Harper Announces Further Actions To Combat Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is a heinous crime that involves exercising control over another human being and forcing them to perform degrading, dehumanizing and dangerous work. In Canada, its victims are both Canadians and newcomers and it takes the form of both sexual exploitation and forced labour. It is often referred to as a form of “modern slavery”.
Consistent with our commitment to keeping Canada’s streets and communities safe, the Conservative government has a strong record in the global fight against human trafficking.
Canada is a world leader in taking action against human trafficking. In 2012, the Conservative government launched the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. The plan, with support from 18 federal departments, includes dedicated funding and training, an integrated law enforcement team and support for victims.
According to the RCMP, as of January 2015 there have been 85 completed human trafficking cases where convictions have been secured and 151 individuals convicted of human trafficking offences.
In addition to the National Action Plan, the Harper government has taken a number of steps to protect vulnerable people from exploitation, including raising the age of consent from 14 to 16 (C-2), establishing mandatory jail time for trafficking in children (C-268) and passing legislation to restrict the sex trade and discourage prostitution (C-36).
Today, Prime Minister Harper announced that a re-elected government will take a number of steps to support victims of human trafficking and target criminals engaged in human trafficking:
- To build on the momentum of the past five years, the government will invest $20 million to renew the Human Trafficking Action Plan for an additional 5 years.
- To facilitate coordination between national and local law enforcement officials, the government will invest $8 million annually for five years to establish integrated Royal Canadian Mounted Police human trafficking teams in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, and Winnipeg.
- To help individuals to reintegrate back into society, the government will double current funding to help human trafficking victims.
- To coincide with the anniversary of the unanimous decision of Parliament to condemn all forms of human trafficking and slavery on February 22, 2007, the government will establish February 22 as the National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
The Liberals and NDP refuse to acknowledge the damage that human trafficking is inflicting in neighbourhoods across the country.
Justin Trudeau voted against our legislation to criminalize the activities of pimps and johns. Justin doesn’t understand that prostitution is not a lifestyle choice, but in almost all cases is the result of human trafficking and/or sexual exploitation, often by organized criminals.
Thomas Mulcair and the NDP have talked about decriminalizing prostitution. Mulcair and the NDP support a dangerously ideological criminal justice policy that puts the so-called “rights” of criminals ahead of the rights of innocent victims, and would make our communities less safe.
Only our Conservative Party will make it a priority to stand up for victims and crack down on the scourge of human trafficking.