National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking
By A Correspondent
Ottawa, Ontario, June 6, 2012 — The Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, along with the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, today launched Canada’s National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. The National Action Plan was also launched today by the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, in Montreal, and Member of Parliament Joy Smith (Kildonan–St. Paul) in Vancouver.
“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.”
Human trafficking in Canada is a national problem, whose victims are both Canadians and newcomers. Sexual exploitation and forced labour are two forms of trafficking taking place in Canada. The Criminal Intelligence Service has reported: “Across the country, organized crime networks are actively trafficking Canadian-born women and under-age girls inter and intra-provincially, and in some instances to the United States, destined for the sex trade.”
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. 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. 42 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.
To view the National Action Plan online, please go to: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/prg/le/ht-tp-eng.aspx
Picture: Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety