Researcher to examine human trafficking in northwestern Ontario

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THUNDER BAY — The OPP’s Anti-Human Trafficking Investigation Coordination Unit has hired a researcher to examine human trafficking in northwestern Ontario with a specific focus on Indigenous persons.

In a news release issued on Wednesday, Feb. 10, OPP announced they have hired Dr. Olsen Harper, a member of Lac Seul First Nation, to identify the reality of human trafficking in northwestern Ontario and its impact on Indigenous individuals and communities.

Human trafficking victims are often from vulnerable populations and do not identify as victims to police, the release said.

The researcher will independently gather information while providing anonymity to victims who may wish to come forward.

The information gathered will serve to support the Ontario Provincial Police with responses to this kind of crime, OPP said.

The researcher will consult with northern Indigenous communities and organizations in urban centres to collect information from the public, police and survivors to identify sexually exploitative human trafficking, the release said.

If you are a survivor of human trafficking, Harper can be reached at 249-385-7217 or

The initiative is being funded by the Solicitor General for Ontario.

Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source