Welcome to the Canadian Council for Refugees' (CCR) electronic bulletin on trafficking. This e-bulletin contains updates on trafficking issues, including different organizations’ responses to trafficking and other information and resources for non-governmental organizations and others working on these issues. This is part of a wider effort to share information, ideas and strategies across Canada.
The CCR e-bulletin on trafficking will be published every two months. If you would like to contribute to future issues, please forward your suggestions with related links and/or attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org. We also invite you to send us any feedback you might deem relevant on the content for us to consider for future issues.
We hope you will find this e-bulletin useful and interesting.
National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking Launched
On June 6, 2012, the Government of Canada launched the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. Over four years, the government plans to spend 25 million dollars to strengthen the work that is already being done, enhance public awareness and improve Canada’s ability to detect and prosecute human trafficking.
The objectives of the National Action Plan are to:
- Support a comprehensive prevention strategy centered on raising public awareness of human trafficking and on conducting research to prevent trafficking
- Continue assistance efforts for trafficked persons, providing support and services that respond to their physical, psychological and social needs
- Build on current efforts to prosecute traffickers and to strengthen the criminal justice system’s response to human trafficking
- Promote the continued development and implementation of effective policies, see to the advancement of a coordinated and comprehensive approach, and improve data collection on human trafficking, thereby increasing knowledge to respond adequately to domestic and international trafficking.
To view the full document, see: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/prg/le/cmbt-trffkng-eng.aspx#toc-05.
ACT Alberta has published comments on the National Action Plan, referring to the strategy as “an important step in addressing this crime.” In their release, ACT Alberta, who was consulted by the Federal government in the development of the plan, speaks to the specific context of human trafficking for both labour and sexual exploitation in Alberta and across Canada, as well as to the collaborative response model that Alberta has formed in order to address trafficking, starting from the community level.
ACT Alberta’s news release is available at: http://www.actalberta.org/news/federal-government-plans-to-fight-human-trafficking-looks-to-alberta/.
To read additional commentary about the National Action Plan, see:
Luis CdeBaca, United States Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons:
Bethany Hastie, Office of the Hans & Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law, McGill University:
Bill C-310 Receives Royal Assent
The Private Members’ Bill, introduced by Member of Parliament Joy Smith (Kildonan-St. Paul, MB) in October 2011, received Royal Assent on June 28th, 2012, and has officially become law. Bill C-310 amends the Criminal Code to include human trafficking offenses, which, if committed outside Canada by a Canadian or permanent resident, can now be prosecuted in Canada, and also enhances the definition of exploitation.
Further information about the bill is available at:
The website of the Parliament of Canada:
The website of MP Joy Smith:
Health Care Coverage for Trafficked Persons after Changes to Interim Federal Health Program (IFH)
Following revisions to IFH, which took effect on June 30, 2012, a trafficked person who has received a Temporary Residence Permit (TRP) is entitled to “expanded health-care coverage,” including: hospital services; services of health care professionals licensed in Canada; and laboratory, diagnostic and ambulance services. They may also receive “supplemental health-care benefits,” including: prescribed medications; limited dental and vision care; prosthetics and mobility devices; home care and long-term care; counseling by a clinical psychologist and health assessments.
By contrast, benefits available to a trafficked person who is a refugee claimant will depend on whether their claim is successful and whether they are from a country listed by the Minister of Immigration as a “Designated Country of Origin” (DCOs are countries identified at the minister’s discretion as having democratic institutions and low acceptance of refugee claims).
Claimants who are not from DCOs would be entitled to health-care coverage of an “urgent or essential nature,” including: hospital services; services of doctors and nurses; laboratory, diagnostic and ambulance services; and medications and vaccines only if needed to prevent or treat a disease that is a risk to public health or to treat a condition of safety concern.
Claimants from DCOs and rejected refugee claimants will only be entitled to “Public Health or Public Safety Health-Care Coverage,” if needed to prevent or treat a disease posing a risk to public safety.
For more details, please see the Summary of Benefits at: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/refugees/outside/summary-ifhp.asp.
To see the CCR comments on the changes to IFH please see: http://ccrweb.ca/en/bulletin/12/05/03.
To read commentary by the Immigration Matters in Canada Coalition, citing a list of health care organizations opposed to the cuts, please see: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/commentary/federal-cuts-put-refugee-health-care-danger.
Media reports on the changes to IFH:
Refugee care cut may be penny-wise, pound-foolish, Ottawa Citizen, 18 June 2012: http://bit.ly/MIWqjQ.
Doctors demand changes to proposed refugee health policy, CBC News, 11 May 2012: http://bit.ly/KQbN9M.
U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report 2012 Released
On June 19th, the U.S. Department of State released its report on global human trafficking for 2012. At the release, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Luis CdeBaca explained that, although every year trafficked persons are given false hope of a better life by their traffickers, their false hope is being overshadowed more and more by the real hope that he sees in the pages of the report, and other efforts that are ongoing around the world. U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton described this report as being more focused on the protection of victims, through changes in immigration laws, the psychological support of victims, and the ability of labour inspectors to identify human trafficking, among other things. The report urges Canada to improve services for victims, increase education and prevention efforts, intensify investigations and prosecutions, and strengthen collaboration between stakeholders.
For more information and to download the report, please see: http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2012/index.htm.
International Organization for Migration (IOM) Receives Funding from Canada to Strengthen Anti-Trafficking Partnerships Abroad
In early June 2012, Diane Ablonczy, Canadian Minister of State of Foreign Affairs, announced new funding for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to enhance criminal investigation techniques and anti-human trafficking laws. The IOM will use these funds to support their mission in El Salvador, which will provide specialized expertise to the Government of El Salvador as it formulates comprehensive legislation to counter human trafficking.
For more information, please see: http://www.iom.int/jahia/Jahia/media/press-briefing-notes/pbnAM/cache/offonce/lang/en?entryId=29772.
International Labour Organization (ILO), Global Estimate of Forced Labour 2012
On June 1, 2012, the International Labour Organization released its Global Estimate of Forced Labour. “Developed Economies” – including Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, Iceland Norway, Switzerland and the European Union – are estimated to account for 1.5 million persons in forced labour, or 7% of the total number of 20.9 million forced labourers worldwide.
For more information, please see:
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Workshop on Trafficking for Domestic Servitude
The first OSCE workshop on trafficking for domestic servitude in diplomatic households took place in Geneva, Switzerland in mid-June 2012. At the workshop, the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, urged participating States to take concrete steps to prevent this form of trafficking, including informing workers about their rights and monitoring the respect of labour regulations by employers. Canada participated in the workshop.
For more information, please see: http://www.osce.org/cthb/91502.
Further arrests in Hamilton Human Trafficking Case
On July 10, 2012, three further individuals were arrested as part of the Project Opapa investigation into human trafficking for labour exploitation in Hamilton. Police believe that these are the final three suspects in the case. To date, 20 individuals have been arrested and 23 victims identified. In April 2012, the head of the human trafficking ring was sentenced to nine years in prison for trafficking Hungarian nationals to Canada to work in the construction industry.
To see the Government of Canada News Release, please go to: http://cnw.ca/qyEO9.
Final three arrested in Hamilton human-trafficking ring, The Hamilton Spectator, 11 July 2012: http://bit.ly/LHX2MK.
Trois individus arêtes à Toronto, Le journal de Montréal, 11 July 2012: http://bit.ly/LlGUKI.
Three Arrests made in ‘Opapa’ Investigation, Canada Newswire, 11 July 2012: http://bit.ly/NtAFZ9.
Two human trafficking investigations report use of social media to recruit victims
1. Teenagers accused in Ottawa case
Between June 8 and 14, 2012, three girls aged 15 to 16 years were arrested in the national capital region for forcing three other teenage girls into prostitution. The names of the accused have not been released due to provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Police allege that on three separate occasions the accused lured three female victims, aged 13-17, through social media to a housing complex in Ottawa. The girls were then taken to various locations and offered to adult men for acts of prostitution. Thus far, there has been no indication that the accused were affiliated with a gang or aided by adults.
The counts these teens face include; human trafficking, robbery, procuring, forcible confinement, sexual assault, physical assault, uttering threats, and abduction.
Teen girls charged with prostituting other teens, CBC News, 11 June 2012: http://bit.ly/Lmh38X.
John says he blew whistle on sex trade ring, Ottawa Sun, 13 June 2012: http://bit.ly/LWhqoj.
Teen prostitution suspect appears in court, CBC News, 13 June 2012: http://bit.ly/LEX4kI.
Alleged victim of teen human trafficking ring terrified, mother says, Metro News Ottawa, 14 June 2012: http://bit.ly/M05QL1.
Girl, 16, arrested in Ottawa human trafficking case, faces charges, Global News, 15 June 2012: http://bit.ly/M6HVtt.
2. Cachia case in Toronto
Twenty-one year-old Vanessa Cachia was arrested on Thursday, June 14, 2012, at a residence in Mississauga, Ontario. A man and one other woman were also reportedly involved in the trafficking of at least one victim who was forced to work as an exotic dancer and prostitute from September to November 2009. Like other recent cases, the victim was lured through a social media site. Police explained that the three traffickers had restricted the victim’s movements and forced her to surrender any money she earned and her identification.
Cachia is charged with human trafficking, living on the avails of prostitution, receiving a financial or other material benefit, forcible confinement, procuring a person, mischief to property, assault and exercising direction, influence or control for gain.
York Regional Police charge 21-year-old Mississauga woman with human trafficking, National Post, 14 June 2012: http://natpo.st/NtfjZU.
Woman accused of human trafficking, Toronto Sun, 14 June 2012: http://bit.ly/M9FYbC.
Mississauga Valley woman accused of human trafficking, Mississauga, 14 June 2012: http://bit.ly/LOihuQ.
Quebec Council for the Status of Women Opinion Summary, “Prostitution: Time to Take Action,” May 2012
In May, the Quebec Council for the Status of Women published an Opinion Summary regarding prostitution entitled: “Prostitution: Time to Take Action”. The summary includes an examination of the current global, national and provincial context of trafficking for sexual exploitation.
One of the Council’s recommendations specifically concerns the needs of victims of human trafficking. It states: “... given the special vulnerabilities of human trafficking victims, financial resources should be put in place to support front-line initiatives designed to help victims escape from sexual exploitation and offer them economically viable alternatives.”
The full summary is available at: http://bit.ly/LsWc10.
The Enslavement and Liberation of Oksana G, an Opera, Toronto, 11-12 June 2012
A brilliant new opera work saw its second workshop performance in Toronto on June 11 and 12, 2012. “Oksana G. … is an original story of a young Ukrainian girl, Oksana, lured into the world of sex trafficking,” (Colleen Murphy, Governor General’s Award winner, librettist). Tapestry New Opera presented Act II of this new work to an appreciative full house each night. The full opera is expected to take the stage during the 2015 season.
For more information, please see: http://www.tapestrynewopera.com/the-work/works-in-development/.
Upcoming meetings of the CCR: CCR Summer Working Group Meetings in Montreal, 7 - 8 September 2012, and CCR Fall Consultation in Toronto, 29 November 2012
The CCR Summer Working Group Meetings will be held on 7 and 8 September 2012 in Montreal. The CCR’s three Working Groups provide forums for CCR members and other refugee and immigrant rights advocates to exchange information, network and develop policy positions in particular areas of concern. The meetings are closed to media and government.
The CCR 2012 Fall Consultation will be held from 29 November to 1 December 2012 in Toronto.
For more details about both events, please visit: http://ccrweb.ca/en/meetings.
“Watch for the Signs”: PACT-Ottawa TruckSTOP Campaign
PACT-Ottawa’s TruckSTOP Campaign is well underway with posters, coasters, wallet cards and over 4,000 audio CD’s distributed at truck stops and to stakeholders across southern Ontario. The 15-minute documentary “Watch for the Signs” and the 1-hour radio adaptation of Catherine Cunningham-Huston’s award-winning play THE WALK have been well received by truckers. These materials are also in use in several industry and government training programs.
The TruckSTOP Campaign was mentioned as an integral part of the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking announced by the Government of Canada in June 2012. Production of a French language set of materials has begun. Watch for the release of “Prenez garde aux signes” and DÉ/MARCHE in late 2012.
For further details, please go to: http://www.pact-truckstop.org.
“She Has a Name” Play’s Cross Canada Tour Continues until October 2012
Andrew Kooman’s poignant play about human trafficking is continuing its cross-country Canadian tour, stopping in London and Winnipeg during the month of July; in Calgary and Victoria during August; and in Vancouver, Kelowna and Edmonton during September.
For full details and further dates, please see: http://shehasaname.net/buy-tickets/.
Freedom Relay -- Save the Date! 15 September 2012
Throughout September 2011, organizations in centres from St. John’s to Vancouver hosted the first annual Freedom Relay Canada. The Freedom Relay is an effort to raise consciousness and mobilize local support to end human trafficking in communities across Canada. Funds raised from the 2011 event were shared between international, pan-Canadian and local programs for trafficked persons. The Freedom Relay is returning to a city near you on September 15, 2012. All funds raised will be shared between local and national programs to assist victims. Form a team and register with your local organizer!
For more information, please see: http://www.freedomrelay.com.