In this issue: Looking forward to 2015, Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention and Canada’s role, Highlights of the CCR National Forum on Trafficking, Organization of American States Report on missing and murdered Aboriginal women and more…
Upcoming CCR eventsWinter Working Group Meetings, 27-28 February, Toronto
CCR Spring Consultation, 21 May - 23 May, Winnipeg
Browse through the CCR Starter Toolkit for Awareness Raising on Trafficking.
Issue No. 17 - February 2015
The year 2014 was marked by a number of changes by the federal government to the reality of migrant workers in Canada. The CCR has highlighted and responded to these in a review entitled “Migrant Rights in Canada: Looking back on 2014, forward to 2015”. Some of the changes include:
- Workers’ time in Canada will be reduced even further than the four-year limit first imposed in 2011. This time limit will only apply to workers in the low-wage stream.
- The government plans to revoke employers’ Labour Market Impact Assessment if they violate the rules, but has announced no measures to protect migrant workers in their employ.
- An annual cap has been introduced on permanent residence applications under the Caregiver Program, meaning that some caregivers will now be excluded from access to permanent residence.
The CCR is concerned that these changes exacerbate migrant workers’ existing vulnerabilities and their susceptibility to different forms of exploitation, including trafficking in persons. In response, the CCR is envisioning a 2015 that includes:
- Priority given to protecting the rights of vulnerable migrant workers;
- Access to permanent residence for all migrant workers;
- An economic immigration program expanded to reflect the broad range of labour needs of the Canadian economy by including workers of all skill levels, including those currently entering on a temporary basis to fill low-wage jobs.
To learn more about the changes and about the CCR’s concerns, please consult: ccrweb.ca/en/migrant-rights-looking-back-2014-forward-2015.
The CCR has published a summary of the key provisions outlined by the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930, adopted in June 2014. The summary is available online in English and in French.
The CCR has adopted a resolution calling on the government of Canada to ratify the Protocol and to implement all of its provisions. The Protocol and its supplementary recommendation offer important tools to strengthen Canada’s prevention and protection efforts against different forms of forced or compulsory labour, including trafficking in persons.
Many of the measures outlined in the Protocol and recommendation have been previously suggested by the CCR, including:
- Improving labour inspections and enforcement of labour laws to verify employer compliance;
- Protecting migrant workers from exploitative and fraudulent practices during the recruitment and placement process;
- Addressing the root causes and factors that increase the risk of forced labour, including trafficking in persons;
- Providing access to protection and to necessary remedies for persons who have been subjected to different forms of forced labour, regardless of their immigration status;
- Protecting survivors of forced labour from prosecution or penalties for offences committed as a consequence of their forced labour situation, including in relation to their entry into Canada;
- Extending protection measures to family members of survivors both inside and outside of Canada.
Proposal for Legislative Amendment to Protect Trafficked Persons: ccrweb.ca/en/proposal-legislative-amendment-protect-trafficked-persons.
CCR Migrant Workers Campaign: ccrweb.ca/en/migrant-workers.
Quebec organizations denounce the absence of a provincial action plan against human trafficking
On 5 December 2014, a number of organizations from Quebec working to support trafficked persons denounced the absence of a provincial action plan to address trafficking in persons. They specifically condemned the lack of follow-up given to the motion that was unanimously adopted by the Quebec National Assembly on 6 December 2013. The motion acknowledged the reality of trafficking in persons in Quebec and made a commitment on behalf of the provincial government to implement measures to combat trafficking, including through the development in 2014 of a provincial action plan on sexual exploitation and on assisting women wishing to leave prostitution.
The organizations endorsing this include the Comité d’action contre la traite humaine interne et internationale (CATHII), Les affranchies, la Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle (CLES) and the Quebec Coalition Against Trafficking in Persons. Their press release is available (in French) at: http://www.cathii.org/node/198.
A Highlights Report of the CCR’s National Forum on Trafficking, held November 2014, is now available online at: http://ccrweb.ca/en/trafficking-forum-highlights-2014.
The forum facilitated an in-depth discussion between representatives of non-governmental organizations, service providers, academics, as well as representatives of different levels of government and law enforcement from Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Alberta and British Columbia. The discussion focused on common challenges in awareness-raising and in providing adequate services to trafficked persons, and also examined existing efforts, best practices and useful strategies for improving prevention and protection measures at different levels. The forum also provided a space to analyze recent policy directions, whereby participants identified key priorities in moving forward at local, provincial and federal levels.
The full report of the forum will be available soon at: trafficking.ca.
Organization of American States (OAS) Report: “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in British Columbia”
The OAS’s Inter-American Commission on Human Rights released a report in December 2014 detailing the results and recommendations of an in-depth investigation carried out in 2013 on missing and murdered Aboriginal women in British Columbia.
The report analyzes the situation of missing and murdered Aboriginal women as part of a broader pattern of violence and discrimination against Aboriginal women across Canada. While the Commission acknowledges the Canadian government’s efforts to discuss this situation, it also urges it to build on the IACHR’s investigation to diligently pursue unsolved cases and to improve the implementation of policies, services and overall initiatives addressing the issue. It suggests that it do so through better coordination throughout different levels of government and in constant consultation with Aboriginal women. Among its recommendations, the commission advices the government to launch a national action plan or nation-wide inquiry into the issue.
The full OAS report is available at: http://bit.ly/1BPNliM.
The CCR also adopted a resolution in November 2014 calling on the Canadian government to commit to and implement a National Action Plan that addresses the discrimination and inequalities facing Aboriginal women and girls. It also urges the government to establish a national inquiry to ensure that this action plan is well informed and accountable.
Media releases on OAS Report:
IACHR Presents Report on Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women in British Columbia, Canada, OAS, 12 January 2015: http://bit.ly/1uUa6ji.
Rights group presses Harper for inquiry into murdered aboriginal women, The Globe and Mail, 12 January 2015: http://bit.ly/1yvQdR4.
Advocates hope 'groundbreaking' report on aboriginal women will put spotlight on Canada, CTV News, 12 January 2015: http://bit.ly/1zNlGUT.
CATHII Report: “Frontline Responses to Human Trafficking in Canada: Coordinating Services for Victims”
CATHII has published a report in collaboration with the McGill School of Social Work, featuring the results of Canada-wide research on issues concerning the coordination of responses to trafficking in persons across the country.
The report examines existing practices in providing assistance to and protecting trafficked persons across Canada. It also explores possible areas of action to support frontline workers in their responses, to facilitate consultation and cooperation between frontline workers, and to facilitate access to services that adequately respond to the specific needs of trafficked persons.
For more information (in French) and to order a report, please consult: http://www.cathii.org/node/205.
Human trafficking happens everywhere, including Windsor, Windsor Star, 29 January 2015: http://bit.ly/1EDsZzr.
Sex trafficking victims to get special Toronto housing, Toronto Star, 29 January 2015: http://bit.ly/1uUmbF5.
Human trafficking case in Sudbury falls apart, Sudbury Star, 28 January 2015: http://bit.ly/1BZ8j1u.
Tattoo artist charged with human trafficking for second time, Toronto Sun, 11 January 2015: http://bit.ly/1zbsDNc.
More human trafficking charges against former CFS worker, Winnipeg Sun, 19 December 2014: http://bit.ly/1Ct27l8.
Few charged with human trafficking end up behind bars, Toronto Sun, 13 December 2014: http://bit.ly/1uUmW0T.
This conference is organized by the Departments of Justice Canada and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. It seeks to discuss current legal responses and promising practices in response to early and forced marriage and “honour” based violence, and to look at emerging issues.
The conference is intended for private sector lawyers working in the fields of family law, immigration law, child protection law and criminal law, as well as members of the judiciary, law enforcement officials, victim service providers, child protection workers, and federal-provincial-territorial officials (including Crown attorneys).
For more information, please consult: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/fv-vf/tefm-ampf.html.
Placing Unfree Labour, McGill University and York University, Montreal, 19 March
This conference will be presented via video-conference at York University and McGill University. It will explore how feminist and legal geographical approaches to unfree labour – in particular forced labour and trafficking – unsettle and potentially enrich legal analyses of regulatory regimes.
For more information, please visit: http://oppenheimer.mcgill.ca/Placing-Unfree-Labour?lang=en.
The UNODC has released its 2014 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons. The report covers 128 countries and provides an overview of patterns and flows of trafficking in persons at global, regional and national levels, and examines these countries’ responses to trafficking in persons.
On a global level, the 2014 report particularly highlights gaps in countries’ protection legislation, as well as very poor progress in the number of human trafficking convictions worldwide. It also notes that trafficking for the purpose of forced labour has progressively increased in the past 5 years, in the manufacturing and construction sectors, in domestic work and in textile production, reporting that 35 per cent of detected survivors of labour trafficking were female.
The report provides an overview of Canada’s trends with regards to trafficking-specific charges laid between 2010 and 2013, to cases prosecuted for trafficking by gender between 2010 and 2012, and presents the amount of victims detected by different agencies up to 2013. Based on information received from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre, the report mentions that among the number of people detected specifically by law enforcement between 2010 and 2013, 99 had been trafficked for forced labour and 170 for sexual exploitation purposes.
Canada’s country profile is available at: http://bit.ly/1CTw9wO.
The full report is available at: http://bit.ly/1BXsBsd.