KAWARTHA LAKES-Human traffickers are reaping large profits across Canada using defined transportation corridors in Canada to exploit and control their victims, according to a new report released by The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking.
Human Trafficking is defined as recruiting, transporting, transferring, receiving, holding, concealing or harbouring a person, or exercising control direction or influence over the movements of a person, to exploit them or to assist in facilitating their exploitation according to the Criminal Code of Canada.
Human Trafficking Corridors in Canada, is a first-ever study of human trafficking transportation corridors in the country, notes that human traffickers benefit from primary transportation routes across the country to maximize profit within commercial sex markets and to avoid being caught by law enforcement and potentially imprisoned. These routes, including Peterborough – identified by law enforcement, frontline service delivery agencies and the media – also allow human traffickers to exert control over victims and ensure that the victim has limited opportunities for escaping or evading their trafficker.
Constant movement between cities and provinces keeps victims of human trafficking confused, isolated and dependent on their traffickers. It also makes it easier for traffickers to avoid detection by law enforcement, which is what makes it such a low risk, high reward crime. “The shorter amount of time spent in each city, the more beneficial it is for the traffickers. It takes time for police to set up an investigation. If they are only in town for a couple of days, it’s harder to track,” said one law enforcement respondent.
The study also found that almost half of the victims and survivors of human trafficking came from another city within the same province. Facing stigma, challenges navigating services, addictions, lack of appropriate housing/shelter, lack of emergency services, and lack of trust in the system while accessing services, victims and survivors of human trafficking face “… multiple layers of trauma and abuse. They need an entire wrap around model – dental, tattoo cover up, treatment for addiction, medical care. One [survivor] wanted to change their hair colour to be less recognizable,” explained a service provider respondent.
“Human trafficking exists in every community in Canada with human traffickers having only one goal: to generate as much revenue as possible. To do this, they rob survivors of their basic human rights,” said Julia Drydyk, Executive Director, The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking. “We implore all levels of government to commit to a pan-Canadian, inter-jurisdictional approach to end human trafficking by funding services in perpetuity. We must ensure that programs and services provide exceptional, meaningful and effective supports to victims and survivors.”
The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking is a national charity dedicated to ending all types of human trafficking in Canada working with like-minded stakeholders and organizations, including non-profits, corporations, governments and survivors/victims of human trafficking, to advance best practices, eliminate duplicate efforts across Canada, and enable cross-sectoral coordination by providing access to networks and specialized skills.
The Ontario government announced the Combatting Human Trafficking Act, new legislation and amendments to existing legislation to build upon the province’s $307 million Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy. This proposed legislation reinforces Ontario’s commitment to fighting human trafficking and demonstrates continued leadership in responding to this pervasive crime.
The proposed changes include two new acts – the Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy Act, 2021 and the Accommodation Sector Registration of Guests Act, 2021 – as well as amendments to the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 and the Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking Act, 2017. Together, the proposed changes would support the government’s response to human trafficking by:
- Supporting a long-term provincial response to human trafficking and emphasizing that all Ontarians have a role to play in combatting human trafficking;
- Strengthening the ability of children’s aid societies and law enforcement to protect exploited children;
- Supporting more survivors and the people who support them in obtaining restraining orders against traffickers, with specific consideration for Indigenous survivors;
- Increasing the government’s ability to collect non-personal data to better understand the impact of the strategy and respond to human trafficking;
- Providing law enforcement with more tools to locate victims and charge traffickers by:
- Increasing penalties for traffickers who interfere with a child in the care of a children’s aid society;
- Clarifying how and when police services can access information from hotel guest registries to help deter trafficking and identify and locate victims while establishing regulation-making authority to include other types of accommodation providers.
- Requiring companies that advertise sexual services to have a dedicated contact to support investigations into suspected human trafficking.
“Our government voiced its commitment to tackling human trafficking early on in our mandate and we worked with a wide spectrum of stakeholders to establish a comprehensive $307 million Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “These legislative changes, if passed, will reinforce the strategy’s key objectives of supporting survivors, protecting children and youth, raising awareness among parents and community partners as well as dismantling criminal networks.”
Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-833-900-1010, a 24/7, multilingual access to a safe and confidential space to ask for help and connect to services.