“The Harper Government is committed to keeping our streets and communities safe,” said Minister Toews. “Our Government is firmly committed to the global fight against human trafficking and is stepping up its efforts to address this heinous crime in Canada and abroad, whose victims tragically include young Canadian women and girls.”
Canada’s National Action Plan, with participation from 18 federal departments, is a comprehensive blueprint to guide the Government of Canada’s fight against the serious crime of human trafficking.
“With the launch of this national action plan, our Government is taking another important step to ensure the safety and security of women and girls across Canada who are being targeted for sexual exploitation by violent traffickers,” said Minister Ambrose.
“Our Government is increasing law enforcement and support for victims of human traffickers who include street gangs that are preying on our youth,” said Minister Blaney.
“The National Action Plan will consolidate our Government’s ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking and introduce significant new initiatives to prevent human trafficking, identify victims, protect the most vulnerable, prosecute perpetrators, and build on our partnerships both in Canada and abroad,” said Member of Parliament Joy Smith.
The National Action Plan will:
- Launch Canada’s first integrated law enforcement team dedicated to combating human trafficking.
- Increase front-line training to identify and respond to human trafficking and enhance prevention in vulnerable communities.
- Provide more support for victims of this crime, both Canadians and newcomers.
- Strengthen coordination with domestic and international partners who contribute to Canada’s efforts to combat human trafficking.
These new measures totalling $25 million over four years build on and strengthen Canada’s significant work to date to prevent, detect and prosecute human trafficking, such as targeted training for law enforcement officials and front-line service providers, and enhanced public awareness measures.
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada is largely in agreement with this plan. “We are pleased to see the creation of the Human Trafficking Taskforce, a commitment to ongoing stakeholder consultation and other initiatives, enhanced measures to address and prevent cases of forced labour and a strong focus on victim care and awareness-raising,” said Julia Beazley, Policy Analyst for the EFC. “We are particularly pleased with the proposals aimed at combatting sexual exploitation, and with the focus given to our Aboriginal communities, which are particularly vulnerable to trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation.”
To date, the RCMP is aware of 23 cases in Canada in which human trafficking charges were laid and the accused have been convicted of human trafficking and/or other related offences. Forty-two accused have been convicted in these cases and 56 victims have been saved from the hands of the traffickers. Currently, approximately 59 Canadian cases involving 98 individuals accused of human trafficking offences remain before the courts. These cases involve a total of 147 victims.
The national action plan has also found support with parents whose children have been trafficked. Glendene Grant whose daughter Jessie Foster has been missing since March 29, 2006 was pleased with the announcement. “I have to say how wonderful it will be to have a Canadian National Action Plan to Combat the Crime of Human Trafficking. Human trafficking will not go away on its own . . . And so, from the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank the government of Canada for their development and launch of the Canadian National Action Plan to Combat the Crime of Human Trafficking, making our country one of the leaders in the fight against this crime.”
To view the National Action Plan online, please go to: http://www.ps-sp.gc.ca.
With files from the EFC and the Government of Canada