On Parliament Hill

Combating Human Trafficking

  • Ted Falk, Author
  • Member of Parliament, Provencher

I’ve talked about this issue before, but, in light of recent events, I think it’s worthwhile to revisit this topic.

Many will have heard of the arrest this week of American billionaire Jeffrey Epstein on charges of sex trafficking. This high-profile arrest shines a light on the distressing reality of human trafficking, both in North America and around the world.

There are still approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today. According to the U.S. State Department, 600,000 to 800,000 people are abducted and trafficked across international borders every year, of which 80% are female and half are children.

Closer to home, there was the recent incident in Landmark, where a 16-year-old girl was abducted at knife point. There have been incidents in both Steinbach and Mitchell of young girls being followed home and attempts to lure them. Fortunately, in each of these cases, these brave and clever girls managed to get away. But many are not so lucky.

Approximately 2,000 people are trafficked in Canada each year. 95% of those being trafficked are women, and more than a quarter of victims are under the age of 18. Indigenous Canadians are disproportionately impacted, representing half of all victims.

For the last three and a half years, human traffickers have received the message that fighting their crimes is not a priority. The Trudeau Liberals cancelled our previous Conservative Government’s National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. With Bill C-75 they sought to reduce penalties for many serious crimes in Canada, including profiting from human trafficking, by adding “summary conviction” as a prosecutorial option. Summary offences carry much less severe penalties than indictable offences, sometimes as little as mere fine.

Canadians deserve better.

The number one job of the government is to protect its citizens. To that end, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer announced his plan to protect vulnerable people by combatting human trafficking.

Our plan consists of the following proposals:

  1. Renew the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking: A Conservative government will renew the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking with robust funding for law enforcement, survivor rehabilitation and public awareness.
  2. Strengthen Criminal Code provisions against human trafficking: A Conservative government will amend the human trafficking offence in the Criminal Code to reflect the international definition of human trafficking in the Palermo Protocol which would empower our justice system to secure more convictions.
  3. Ensure that human traffickers receive consecutive sentences for their crimes: Every girl, boy, woman and man trafficked in Canada deserves justice. When sentencing human traffickers, the trauma that they have endured must be taken into account. A Conservative government will put victims first and ensure that human traffickers receive sentences that reflect the gravity of their crimes.
  4. End automatic bail for those charged with human trafficking offences: Those who literally sell other people into slavery need to know that the full weight of the Canadian justice system is waiting for them. A Conservative government will put the safety and well-being of victims ahead of those who traffic them and end automatic bail for those charged with human trafficking.

A Conservative Government will ensure that our prosecutors have the strongest laws behind them to keep human traffickers off our streets.

Canadians deserve to feel safe where they live and to know that their government takes heinous crimes seriously.