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How Canada's Legislation has Influenced Trafficking Rates By Jasmeen Singh

In this article, I will discuss the various pieces of legislation and funding that the government has dedicated towards the fight against human trafficking. In Canada, human trafficking is considered against the law. Human trafficking is classified as an offence under Canada’s criminal and immigration laws. Since 2002, human trafficking has been a federal immigration offence in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). Specifically, section 18 of the IRPA states that “it is against the law to recruit or bring someone to Canada against their will by utilizing threats, force, and fraud”(Public Safety Canada).

Since 2005, human trafficking has been a crime under section 279.01 of the Criminal Code of Canada. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, it states that “every person who recruits, transports, transfers, receives, holds, conceals, or exercises control, direction, or influence over the movements of a person, for the purpose of exploiting them is guilty of an indictable offence” (Public Safety Canada). These pieces of legislation are essential stepping stones in lowering trafficking rates in Canada. The United Nations suggests that “there are relatively low numbers of human trafficking convictions in certain countries that do not have specific legislation against human trafficking; hence, it is key for a country to impose the required legislation” (Public Safety Canada).

Furthermore, in 2019, the Government of Canada launched the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, which is a five-year plan dedicated to address human trafficking in Canada. This plan primarily focuses on the following focal points, “protecting victims and potential victims, improving the capacity to identify human trafficking cases and prosecute criminals, preventing human trafficking in Canada and internationally, collaborating with other provinces and territories, and empowering victims and survivors that have gone through human trafficking” (Public Safety Canada).

Moving forward, It is also very important to note the amount of money that the government dedicates to funding various programs and services towards the fight against human trafficking. In 2018, the Government of Canada decided to invest 14.51 million dollars over five years and an additional $2.89 million yearly to initiate the Human Trafficking Hotline. This hotline is dedicated to “connecting victims and survivors of human trafficking to services that they need such as local law enforcement, emergency shelters, and trauma-informed services” (Public Safety Canada).

Moreover, approximately “two-thirds of police-reported human trafficking cases in Canada occur in Ontario” (Ontario Government). The Ontario government has launched various initiatives to ensure that human trafficking rates decrease. Some examples of the initiatives include community-focused anti-human trafficking services designed for and by Indigenous people, building awareness throughout the school curriculum in Ontario schools, and teaching how to identity and support survivors of human trafficking (Ontario Government).

Lastly, the Government of Canada has also partnered up with the Royal Canadian Mountain Police (RCMP) by creating a Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre (HTNCC), which is considered to be a key role in disrupting various criminal organizations and individuals that are involved in human trafficking. “The Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre is a focal point in spreading awareness on a national level, developing tools and the necessary training to facilitate investigations, and anti-trafficking initiatives” (Public Safety Canada).

According to research done by the Canadian Government, “human trafficking incidents in Canada have increased from 2009; however, this increase may indicate the tremendous efforts and resources that the Government of Canada instils towards the thorough investigation of these offences “ (Province of British Columbia). Police services have become better equipped to detect, report, and investigate human trafficking cases which is an essential step in tackling human trafficking.

Hopefully, this article provided you with the insight of the dedication of the Government of Canada to combat human trafficking. From my perspective, after completing research, I have reached the conclusion that the Government of Canada has effectively found ways to detect human trafficking incidents; however, the prevention of these incidents still requires further advancement and minority groups must be taken into special consideration.

MLA Citations

“Human Trafficking in Ontario .” Ontario Government Accessed 21 August 2020.

“National Strategy To Combat Human Trafficking 2019-2024.” Public Safety Canada / Sécurité Publique Canada, 18 Sept. 2019, Accessed 21 August 2020.

“The Prevalence of Human Trafficking in Canada.” Province of British Columbia, 28 Jan. 2019, Accessed 21 August 2020.

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