and teachings, where applicable, and in the agency and self-determination of persons experiencing violence, exploitation, or abuse in the sex trade. We conclude by recommending seven principles for building collaborative networks aimed at addressing violence in the sex trade. The Service Mapping Toolkit and collaborative principles may assist other rural or northern communities across the county.

Corresponding author: Rosemary Nagy at

How to Cite
Nagy, R., Snooks, G., Quenneville, B., Chen, L., Wiggins, S., Debassige, D., Jodouin, K., & Timms, R. (2020). Human Trafficking in Northeastern Ontario: Collaborative Responses. First Peoples Child & Family Review, 15(1), 80-104. Retrieved from