Canada's Anti-Human Trafficking Newsletter - Issue 5, February 2014

Feature Organization

Walk With Me

Established by a survivor of human trafficking, Walk With Me was created with a commitment to ensuring that survivors have a place in providing first response care to victims of human trafficking and with the recognition that survivors should have a voice in developing a coordinated community response that can meet immediate crisis and longer term needs of trafficked victims.

Since its inception in 2009, Walk With Me has been working closely with various police services and has been able to provide unique services and supports to many victims of human trafficking in Ontario and all across Canada.

Walk With Me’s vision statement is ‘Transforming the lives of the victims of human trafficking while eradicating slavery’.

For more information on Walk With Me and its work, please go to: http://www.walk-with-me.org/home.html.

Training & Events

Our Circle to Protect Sacred Lives Program

As part of its ongoing national commitment to end human trafficking of women and girls for the purpose of sexual exploitation in Canada, the Canadian Women’s Foundation is funding Our Circle to Protect Sacred Lives, a ground-breaking program running in Manitoba and Northwestern British Columbia (BC).

Our Circle to Protect Sacred Lives partners urban-based community organizations with rural, isolated or remote First Nation communities, and other community based organizations for a three-day training session to help each community build knowledge, a community-based anti-trafficking plan, and a strong sustainable network for information sharing, training and partnerships.

Training participants will learn about:

  •  the impact of human trafficking on the lives of women and girls;
  •  current recruitment, luring and control tactics traffickers use (especially in their local and regional areas);
  •  community planning techniques to help girls and  women stay safe in their communities and when they travel to urban areas; and
  •  establishing a network model for on-going   communication, support and sharing information.

The program model builds on community knowledge and strengths, and is specifically designed to honour the values and diversity of First Nation communities in which it operates. For example, community planning techniques involve Elders as wisdom keepers, Chief and Council for leadership, community members as helpers, and the use of culture, language and the land for healing. 

The Manitoba program, run by the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, will involve 20 First Nation communities across the province. The BC program, run by Nisga First Nation, will involve five communities (four First Nation and one non-First Nation community) from the Nass Valley in BC.

The Canadian Women’s Foundation grant was matched by both the Province of Manitoba Family Services and the BC Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons (BC OCTIP).
This funding is part of a broader $2 million strategy the Canadian Women’s Foundation is rolling out over the next year. The money will be used to fund programs that help women and girls escape sexual exploitation and rebuild their lives, conduct research, and bring together experts, survivors and community leaders in a Task Force on Trafficking of Women and Girls in Canada.

To learn more about how the Canadian Women’s Foundation is working to end human trafficking, please visit: www.canadianwomen.org/trafficking .

Human Trafficking Forum and Networking Opportunities in Toronto, Ontario.

This winter Toronto will host a Forum highlighting both national and local information about human trafficking and it’s most common endpoint of prostitution. The Forum will feature the stories of formerly exploited women; in Toronto, Katarina MacLeod will relate her story.

The Forum is presented by Defend Dignity and The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. In addition to hearing from the above-mentioned speaker, attendees will also learn about the legal framework of Nordic law that Canada could potentially use to effectively combat human trafficking. As well, there will be opportunities to network with representatives from local front-line organizations working on behalf of exploited people.

The Forum will take place in Toronto at People’s Church (374 Sheppard Avenue East) on Saturday, March 29, 2014.

Forums also took place in Abbotsford, BC on Sunday, January 26, 2014 and in Grande Prairie, Alberta on Saturday, February 22, 2014.

Please go to www.defenddignity.ca for more information and to find out about other upcoming events. 

New CCR resource: Starter Toolkit for Awareness-Raising on Trafficking in Persons

The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) has published a Starter Toolkit intended for anyone wishing to start or enhance existing outreach and awareness-raising activities on trafficking in persons in their own communities, organizations and sectors.

The toolkit was developed by the CCR in collaboration with anti-trafficking groups across Canada, and has been supported with a grant from the Canadian Women's Foundation.

The toolkit is available online in English and French: ccrweb.ca/en/trafficking-starter-kit.

The CCR hopes to help groups and individuals learn from each other, build from tools that have already been developed and avoid duplicating work.

For more information on the CCR Campaign on Protecting Trafficked Persons in Canada, please visit: trafficking.ca.

Government of Canada News

National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking – Annual Report on Progress (2012-2013) Released!

On December 9, 2013, the Minister of Public Safety Canada (PS) announced the release of the first annual report on progress on the implementation of commitments under the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking (June 2012). The report outlines progress on the National Action Plan (June 2012 –March 2013) and the Government’s way forward to address this crime.

To access the report, please go to: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/2013-ntnl-ctn-pln-cmbt-hmn/index-eng.aspx.

Launch of Special RCMP Enforcement Team to Combat Human Trafficking in Montreal, Quebec

On December 9, 2013, the Minister of PS announced the launch of a dedicated Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) enforcement team to combat human trafficking. A key commitment under the National Action Plan, the enforcement team is located in Montreal, Quebec and will work closely with law enforcement partners in the province to combat human trafficking in Canada.

To read the news release, please go to: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/nws/nws-rlss/2013/20131209-eng.aspx.

Human Trafficking Stakeholder Consultations – National Summary Report (2012-2013) Released!

Following the human trafficking stakeholder consultations that took place in fall 2012 and spring 2013, PS prepared a national summary report outlining the national and regional key themes and findings related to current and emerging trends; efforts and initiatives, challenges, barriers and gaps; and, future areas of focus. The information flowing out of these consultations is being used to inform government priorities as Canada seeks to build on current efforts to address and combat human trafficking in all its forms.

To access the report, please go to:
http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/2013-hmn-trffckng-stkhldr/index-eng.aspx.

Public Safety Canada hosts Online Human Trafficking Web Forum!

On November 21, 2013, PS hosted the first in a planned series of online web forums focusing on human trafficking. Approximately 80-90 stakeholders, including representatives from civil society, non-governmental organizations, academia, provincial and territorial governments and law enforcement attended. Federal departments answered previously submitted questions related to the National Action Plan, the work of the RCMP Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre and the trafficking of Aboriginal peoples.

FCJ Refugee Centre, BC OCTIP, Mosaic Language Services and Alberta (joint government – non-governmental organization) also presented on their respective work to combat human trafficking.

If you would like to receive notifications about future planned web forums, please send an email to the Human Trafficking Taskforce (HTT.GTTP@ps-sp.gc.ca).

RCMP Launches National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking

The RCMP National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking outlines current and future efforts in combating this crime. The RCMP's goal is to reduce the prevalence of, and harms caused by, human trafficking in Canada and abroad. In order to accomplish this goal, the RCMP is committed to achieving the following four strategic objectives:

  • enhance prevention strategies in Canada;
  • strengthen the assistance and protection of human trafficking victims in Canada;
  • improve the identification, disruption and prosecution of human trafficking in Canada; and
  • enhance partnerships to combat human trafficking in Canada and abroad.

These strategic objectives guide the RCMP towards effectively addressing the various challenges currently impacting the prosecution, prevention, protection, and partnerships associated with human trafficking.

To read the Executive Summary or to request a copy of the National Strategy, please go to: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/pubs/ht-tp/2012/index-eng.htm.

Public Safety Canada hosts National Forum on Human Trafficking

Public Safety Canada hosted a National Forum on Human Trafficking on January 29 and 30, 2014 in Ottawa, Ontario. The two-day forum brought together approximately one hundred key stakeholders and decision-makers from various sectors across the country, including governmental officials, law enforcement, NGOs, service providers, and survivors, who are engaged in the fight against human trafficking.

The Forum was also attended by the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada and Member of Parliament Joy Smith.

While the Forum presentations focused on sharing information and identifying best practices, participants were also given an opportunity to identify areas of focus where continued action is required in order to inform further efforts under the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. 

Public Safety Canada would like to extend its thanks and appreciation to everyone who attended and participated in the two-day event.

In the Regions

Western Canada

BC OCTIP Launches New Labour Exploitation Prevention Project:

The Preventing Labour Exploitation and Trafficking of Live in Care Givers’ project has various components and is being implemented in partnership with West Coast Domestic Workers Association of BC and the People’s Law School Legal Education Society of BC. The primary goal of the project is to provide legal education to Live-in Caregivers (LIC), their service providers and their network of social support on how to prevent exploitation and human trafficking. Legal education workshops will be held in 14 various communities across the province.

To date, sessions have been delivered in Nanaimo, Vernon, Victoria, Prince George, Dawson Creek, Burnaby, Kamloops and Squamish. This project has been made possible through funding provided by the Government of Canada through Welcome BC.

A report of the proceedings and recommendations for further measures to prevent labour trafficking of LIC will be produced upon completion of the project.

To learn more, please contact Victor Porter at Victor.Porter@gov.bc.ca.

Prairies

Alberta Receives Federal Grant to Address Human Trafficking

ACT Alberta is pleased to be part of a new project to address sex trafficking in Edmonton. Status of Women Canada is providing funding to create a Community Action Plan to Prevent and Reduce Sex Trafficking in Edmonton.

ACT Alberta will be working with community partners, namely the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE), the YWCA Edmonton, the Sexual Assault Centre Edmonton (SACE), REACH Edmonton, ASSIST Community Services, the Edmonton Police Service and the City of Edmonton, administration and Council through Councillor Amarjeet Sohi.

For more information, please go to: http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/med/news-nouvelles/2013/1207-eng.html.

Ontario

The London & Middlesex Country Coalition Assisting Trafficking Individuals (CATI)

The Coalition Assisting Trafficked Individuals (CATI) of London & Middlesex County includes over 20 different social agencies, non-governmental organizations and individual persons who train staff at service agencies to recognize and respond to persons who have been in situations of human trafficking; coordinate the delivery of services to people who have been in situations of human trafficking; and seek to prevent further instances of human trafficking by raising awareness of the issue.

Each person who has been in a situation of trafficking will have different concerns and unique service needs. CATI is sensitive to, and strives to meet, these unique needs by coordinating services such as: interpretation, shelter and housing, health care, legal services, emotional support and counseling as well as accompaniment to interviews with government agencies, police and crown.

In 2012, CATI received a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation for $54,000 in order to develop and implement a training curriculum for front-line service providers to recognize and support those experiencing human trafficking.

The organization has successfully developed a training curriculum, and published over 400 copies of the training manual; trained over 210 front line workers that cut across all sectors including health, Aboriginal services, justice, violence against women, shelter, counseling, and child/youth services; launched an interactive website on human trafficking (www.catilondon.ca); and launched a 24/7 Helpline at 519-458-2272.

Given the reality that trafficked persons interact with social services through multiple avenues, there is a need to ensure that every door is the right door and that we are all prepared with the tools needed to assist and meet the client’s needs.

For more information, please contact CATI Chairperson, Sue Wilson, Office for Systemic Justice, Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada, at 519-432-3781 ext.402, or by email at swilson@csj.london.on.ca or AnnaLise Trudell, Project Coordinator, at 519-439-0844 ext.222 or by email at atrudell@uwo.ca.  

Awareness Efforts by the London Anti-Human Trafficking Committee

The London Anti-Human Trafficking Committee (LAHT) in London, Ontario has been very busy raising awareness in the community through presentations to social service agencies, churches and local schools using the RCMP Youth Toolkit. Students frequently ask for kits themselves to do presentations to other student groups.

On November 28, 2013, LAHT hosted a Youth Symposium during which London area high school students engaged with law enforcement, human rights activists, social service professionals and a sex trade survivor to discuss current issues and brainstorm ways to get involved. Since many youth are targeted for exploitation, this is a proactive step towards prevention and protection, in addition to education and awareness.

LAHT also collaborates with other like-minded groups such as Free Them, Walk With Me, the Alliance Against Modern Slavery, Sex Trade 101, Rising Angels, Break the Silence, CATI and many others. 

LAHT has grown from 6 founding members in 2006 to over 75 members and associate members today. LAHT is 100% volunteer-operated and is currently working towards obtaining charitable status.  

You may email the Chairperson, Aura Burditt at auraburditt@rogers.com or visit the LAHT website www.stopht.ca for more information.

Project imPACT – Ottawa Human Trafficking prevention Initiative

Project imPACT, PACT-Ottawa’s human trafficking prevention initiative, is now well under way! This project aims to prevent and reduce trafficking of women and girls in Ottawa through community planning. PACT is collaborating closely with Crime Prevention Ottawa, Ottawa Police Service and St. Joe’s Women’s Centre and is engaging a wide range of stakeholders from a variety of sectors. Project imPACT is currently conducting a local safety audit to assess the state of human trafficking of women and girls and related exploitation in the National Capital Region.

As part of the local safety audit, PACT is currently conducting focus groups with its stakeholders, as well as interviews with key informants with various perspectives.  PACT’s stakeholder group includes senior members of organizations that have an understanding of the resources and structure of supports available to trafficking victims and survivors in Ottawa. Through these focus groups, the organization hopes to gain a better understanding of the institutional barriers and other factors that limit community efforts to deal with the issue of trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation. Stakeholders will also play a role in developing a preventative action plan to respond to the specific needs of women and girls who are at risk.

Through the key informants, PACT aims to gain a deeper and more thorough understanding of the human trafficking situation in the National Capital Region. The key informants include survivors of trafficking, individuals from groups identified as at risk of being trafficked and front-line workers who work directly with victims, survivors, and at-risk populations. PACT is interviewing key informants individually in order to gain more in-depth and specific insight from their knowledge and experience.

As part of its efforts to include diverse and inclusive perspectives in its research, PACT welcomes applications from those interested in becoming involved in the project as key informants or as stakeholders, based on the criteria above. If you have knowledge about human trafficking in Ottawa and are interested in being involved in one of these ways, please contact Elise Wohlbold by phone at 613-875-PACT (7228) or by email at e.wohlbold@pact-ottawa.org.

Quebec

In Development - Canada’s First Interactive Online Human Trafficking Database.

Chab Dai Canada (Main Dans La Main) is working towards the launch of Canada’s first fully interactive online Human Trafficking Database. Victims, survivors, law enforcement, NGOs, government, volunteers and front-line workers will be able to search the database to instantly find the services and contacts they need. Searchable criteria will include: location and type of organization/agency as well as services broken down by age, gender, sexual orientation, religion and immigration status. It will also be possible to cross-reference searches based on whether an organization is seeking volunteers, has staff members who have received training specific to human trafficking, has acceptable child protection policies, is financially transparent, is part of a recognized coalition, has a link with law-enforcement and has a confidentiality/media policy. 

The Freedom Registry is a tool that will be part of a larger international site, currently launched in BETA, called the Freedom Collaborative. The Collaborative already offers an online reference library specific to human trafficking and will soon have a social platform where organizations, governments and individuals working in the counter human trafficking space can exchange ideas and best practices and can discuss current trends, concerns and solutions. The Collaborative is now live. The Canadian Freedom Registry is open but still being tested. A national steering committee is fine-tuning the search options and vetting process. Chab Dai Canada hopes to launch the final version of Canada's Freedom Registry by November of 2014. 

Check out the collaborative and register your organization at www.freedomcollaborative.org

For more information, please contact Christy Langschmidt by email at  christy.langschmidt@chabdai.org.

To make a donation towards this project click here: http://chabdai.ca/donate/.

Quebec National Assembly Unanimously Adopts Motion on Human Trafficking.

As part of the 12 days of activism against violence against women, on December 6, 2013, le Cercle des femmes parlementaires du Quebec tabled a motion on human trafficking, which was unanimously adopted by the National Assembly of Quebec. To learn more and to access the news release, please go to: http://communiques.gouv.qc.ca/gouvqc/communiques/GPQF/Decembre2013/06/c8544.html.

Legislative & Regulatory Updates

Private Member’s Bill C-452, ‘An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (exploitation and trafficking in persons)’ was passed on November 26, 2013 by the House of Commons and was debated at Second Reading in the Senate on February 4, 2014. This Bill, if passed, will amend the Criminal Code to include consecutive sentencing for offences related to human trafficking and creates a presumption regarding the exploitation of one person by another. In addition, it would also add the human trafficking offence to the list of offences to which the forfeiture of proceeds of crime apply.

Please go to the following link for more information: http://www.parl.gc.ca/LEGISinfo/BillDetails.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&billId=6254142.

Changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR)

As part of the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) have amended the IRPR to provide further protection to Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs). These amendments require, for example, that employers make reasonable efforts to provide a workplace free of abuse, (including physical, psychological, sexual or financial abuse within the meaning of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act).  In addition, ESDC will no longer process Labour Market Opinion applications from employers who, on a regular basis, offer striptease, erotic dance, escort services or erotic massages.  Similarly, CIC will not issue Work Permits to foreign nationals destined to work for these employers. See the Canadian Gazette for a complete list of changes to the IRPR: http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2014/2014-01-01/html/sor-dors245-eng.php.

Funding Opportunities

The Victims Fund at Justice Canada provides funding through grants and contributions to individuals, organizations, and provincial/territorial governments to support projects and activities that encourage the development of new approaches to victim services, enhance existing services, promote access to justice, improve the capacity of service providers, foster the establishment of referral networks, and increase awareness of services available to victims of crime and their families, including victims of human trafficking.

For more information about the Victims Fund and how to apply, please visit: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/pcvi-cpcv/over-pres.html.

Research & Publications

International Academic Journal focused on Human Trafficking to be launched in early 2015

Rochelle Dalla, a University of Nebraska Lincoln associate professor has received approval to create the first international academic journal dedicated solely to the issue of human trafficking. The Journal of Human Trafficking, which will cover all forms of the crime, including bonded labour, forced labour, sex trafficking and trafficking in children, will be published by Routledge, a global humanities and social sciences publisher. The first issue of this quarterly publication will be released early in 2015.

For more information, please go to: http://www.dailynebraskan.com/news/unl-professor-creates-world-s-st-human-trafficking-journal/article_e03d58b4-5e32-11e3-8a16-001a4bcf6878.html.

Opinion Piece: Sensationalism Distorts Human Trafficking Debate (Edmonton Journal)

Karen McCrae, Provincial Program Coordinator for ACT Alberta, discusses the negative effects of sensationalizing human trafficking in this opinion piece from the Edmonton Journal: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/Opinion+Sensationalism+distorts+human+trafficking+debate/9105690/story.html .

Local Safety Audit Guide: To Prevent Trafficking in Persons and Related Exploitation

Developed by Public Safety Canada, the Local Safety Audit Guide is designed to contribute to the development of strategic action plans to prevent human trafficking and other related forms of violence and exploitation in Canada’s urban centres, and to address the factors which make particular groups far more vulnerable to sexual exploitation and/or forced labour than others. It uses a sound evidence-based approach, and explicitly considers gender and other intersecting factors which influence an individual’s vulnerability. It will enable stakeholders from the public sector and civil society to assess the nature and extent of these problems in their particular urban area, and to develop an action plan tailored to those problems and their local context.

The guide is of particular relevance to: provincial, territorial and local government representatives and service providers responsible for and/or contributing to policies concerned with human trafficking and related exploitation; national organizations such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Crime Prevention Committee of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP), given their leadership role in promoting community safety in general, and other national organizations mandated to address exploitation; and national and local level non-government organizations concerned with human trafficking and related exploitation.

For Canadian cities which have already developed multi-partnership and comprehensive crime prevention strategies, this guide will help to complement their work by providing a more in-depth focus on human trafficking and other related exploitation. For those cities which have not yet established such an approach but are concerned about trafficking and related forms of exploitation, the guide can be used as a stand-alone tool.

The guide may be accessed via the following link: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/lcl-sfty-dtgd/index-eng.aspx.

Using Text Messages to Reach Victims of Human Trafficking – Results from a Community-University Research Collaboration

This progress report provides an overview of a community-university research collaboration to explore the use of mobile phone text messaging within a sexual exploitation outreach program in the city of Edmonton, Canada. It begins with a brief description of the context within which the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) operates its outreach and support programming, touching on the challenges that come with the growth of online advertising for adult services. The paper will then describe the collaboration between CEASE and the Faculty of Extension at the University of Alberta to introduce mobile phone text messaging into its sexual exploitation outreach strategy. The impact of the campaign and emerging best practices will be discussed, concluding with a brief examination of future areas of research and collaboration.

To access the report, please go to: http://www.marslab.ca/using-text-messages-to-reach-victims-of-human-trafficking/.

To Submit Items

If you have anti-human trafficking related activities, events, news or stories that you would like to share, send your suggestions to HTT.GTTP@ps-sp.gc.ca.

Contact information

For more information on the newsletter, or to be included in the email distribution list, please send an email to HTT.GTTP@ps-sp.gc.ca.

To access the newsletter online, please go to:
http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/cntrng-crm/hmn-trffckng/rsrcs-eng.aspx (English)
http://www.securitepublique.gc.ca/cnt/cntrng-crm/hmn-trffckng/rsrcs-fra.aspx  (French)

This newsletter is being offered up to three times yearly by the Serious and Organized Crime Division at Public Safety Canada with content provided by anti-trafficking stakeholders from across Canada.  Its relevance depends on the information received from our partners. The content and information provided in the newsletter do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada or Public Safety Canada.