On February 22, 2017 The Anti-Human Trafficking Act, 2017 was introduced. If passed, this bill would create would introduce the Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking Act, 2017 and Human Trafficking Awareness Day Act, 2017. The Remedies for Human Trafficking Act would establish a process for survivors and those at risk of being trafficked to apply for restraining orders. It would also enable survivors to sue their traffickers for compensation. Human Trafficking Awareness Day Act, 2017 would make every February 22nd Human Trafficking Awareness Day. This is intended to raise awareness for Human Trafficking.
Provincial efforts should be equally focused on labour trafficking and internationally trafficked persons who are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.
Members of the Toronto Counter Human Trafficking Network are embracing the Ontario government’s efforts to fight human trafficking by investing up to $72 million in an anti-human trafficking strategy aimed at increasing awareness and coordination, enhancing justice-sector initiatives and improving survivors’ access to services. The Network is praising the government’s approach promoting the 4Ps (Protection, Prevention, Prosecution and Partnership) thus, working collaboratively with all stakeholders, including civil society.
Attached is Canada’s Report
Some highlights: In general, there is more awareness and resources against sex trafficking compared to labour trafficking.
Prosecution: “The government convicted six sex traffickers and no labor traffickers in 2015 compared to eight sex traffickers in 2014. ”
Protection: “Civil society reported provincial and territorial governments often lacked adequate resources and personnel to effectively monitor the labor conditions of temporary foreign workers or to proactively identify human trafficking victims among vulnerable groups”
Prevention: “In 2015, the government announced an overhaul of the temporary foreign worker program to increase detection of abuse and prioritize Canadian employees over lower paid migrants.”
In 2014, Canadian police services reported 206 human trafficking violations in Canada, accounting for less than 1% of all police-reported criminal incidents.
Over a six-year period from 2009 to 2014, more than 9 in 10 human trafficking victims in Canada were female (93%). Human trafficking victims were also generally young, with almost half (47%) of them aged from 18 to 24 over this time frame.
The majority of people accused of police-reported human trafficking from 2009 to 2014 were male (83%). Persons accused of human trafficking were most commonly between the ages of 18 to 24 (41%) and 25 to 34 (36%).
Ontario accounts for 65% of human trafficking cases reported to police nationally.
The Ontario government vowed Thursday to tackle the “deplorable and inhumane crime” of human trafficking with a plan meant to increase awareness, help investigate and prosecute cases and boost support for victims in the province.
Ontario Taking Steps to End Human Trafficking:
Province Investing in Strategy to Improve Services, Help Survivors
Ontario is a major centre for human trafficking in Canada, accounting for roughly 65 percent of police-reported cases nationally. Drawing on feedback from experts and community partners as well as successful initiatives from other Canadian jurisdictions, the new Strategy to End Human Trafficking focuses on four areas of action:
- Prevention and Community Supports that will increase awareness and understanding of the causes of human trafficking, and improve community services like housing, mental health services, trauma counselling, and job skills training to meet the immediate and long-term needs of survivors.
- Enhanced Justice Sector Initiatives that will support effective intelligence-gathering and identification, investigation and prosecution of human trafficking.
- Indigenous-Led Approaches that will support culturally relevant services and responses — designed, developed, and delivered jointly with Indigenous partners.
- Provincial Coordination and Leadership, including the development of a provincial Anti-Human Trafficking Coordination Office to help improve collaboration across law enforcement, justice, social, health, education, and child welfare sectors.
The Strategy to End Human Trafficking delivers on Premier Kathleen Wynne’s commitment made in February 2016 to address human trafficking and is a part of the government’s vision to ensure that everyone in the province can live in safety — free from the threat, fear or experience of exploitation and violence.
- “Human trafficking” is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud, coercion, deception, repeated provision of a controlled substance) for an illegal purpose, including sexual exploitation or forced labour.
- Of Ontario’s reported cases of human trafficking, about 70 per cent are for the purpose of sexual exploitation, and the majority of survivors are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
- Individuals who are most vulnerable as targets for human trafficking include Indigenous people, young women, at-risk youth, youth in care, migrant workers, and persons with mental health and addiction issues.
- In many cases of trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, trafficked persons may develop “trauma bonds” with their traffickers, and may not view themselves as victims. As such, human trafficking is believed to be a vastly underreported crime.
“Human trafficking is a deplorable crime and human rights violation that robs the safety, livelihood and dignity of those who are being exploited and abused. We are committed to keeping women – and all Ontarians – safe. The release of this strategy reinforces our continued dedication to this cause.”
“Ontario is committed to protecting and supporting survivors of human trafficking and working to prevent this heinous crime in the future. We have clearly heard from those on the front-lines of this issue that there needs to be sustained supports to help survivors repair their lives, more training to help our justice sector partners investigate and prosecute these crimes, and deeper coordination at every level to fight human trafficking. Ontario’s Strategy to End Human Trafficking delivers on all of these fronts in a way that focuses on the wellbeing of survivors and holds offenders accountable.”
“It is critical for survivors of human trafficking to have access to the supports and services they need to leave a life of violence and exploitation. Through the new Anti-Human Trafficking Coordination Office, our government will fund agencies and frontline workers, including those serving Indigenous communities, to help survivors of human trafficking live in safety.”
“The province’s announcement today is a significant step in the right direction. We look forward to continuing our work with the government as it moves toward a more coordinated and focused approach to address this critical issue in Ontario.”
Bruce Rivers: Executive Director, Covenant House Toronto
In this issue: Ontario passes anti-trafficking legislation, Questions about TRPs for trafficked persons raised in House of Commons, new anti-trafficking resources, and more…
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The Lessons of History
Guest Editor: Julia O’Connell Davidson