Hidden in Plain Sight: Human Trafficking in Canada

Page 1

HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT CHAPTER: HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN CANADA


HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT CHAPTER: HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN CANADA

NATIONAL

HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS DAY

FEBRUARY 22

2


CONTENTS Overview/Introduction to the practice in Canada ............................................................. 4 Forms of Human Trafficking.......................................................................................................5 Sexual Exploitation.......................................................................................................................... 5 Forced Labour Trafficking.............................................................................................................. 5

Statistics................................................................................................................................ 6 Government Legislation ...................................................................................................... 8

Canadian Legislation ..................................................................................................................8

Current Government Efforts.............................................................................................. 10 NGO Involvement................................................................................................................ 11 Endnotes & Bibliography.................................................................................................... 12

3

3


OVERVIEW/INTRODUCTION TO THE PRACTICE IN CANADA Human trafficking is a phenomenon occurring all over the globe. Depending on the geographical area there are many different reasons for this particular crime to occur. The majority of victims of trafficking and child labour are from developing countries. However, the prevalence of human trafficking in Canada is increasing significantly every day, with an estimated 1,500 annual cases. Men, women and children are all victims. Yet the scope of human trafficking both in Canada and internationally is uncertain due to several factors including: the obscurity of the crime, the impotence of victims to report to law enforcement officials, and the struggle to identify victims that have had their identification documents taken away from them1. In Canada, the human trafficking industry has crossed a multi-billion dollar threshold and continues to threaten women across the country. The latest Juristat on Trafficking of Persons in Canada (July 2017, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics) indicates that between 2009 and 2016, 95 per cent of human trafficking victims in Canada were female, 70 per cent were women under the age of 25, and one quarter were under 18 (25 per cent)2. Those who are susceptible to being trafficked include: · Indigenous women and girls; migrants and new immigrants; LGBTQ2 persons; persons living with disabilities; children in the child welfare system; at-risk youth; those who are socially or economically disadvantaged; and · Migrant workers who may be especially vulnerable to exploitation and abuse due to language barriers, working in isolated/remote areas, lack of access to facilities and support, and lack of access to accurate information about their rights3. Furthermore, the prevalence of women being targeted is significantly higher than it is for men. One of the reasons for this phenomenon is due to the strategic methods used toward women by abusers. Det. Const. Peter Brady, a member of the Toronto Police Human Trafficking Enforcement Team, explains that it is difficult to prove human trafficking cases because traffickers develop a peculiar relationship with the victims.

4

“These accused are really good at what they do. They prey on vulnerable girls — girls that come from bad backgrounds, low self-esteem — and then they befriend them, promise them condos, money, clothes. They promise them protection.”4

This type of behaviour toward young vulnerable women may create a form of attachment to the enablers. In these relationships, once the trafficker has established their target, the victims will be showered with gifts to gain their trust. This establishes a bond of dependency toward the trafficker on the part of the victim. Any signs of uncooperative behaviour will bring forth threats and coercion from the trafficker to prevent their victims from coming forward to law enforcement. In some instances, if any allegations are made, the victims will be very reluctant to report all the information to the police. Toronto, the main entertainment district of the Greater Toronto Area, is a densely populated city that attracts domestic and international travellers, making it a prime location for perpetrators to target individuals. Thirty-year-old Tyrone Burton was convicted of Toronto’s first human trafficking offense. Burton was found guilty of several prostitution charges and was arrested in December 2012. He had forced two young women aged 19 and 21 into prostitution, confiscated their identification documents and kept their entire earnings to himself before they managed to escape and report him to law enforcement. Cases like this are not only common within the GTA, but are occurring all across the country on a daily basis.


Forms of Human Trafficking Human trafficking can take many forms, with the two most frequent being sexual exploitation and forced labour. Between April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, police forces in Canada charged 78 individuals in 47 trafficking in persons cases. In addition, 295 prosecutions continued (or remain in process), of which 285 are related to sex trafficking and 10 related to labour5.

Sexual Exploitation As previously mentioned, the sexual exploitation of women and children is one of the most profitable forms of human trafficking in the world, and is the most common form in Canada today. In fact, the majority of forced sexual exploitation cases in Canada are reported in the densely populated GTA6. The Imani Nakpangi case was Canada’s first conviction for human trafficking, and is a prime example of sexual exploitation. This case study involved several young women who were controlled and sexually exploited by Nakpangi in the GTA. One victim was a 15-year-old homeless girl who was sexually exploited through Craigslist. Nakpangi had sold the young girl for sex until she was 18 and had kept a total of $360,000 in earnings. According to Benjamin Perrin, an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia, the young girl participated in sexual encounters without her consent and was physically assaulted and harassed when she tried to escape7. These tactics are very common in situations of sexual exploitation of women throughout the GTA and Canada as a whole. The extreme measures taken by the exploiters when the victims refuse to cooperate is just a glimpse of what these women experience. Oftentimes perpetrators will go one step further and threaten the safety of family members to get their way and get the job done.

Forced Labour Trafficking Forced labour exploitation is a form of human trafficking that is prevalent throughout Canada. Labour trafficking is when individuals are forced and coerced into performing labour and services8. It affects migrant workers, particularly boys and men, who have migrated to Canada under the low-skilled temporary visa stream of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP)9. These migrants are eligible to work in restaurants, hotels, agriculture, food preparation, construction, manufacturing or domestic work10. Along with these low-skilled workers, caregiving positions are especially susceptible to experiencing an extensive range of abuse including verbal, physical and sexual11. One specific example of forced labour exploitation is demonstrated in the Domotor case, which was the biggest human trafficking case in Canada12. This case included 11 family members who were convicted of mobilizing men from their native country of Hungary to work in Hamilton, Ontario. The victims – 19 in total – were transported from Roma to Canada and were coerced to work without pay for the Domotor family’s construction company. The Domotors paid for the victims’ flights, made them claim refugee status and signed them up for welfare. Their welfare money and identification documents were confiscated by the traffickers. They were kept in basements and fed scraps, all while having threats spewed at them daily against themselves and their families back home. These are just a few examples of how victims of sex exploitation and forced labour have been exposed to detrimental conditions and are unable to escape.

5


Statistics In Canada, information on human trafficking convictions and identified cases is collected and published by the Canadian government. These statistics are collected in a variety of ways including incidents reported by police, convictions, and the issuance of temporary resident permits (TRPs) for suspected trafficking victims13. Since 2009, there have been a total of 1,708 reported cases of human trafficking by the police. As of November 2017, The Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre (HTNCC) has identified 455 human trafficking cases since 2005 in which human trafficking-specific charges were laid.

Of these 455 cases, 433 were domestic and 22 were international. Domestic cases include Canadians or foreign individuals being exploited within Canada, with the majority of the cases pertaining to sexual exploitation. The remaining 22 cases were international trafficking cases where victims were trafficked outside of Canada, primarily for the purpose of modern slavery. So far, 118 cases have resulted in human trafficking-specific and/or related convictions, but 296 cases remain before the court with approximately 506 accused and 420 victims14. Along with police-reported cases, 271 TRPs have been provided to victims by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) over the past five years. Due to its covert existence, the degree to which human trafficking in Canada is recorded is limited. The execution of this crime usually takes place with secrecy, which puts victims and witnesses in vulnerable situations. According to data collected from frontline service providers and organizations dealing with victims directly, most cases are never reported to any law enforcement agency due to threats from traffickers, fear, shame, language barriers and mistrust of authorities15. Because of these limitations, the extent of human trafficking in Canada is substantially underestimated. According to Statistics Canada, 92 per cent of human trafficking victims are familiar with their trafficker’s identity. Thirty-two per cent of traffickers have a criminal, business or other relationship with the victim, 31 per cent are friends or acquaintances, 28 per cent are spouses, boyfriend/girlfriends or intimate partners, and 8 per cent are strangers16. The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS), which analyzes police-reported incidents of human trafficking in Canada, reports that Ontario accounted for more than two-thirds of reported human trafficking incidents between 2009 and 2016. During the same time period, Quebec accounted for 13 per cent of the total reports of human trafficking, with Alberta and Nova Scotia following with 8 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively17.

6


Police-Reported Human Trafficking Violations, by Province & Territory, 2009 to 2016

Ontario Quebec Alberta Nova Scotia British Columbia Other Provinces & Territories Combined

different regions, the lack of public awareness campaigns, provincial policies and victim assistance programs may influence victims’ reluctance to come forward.

Chart 1: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (Trend Database)18

The regional differences in the prevalence of human trafficking activity can be greatly influenced by several factors. One factor includes the city's tourism scale. Higher-tourism cities draw more foreign tourists and become a hotspot for sources of trafficking. Another factor is the lack of human trafficking detection that occurs within a region. Since sexual exploitation can be detected by several training programs existing in

While incidents of human trafficking in Nova Scotia accounted for 6 per cent of the incidents reported nationally over the eightyear period, the provincial government released a statement indicating Nova Scotia had the highest rate of human trafficking incidents in Canada (with 2.1 victims for every 100,000 people)19.

Human Trafficking Victims in Canada, by Age Group, 2009 to 2016 50 45 40

Percent

35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0

Less than 18

18 - 24

25 - 34

35 - 44

45 - 54

55 and older

Age group (years)

Chart 2: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (Trend Database)20

The data collected represents the difference in age groups among human trafficking victims between 2009 and 2016. The highest percentage of victims (45 per cent) were between 18-24 years of age, and the second highest, at 27 per cent, were less than 18 years old. These statistics portray the popular age range target for human trafficking victims.

7


Government Legislation Canada’s criminal law forbids trafficking in persons for any reason, regardless of whether the trafficking takes place solely within Canada or if it concerns bringing people into Canada. The Criminal Code includes six specific human trafficking offences, including trafficking in adults, child trafficking, benefitting from human trafficking, and withholding or damaging identity documents to advance this crime21. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act also comprises of a human trafficking-specific offence that has penalties as high as life imprisonment in specific instances.

Canadian Legislation Six offences in the Criminal Code specifically address human trafficking:

a.

Trafficking in Persons (section 279.01) which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a mandatory minimum penalty of 5 years where the offence involved kidnapping, aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault or death, and a maximum penalty of 14 years and a mandatory minimum penalty of 4 years in all other cases;

b.

Trafficking of a person under the age of eighteen years (section 279.011) which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a mandatory minimum penalty of 6 years where the offence involved kidnapping, aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault or death, and a maximum penalty of 14 years and a mandatory minimum penalty of 5 years in all other cases;

c.

Receiving a Financial or Other Material Benefit for the purpose of committing or facilitating trafficking in persons - Adult Victim (subsection 279.02(1)), which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment if prosecuted by indictment;

d.

Receiving a Financial or Other Material Benefit for the purpose of committing or facilitating trafficking in persons - Child Victim (subsection 279.02(2)), which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment and a mandatory minimum penalty of 2 years;

e.

Withholding or Destroying a Person's Identity Documents (for example, a passport) for the purpose of committing or facilitating trafficking of that person - Adult Victim (subsection 279.03(1)), which carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment if prosecuted by indictment; and,

f.

Withholding or Destroying a Person's Identity Documents (for example, a passport) for the purpose of committing or facilitating trafficking of that person - Child Victim (subsection 279.03(2)), which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a mandatory minimum penalty of 1 year.

8


Section 118 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA): No person shall knowingly organize the coming into Canada of one or more persons by means of abduction, fraud, deception or use/threat of force or coercion. Canada’s RCMP Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre (HTNCC) enables law enforcement to combat individuals and criminal organizations entangled in human trafficking. The HTNCC works on developing tools, protocols and guidelines to facilitate human trafficking investigations and coordinate national awareness, training and anti-trafficking initiatives22. The centre’s initiative, I’m Not for Sale, is an award-winning human trafficking campaign that educates parents, teachers and youth.

The Canadian government has also taken action toward better protection for temporary foreign workers. Beginning in 201819, Canada invested $3.4 million over two years to create a migrant worker support network for temporary foreign workers dealing with possible mistreatment or abuse24. The network focuses on basic issues migrant workers are faced with and establishes methods to provide better support, protection and empowerment.

The Canadian government also funds organizations that provide crucial assistance and services to victims and survivors through various federal grant and contribution funding programs.

Another step taken by the federal government includes offering funding to non-profit organizations that assist employers in meeting program requirements and aiding migrant workers in exercising their rights. Additionally, the Canadian government provides support to foreign victims of human trafficking; it has issued 146 temporary resident permits to victims and their dependants25.

For example, in 2018, the government increased funding available through the federal Victims Fund for human trafficking-related projects from $500,000 annually to $1 million, beginning in 2019-20. Since the start of the National Action Plan (NAP) to Combat Human Trafficking in 2012, more than $6.1 million has been allocated to human trafficking projects through the federal Victims Fund. In 2018-2019 alone, a total of 24 projects to address human trafficking were supported through this program23. Furthermore, the federal government’s Contribution Program to Combat Serious and Organized Crime provides funding to projects that raise youth awareness on how traffickers recruit and groom victims; provide life skills training for victims; offer training and awareness on labour exploitation; and establish survivor housing response models. The federal government is taking several additional steps to fight human trafficking including arranging training for government officals, border officials, consulate officials and law enforcement; creating public awareness campaigns to educate Canadians and at-risk populations of trafficking and signs to be aware of; and offering funding to organizations that aim to help victims and survivors gain access to the support services they require.

Canada increased the response to human trafficking by working with the private sector through initiatives such as PROTECT that concentrate on sexual exploitation and the money laundering involved with the crime. The project has been able to provide over 500 disclosures of actionable financial intelligence to Canada’s municipal, provincial and federal police forces in support of their human trafficking investigations26. Through this, investigators are able to recognize felons and protect victims. PROTECT is a prime example of how government support for the private sector in tackling human trafficking can be successful. In 2012, the Government of Canada put in motion the NAP that reinforced all federal activities into one exhaustive plan. Although the NAP expired in 2016, the 2016-2017 horizontal evaluation of the program concluded that human trafficking still exists. However, Canada has continued to push efforts to inhibit human trafficking, support victims and at-risk persons, and ensure offenders are convicted27.

9


Current Government Efforts Currently, there is a National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking that was introduced on September 4, 2019. There are 200 stakeholders, including the Government of Canada, law enforcement, provinces and territories, Indigenous representatives, sex worker organizations and private sectors. The aim is to come together to inform the government’s approach to combat and prevent human trafficking in Canada28. This new and improved initiative is federally funded, with a total of $57.22 million being invested over the next five years, starting in 2019-20. In addition, $10.28 million is being contributed annually. This national strategy offers a comprehensive and organized structure to direct actions by the Government of Canada to empower and support victims and survivors29. The United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons is a four-pillared approach that was ratified by Canada and serves as a guide for this strategy.

Prevent these crimes from occurring, and focus on raising awareness and research

Protect individuals who are victims of trafficking, and to work with the province and territories to provide services sensitive to the victims of trafficking

Prosecute any perpetrators and to improve the responses of the criminal justice system to this crime

Form both domestic and international partnerships to strengthen relationships with any stakeholders30

10


NGO Involvement The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking Hotline On May 29, 2019, The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking (CCTEHT) — a Canadian non-governmental organization — launched the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline. This service offers a variety of resources for both human trafficking victims and survivors to ensure security through law enforcement, emergency shelters, transition housing, long-term supports, counsellors and a range of other trauma-informed services31. This multilingual hotline service is offered 24 hours a day and 7 days a week all year round. The progress observed in this project may support future efforts to assist law enforcement in developing better knowledge to target and prevent human trafficking, as well as eliminate any loopholes.

11


ENDNOTES 1

Public Safety Canada, “Human Trafficking.”

17

“National Strategy To Combat Human Trafficking 2019-2024.”

2

Public Safety Canada, “The Way Forward to End Human Trafficking.”

18

“National Strategy To Combat Human Trafficking 2019-2024.”

3

Public Safety Canada, “Human Trafficking.”

19

Lopez-Martinez, “Sex trafficking still a prevalent issue across Canada

4

Gillis, “Human trafficking Conviction, a first for Toronto.”

police say.”

5

Public Safety Canada, “The Way Forward to End Human Trafficking.”

20

“National Strategy To Combat Human Trafficking 2019-2024.”

6

Canada

21

Public Safety Canada, “ The Way Forward to End Human Trafficking."

7

Perrin, “First Conviction for Human Trafficking Video Transcript.”

22

Public Safety Canada, “The Way Forward to End Human Trafficking.”

8

“Labour Trafficking.”

23

Public Safety Canada, “ The Way Forward to End Human Trafficking.”

9

Canada

24

Public Safety Canada, “The Way Forward to End Human Trafficking.”

10

Canada

25

Public Safety Canada, “The Way Forward to End Human Trafficking.”

11

Canada

26

Public Safety Canada, “The Way Forward to End Human Trafficking.”

12

“Domotor Case.”

27

Public Safety Canada, “Human Trafficking.”

13

Public Safety Canada, “The Way Forward to End Human Trafficking.”

28

Public Safety Canada, “Human Trafficking.”

14

Public Safety Canada, “The Way Forward to End Human Trafficking.”

29

Public Safety Canada, “Human Trafficking.”

15

Public Safety Canada, “The Way Forward to End Human Trafficking.”

30

“National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.”

16

“Police-reported human trafficking in Canada, 2009 to 2018.”

31

Public Safety Canada, “Human Trafficking."

BIBLIOGRAPHY Public Safety Canada. “Human Trafficking.” Accessed July 16, 2020. https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/cntrng-crm/hmn-trffckng/index-en.aspx Public Safety Canada. “The Way Forward to End Human Trafficking.” Accessed July 18, 2020. https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/wy-frwrd-nd-hmn-trffckng-ppr/index-en.aspx Gillis, Wendy. “Human trafficking conviction a first for Toronto.” The Star. May 27, 2014. Accessed on July 18, 2020. https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2014/05/27/human_trafficking_conviction_a_first_for_toronto.html “Canada”. Global Slavery Index. Accessed July 20, 2020. https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/2018/findings/country-studies/canada/#footnote:18 Perrin, Benjamin. “First Conviction for Human Trafficking Video Transcript.” British Columbia. Accessed on July 20, 2020. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/criminal-justice/victims-of-crime/human-trafficking/human-trafficking-training/module-2/ case-study-2/video-transcript “Labour Trafficking.” National Human Trafficking Hotline. Accessed on July 22, 2020. https://humantraffickinghotline.org/type-trafficking/labor-trafficking “Domotor Case.” PACT-Ottawa. Accessed on July 23, 2020. https://www.pact-ottawa.org/domotor-case.html “Police-reported human trafficking in Canada, 2009 to 2018.” Statistics Canada. Accessed on July 23, 2020. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-627-m/11-627-m2020025-eng.htm “National Strategy To Combat Human Trafficking 2019-2024.” Public Safety Canada. Accessed on July 24, 2020. https://www.publicsafety. gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/2019-ntnl-strtgy-hmnn-trffc/index-en.aspx#fn07-rf Lopez-Martinez, Melissa. “Sex trafficking still a prevalent issue across Canada, police say.” CTV News. February 20, 2020. Accessed on July 27, 2020. https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/sex-trafficking-still-a-prevalent-issue-across-canada-advocates-and-police-say-1.4820944 “National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.” Public Safety Canada. Accessed on July 28, 2020. https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/ntnl-ctn-pln-cmbt/index-en.aspx#toc-01.3

12


Chart 1:

Chart 2:

The Criminal Code offences which comprise the category of human trafficking in the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey include: trafficking in persons (s.279.01); trafficking in persons under 18 (s. 279.011); material benefit (s. 279.02(1)); material benefit from trafficking of persons under 18 years of age (s.279.02(2)); withholding or destroying documents (s. 279.03(1)); and withholding or destroying documents to facilitate trafficking of persons under 18 years of age (s.279.03(2)). In addition, an offence under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act which targets international cross-border trafficking (s. 118) is included. This analysis is based on data from the Incident-based Uniform Crime Survey Trend Database (2009 to 2016) which covers 99% of the population in Canada. In order to support more detailed analysis on human trafficking, data have been pooled from 2009 to 2016.

The Criminal Code offences which comprise the category of human trafficking in the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey include: trafficking in persons (s. 279.01); trafficking in persons under 18 (s. 279.011); material benefit (s. 279.02(1)); material benefit from trafficking of persons under 18 years of age (s. 279.02(2)); withholding or destroying documents (s. 279.03(1)); and withholding or destroying documents to facilitate trafficking of persons under 18 years of age (s. 279.03(2)). In addition, an offence under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act which targets international cross-border trafficking (s.118) is included. This analysis is based on aggregate data, and counts are based on the most serious violation in the incident. Rates are calculated on the basis of a 100,000 population. Populations are based upon July 1st estimates from Statistics Canada, Demography Division.

SPECIAL THANKS TO Khadeja Khan, Researcher & Writer Sanam Islam, Editor

13


3501 Mainway Burlington, ON L7M 1A9 info@islamicrelief.ca 1-855-377-4673 (HOPE)


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.