|For Immediate Release|
|11 May 2006|
|CCR WELCOMES EMERGENCY PROTECTION MEASURE FOR TRAFFICKED PERSONS|
Montreal. The Canadian Council for Refugees welcomes today’s announcement by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration of measures to provide emergency protection to persons who have been trafficked in Canada.
“These measures mean that the government will begin to treat trafficked persons, often women and children, as victims of a crime, rather than as people who should be detained and deported,” said Elizabeth McWeeny, President. “Like many other organizations, the CCR has been calling for this policy change for several years – we are very pleased that Minister Solberg has responded to this call.”
Currently, the only provision in immigration law specifically related to trafficked persons makes them more likely to be detained. In contrast, the new measure treats people as victims of a crime, rather than as criminals.
The announcement today marks what can only be the first step in efforts to ensure that trafficked persons in Canada receive fair and humane treatment. There remains considerable work to be done in ensuring that trafficked persons on Temporary Resident Permits have access to all necessary services, such as social assistance. There is also a need to develop long-term protection measures for those people for whom staying in Canada is the best option, as well as ensure appropriate awareness-raising, training and coordination of all relevant actors, including various levels of government, police forces, NGOs and service providers. The CCR looks forward to working with the government on these next steps.
A backgrounder on trafficking issues prepared by the CCR in November 2004 is available at: http://www.ccrweb.ca/traffbackgrounder.html.
Further information can be found at the CCR site, www.trafficking.ca.
Contact:Janet Dench, Executive Director, (514) 277-7223 (ext. 2)