Around the world, over 40 million people are victims of human trafficking and modern slavery. But this isn't just a faraway problem. The Global Slavery Index estimates 17,000 people live in conditions of modern slavery in Canada. Those who escape face enormous challenges reintegrating into society.
Victims of human trafficking and modern slavery can be any age, gender, race and socio-economic background. Made to work against their will, they suffer physical or emotional abuse and live and work in horrific conditions. Faced with potentially fatal consequences if they attempt to escape, victims can be trapped for years.
For those who manage to break away, they may face tremendous challenges in their efforts to rebuild their lives, including stigma, blame, alienation and fear of retaliation. For example, they could lack basic documents, such as passports, social insurance numbers and health cards, which would limit their ability to access the financial products and services that are necessary for securing shelter, employment and a promising future.
The Survivor Inclusion Initiative makes it easier for Survivors to live the life they have dreamed of – and deserve.
The Survivor Inclusion Initiative:
Bridging the Gap to Financial Access
Gaining access to financial services is an essential step on a Survivor’s path to reintegration. Survivors may have been victimized at a young age and have therefore never been to a bank. They may have little to no credit history due to debts incurred by the traffickers and have gaps in financial literacy, making it incredibly difficult for them to get access to financial products and services once they have escaped their trafficking situation and are attempting to rebuild their lives.
“The program is very aligned to our core values at RBC of Diversity and Inclusion. In this case we’re talking about inclusion into the financial system. It’s important for these individuals to have access like any other Canadian.
Through this initiative, our goal is to empower Survivors to transition from a state of survival to a state where they can thrive. By providing access to financial products and services, and by equipping them with the tools to build financial literacy, we hope that they will truly be able to thrive.”
Martin Thibodeau, Regional President, British Columbia
How We Help
The program is designed to help survivors rebuild their lives in two ways:
- Help survivors access fundamental opportunities and services; and,
- Help survivors build a secure future for themselves and their families
Survivors will have access to:
Specialized banking services
Survivors will have access to a no-fee chequing and savings account for 12 months.
Specially-trained RBC financial advisors
Survivors are supported by specially-trained financial advisors who have undertaken trauma-informed sensitivity training.
Financial literacy support
Survivors are provided with customized financial literacy guidance according to their individual needs.
Related policies and publications
Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline
If you are a victim or survivor of human trafficking, or believe someone else may be, please call the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-833-900-1010.