by: MP Joy Smith
Ottawa, ON: On September 15, Joy Smith, Member of Parliament for Kildonan – St. Paul, released a comprehensive proposal for a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. The proposal contains numerous recommendations and action points aimed at providing a concrete federal response to areas of prosecution, protection, prevention, and partnerships.
“Human trafficking is an egregious crime that reaches all corners of our nation and must not be tolerated,” says MP Joy Smith. “I am convinced that a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking is essential to address the challenges raised by human trafficking by implementing an integrated and coordinated federal response. We need a federal plan that focuses on prevention initiatives, increased prosecution, greater protection and rehabilitation for the victims, and partnerships with frontline organizations.”
On Monday, the RCMP released a national threat assessment on human trafficking which confirmed the rising incidences of domestic trafficking among young Canadian women. The annual U.S. trafficking in Persons Report has also revealed Canada to be a source, transit and destination country for many types of human trafficking, including sex trafficking, forced labour, and forced marriages.
The recommendations in the proposal for a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking include the creation of a national rapporteur for human trafficking, increasing funding for victim aid organizations, the adoption of the Swedish model towards prostitution, a national awareness campaign and a tailored strategy to address human trafficking in First Nations communities. MP Smith’s proposal stems from consultations she has had over the past few years with law enforcement, human trafficking experts, non-governmental organizations, and victims of human trafficking.
“One of the most important parts of the National Action Plan is education and awareness. To rid our national of this modern day slavery, it is crucial that all Canadians are aware of and able to recognize human trafficking,” urges MP Joy Smith. “That is why I was thrilled last week when the federal government announced they were launching a national awareness campaign with Crime Stoppers.”
In 2007, MP Joy Smith’s private members motion M-153, which urged the development of a comprehensive national plan, was unanimously passed by the Parliament of Canada, creating a strong statement. While a National Action Plan has yet to be developed, it has been called for by a number of national organizations and experts.
“Human traffickers have prospered for too long in Canada due to a lack of a coordinated response to their barbaric crimes. This proposed national action plan is an inspiring example of how Canadians can come together to more effectively root out modern-day slavery in our country,” says Benjamin Perrin, a UBC Law Professor and author of Invisible Chains: Canada’s Underground World of Human Trafficking.