‘Having heard all of this you may choose to look the other way…but you may never again say that you did not know.’ ~ William Wilberforce
Today, MP Joy Smith and Professor Benjamin Perrin held a press conference calling all Canadians to become part of a positive, effective comprehensive national plan to address the 21rst slave trade in our country.
We cannot leave this matter up to two people alone. We must act, be we politicians, activists, people of faith, students, parents, labourers, doctors, teachers, senior citizens, minority groups, or whomever we might be. We MUST act. We know slavery dwells in our borders and around the world. With this truth in mind, we can choose to act… or we can choose to look away. But as William Wilberforce so rightly put it, we can never go back to ignorance claiming we did not know.
This is only a step in the many steps of a journey that will dark and fearsome at times. Yet with words and actions of hope and love, the freedom of all is not far at hand. We will sojourn together as wayfarers on different (yet not so different) roads; we will see one another as the human beings we are; we will serve one another through honest faith and love in order to see God's will be done "on earth as it is in heaven"; and we will sacrifice of ourselves so that others will be set free.
We may not all agree on all points of this one step. Yet we are bound together in Christ's powerful message of redemption and hope: "I have come to set the captives free". And when the Son sets us free, we are free indeed.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 28, 2010
National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking Required
Ottawa, ON: Today, Member of Parliament Joy Smith and UBC Law Professor Benjamin Perrin are calling for the development of a comprehensive national action plan to combat human trafficking in Canada.
Recently, evidence provided by Professor Perrin’s book Invisible Chains and a national threat assessment released by the RCMP in September 2010 called Project SECLUSION have pointed to an extensive and highly profitable system of human trafficking networks across Canada. Men, women, and youth face forms of modern day slavery in Canada including sex trafficking and forced labour.
“The profitable and clandestine nature of trafficking in persons in Canada requires a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach that draws together the existing frameworks, stakeholders, and agencies,” says MP Joy Smith. “I am convinced that a federally led national action plan would address these challenges by implementing an integrated response to target the traffickers and provide relief and protection for the victims.”
“A national action plan to combat human trafficking should be a priority for our federal government to end this atrocious crime that is flourishing in Canada,” said Benjamin Perrin, author of Invisible Chains: Canada’s Underground World of Human Trafficking. “We need to commit to end this hidden national tragedy today and restore Canada’s promise as a free and just society.”
MP Joy Smith and Professor Benjamin Perrin are calling for a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking that contains the following key components:
1) Prosecute Traffickers: Identify, disrupt and prosecute human trafficking operations with integrated law enforcement Human Trafficking Task Forces to target the most prolific and violent criminal organizations and networks.
2) Protect Victims: Ensure victims of human trafficking can access needed governmental and non-governmental services wherever they are identified in Canada.
3) Prevent the Crime: Prevention efforts including outreach and education to ensure that the most vulnerable, including at-risk Aboriginal youth and those in child protection, are resistant to tactics of traffickers; ensure temporary foreign workers who are victims benefit from “whistleblower” protection with alternative employment and recovery of unpaid wages.
4) Confront Demand: adopt the Nordic model of prostitution [commonly known as the Swedish model] to criminalize the purchase of sex acts, but not those being sold who are instead offered support to exit exploitation; vigorously enforce Canada’s extraterritorial child sex crime offences and prevent convicted child sex offenders from freely travelling abroad.
5) Cooperation: Work collaboratively with the provinces, law enforcement, Aboriginal leaders, non-governmental organizations and survivors to implement this plan to end human trafficking in Canada.
“As 18th century abolitionist and British Member of Parliament William Wilberforce said 200 years ago ‘Having heard all of this you may choose to look the other way…but you may never again say that you did not know.’ Today we know and as a nation, we must now act,” says MP Joy Smith.
Their call for federal leadership on this issue is echoed by stakeholders across the country including law enforcement, First Nations, victim service providers, and victims themselves.
“Law enforcement agencies across Canada have been working together to protect the victims of human trafficking,” said Canadian Police Association President Charles Momy. “However we recognize that more can and should be done to establish a coordinated response to ensure the offenders are prosecuted, and put a stop to this modern day form of slavery.”
“While international human trafficking is well known, Mrs. Smith has brought forward the realities of human trafficking right here in Canada,” says Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Grand Chief Ron Evans. “Her recommendations bring attention to the fact that most vulnerable victims of domestic human trafficking and sexual exploitation are First Nations youth. The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs has developed a First Nations specific anti-trafficking strategy to raise awareness of this growing problem and fully supports the recommendations set out in this national action plan. Prevention, Protection and Intervention is the key to combat human trafficking.”
“I want to commend Joy Smith and Ben Perrin for their leadership in developing a national strategy that will prevent future victimization and support those who have been victimized,” said Steve Sullivan, Executive Director of Ottawa Victim Services and former federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime.
“When I first learned about the Invisible Chains, by Benjamin Perrin, my ‘survivor side’ got overwhelmed: ‘Finally someone giving us a voice’. When I learned about the proposal for a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking by Mrs. Smith, my ‘advocate side’ felt a huge amount of relief,” says Timea Nagy, a survivor of human trafficking and founder of Walk With Me. “It’s time for Canada to have a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.”
Please contact for additional information:
Joel Oosterman, Chief of Staff
Office of Joy Smith, MP
Phone: (613) 220-6795
Backgrounder #1 – Organizations supporting the creation of
a National Action Plan to combat human trafficking
- Canadian Police Association
- Manitoba Assembly of Chiefs
- Beyond Borders
- The Ratanak International
- Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
- Ottawa Victim Services
- National Council of Jewish Women of Canada
- Operation Mobilization Canada
- Canada Fights Human Trafficking
- Victims of Violence Canadian Centre for Missing Children
- The Salvation Army – Alberta Division
- ACT Alberta (Action Coalition on human Trafficking)
- Crime Stoppers Association of Edmonton & Northern Alberta
- Temple Committee Against Human Trafficking
- Chrysalis Network
- Sex Trade 101
- Hope For The Sold
- Walk With Me
- The Future Group
- Magdalene House Society
Backgrounder #2 – Statements of Support
Canada Fights Human Trafficking (CFHT) is delighted that you [MP Joy Smith] have produced the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. Canada desperately needs this action plan to continue pursuing justice on the issue of human trafficking. This action plan will also establish a working format whereby all of the Canadian Government can collaborate to fight this unacceptable crime.
We would like to personally endorse this action plan, and thank you for the work you have done, and continue to do, to bring awareness and justice to Canada regarding human trafficking. As an organization that is on the front lines fighting this crime, it is imperative to us that we have the support of the Government and that we are fighting this crime together. Having this action plan in place will propel our nation into greater awareness of this issue, greater penalties for traffickers, greater numbers of rescued victims, and most importantly, a greater force by which we can eliminate this crime in our nation of Canada.
Christine Giancola, PR Director
Canada Fights Human Trafficking
ACT Alberta has been commended for our work in this province, and we are fortunate to operate with support from the public, The Body Shop and the Government of Alberta. However, trafficking has no borders and victims should receive the same level of assistance no matter where in Canada they’re located. This issue is a national one and requires national attention and urgent action to properly respond to it. ACT Alberta commends MP Joy Smith and Benjamin Perrin for their tireless work to create a National Action Plan on Human Trafficking.
Andrea Burkhart, Manager
Action Coalition on human Trafficking
“The discussion of a national action plan to combat human trafficking is vital and timely given the current court challenges to Canada’s prostitution laws,” said The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s Policy Analyst Julia Beazley. “Now is an ideal time, as part of a broader strategy such as the one put forward by MP Joy Smith, to give serious consideration to the Nordic legal model which has been demonstrated to have the type of significant impact on reducing the sex trade and human trafficking that Canadians see as the objective of prostitution laws. Targeting the demand for purchase of sexual services and offering a means of escape from prostitution for those, mostly women, who have been trafficked or otherwise trapped into selling their bodies, would demonstrate that Canada is a compassionate and just society.”
Julia Beazley, Policy Analyst
Evangelical Fellowship of Canada
Canada has too long been a spectator as other governments have moved to make human trafficking a priority. A clear understanding of the gravity of this crime dictates a strident and unambiguous response from both Government and society at large. The recommendations within MP Joy Smith’s Connecting the Dots: A Proposal for National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking are most welcome and provide a necessary, and overdue, framework through which, on legislative, organizational and judicial levels, Canada can begin to move towards a position of leadership more in keeping with its international reputation and moral stature.
K. Brian McConaghy MSM, BA.
The Ratanak International
Human trafficking in all of its forms is an offense against all of us – it devalues human life. All efforts should be made to stop it here in Canada as well as quashing the international tentacles that reach into all regions of the globe. Operation Mobilization Canada endorses efforts made to protect the exploited and prevent these terrible crimes from being committed.
Harvey Thiessen, Executive Director
Operation Mobilization Canada
The psychological trauma experienced by victims of human trafficking across Canada is, quite simply, staggering. The multiple experiences of loss, violation and degradation suffered by these victims often results in irreparable damage to body, mind and soul. No society claiming to value human rights can afford to ignore the desperate needs of people trapped in what can only be described as a living nightmare.
Jacqueline Linder, M.A., C.C.T., C.A.M.S.
Executive/Clinical Director, Chrysalis Network
Canada has an opportunity to show the world by example that we are a country that will not tolerate the exploitation of women and children. For freedoms sake, I urge our national leaders to take this stance to fight human trafficking; let's be a country that history will document did every effort to re-abolish slavery, human trafficking – the modern slave trade.
Shae Invidiata, Founder
If Canada is to effectively combat human trafficking, an intentional and holistic approach is required. MP Joy Smith's proposed National Action Plan, which seeks to prosecute traffickers, protect victims, prevent crime, confront demand, and promote cooperation, is both intentional and holistic. The fight against human trafficking is as multifaceted as a diamond, and MP Smith's proposal has some serious sparkle.
Michelle Brock, Founder
Hope For The Sold
If the average age of entry into prostitution is 13-16 years old, when do we start referring to sexually exploited children as "sex workers", when they turn of age? These children are trafficked across Canada to be bought and sold by men. It will take a national effort to address human trafficking in Canada and I commend MP Joy Smith’s proposal for a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.
Natasha Falle, Executive Director
Combating human trafficking, especially of girls and boys for the world sex industry, is a curse on which Canada should take a strong role internationally.
Hon. David Kilgour, P.C.
Former Member of Parliament and human rights activist
The Temple Committee Against Human Trafficking strongly endorses the development of a national action plan to fight human trafficking. We believe that a multi-pronged effort as outlined in MPJoy Smith's proposal 'Connecting the Dots' is required to deal with this modern day slavery.
Liliane Kohl, Peggy Sakow and Denise Grossman, Chairs
Temple Committee Against Human Trafficking
The most critical thing Canadians need to know regarding human trafficking is that it is literally modern day slavery and it is happening now, at this moment, at our doorstep. We are talking about human lives…there is no time to waste; we must take action now! People are not commodities, they should never be bought or sold. If we are to see this exploitation end it will take commitment from all of us. Yet if we do not stand up for our humanity than what do we have left? I am not a beauty queen, I am an abolitionist. I am committed to doing my part to see the eradication of slavery within Canada, and the world. I urge everyone to do the same.
Miss British Columbia 2010
It is about time Canada stepped up and fought this injustice, let's bring these victims to safety and make our country known for the efforts we have put forth to bring justice and peace.
Larissa Brandelli, President