Focus On

Ottawa announces new national strategy to fight human trafficking

Thursday, September 05, 2019 @ 9:37 AM | By John Chunn

In an effort to battle human trafficking, the federal government in its 2018 budget allocated $14.51 million over five years and $2.89 million per year ongoing for the new Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline for victims and survivors in need of services and support.

On Sept. 4, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale, announced the government’s new National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking supported by a further financial commitment of $57.22 million over five years and then $10.28 million a year ongoing. According to Public Safety Canada’s press release, the new strategy takes a whole-of-government approach that will:

  • empower victims and survivors to regain self-confidence and control over their lives;
  • prevent more of these crimes from taking place;
  • better protect those who are most vulnerable to trafficking;
  • prosecute human traffickers; and
  • embrace partnerships with provinces and territories and other organizations to maximize the government’s impact.

To support this work, Goodale has appointed a new special adviser on human trafficking, retired RCMP assistant commissioner and member of the Mohawks of Kanesatake Shirley Cuillierrier. Cuillierrier will offer recommendations to the government on its efforts to combat human trafficking and bring awareness domestically and internationally.

The additional funding announced will be used across government as follows:

  • support the development of a national case management standard, public awareness activities, training tools, new contribution funding for support services, establishing an Advisory Committee and appointing a special adviser;
  • Canada Border Services Agency to assess immigration enforcement processes and to establish a dedicated team of border officials to strengthen strategies;
  • Women and Gender Equality Canada to develop and deliver prevention programs aimed at vulnerable populations;
  • Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to better detect and respond to suspected cases;
  • Public Services and Procurement Canada to enhance federal procurement supply chains with the goal of ensuring that they are free from human trafficking and labour exploitation; and
  • Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada to enhance Project PROTECT and increase capacity to produce financial intelligence on money laundering.

“Human trafficking is a despicable crime that disproportionately affects women, girls and the marginalized,” said Goodale. “We must put an end to human trafficking, support victims and survivors of this devastating crime and bring its perpetrators to justice. Backed by $75 million in additional investments, the new National Strategy strengthens Canada’s ability to fight this abhorrent attack on basic human rights and dignity.”

“I have seen the distressing consequences of human trafficking first-hand through my work and as a community advocate,” said Cuillierrier. “I am very grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the government’s efforts to combat human trafficking, in particular as it relates to empowering victims, and I look forward to working with likeminded stakeholders.”