Last Updated: Monday, 28 July 2014, 16:37 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Canada

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 12 June 2007
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Canada, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3a5c.html [accessed 29 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Canada (Tier 1)

Canada is principally a transit and destination country for women and children trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Women and children are trafficked mostly from Asia and Eastern Europe for sexual exploitation, but victims from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the Middle East also have been identified in Canada. Many trafficking victims are from Asian countries such as South Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, but some victims are trafficked from Romania, Hungary, and Russia. Asian victims are trafficked more frequently to Vancouver and Western Canada, while Eastern European and Latin American victims are more often trafficked to Toronto and Eastern Canada. A significant number of victims, particularly South Korean females, transit Canada before being trafficked into the United States. Some Canadian girls and women are trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation.

The Government of Canada fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Over the last year, Canada strengthened victim protections by providing foreign trafficking victims with temporary residency status and immediate access to health benefits and services. In the coming year, the government should intensify efforts to make effective use of its recently-enacted anti-trafficking laws to increase investigations and prosecutions of suspected traffickers. The government also may wish to direct more anti-trafficking training to local law enforcement personnel, who are more likely to come in contact with trafficking victims.

Prosecution

The Government of Canada sustained law-enforcement efforts against human traffickers during the reporting year. Canada prohibits all forms of human trafficking through Law C-49, which was enacted in late 2005, and which prescribes a maximum penalty of 14 years' imprisonment, a penalty that is sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those for other grave crimes. Transnational human trafficking is specifically prohibited by Section 118 of Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a $1 million fine. Law C-49 also prohibits a defendant from receiving a financial or material benefit from trafficking; this offense is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Withholding or destroying a victim's identification or travel documents to facilitate human trafficking is punishable by up to five years in prison. Canada also prohibits child sex tourism through a law with extraterritorial application. During the reporting period, the government opened 10 trafficking investigations under the IRPA and Law C-49, reflecting a decrease overall from 2005. The government in 2006 secured five trafficking-related convictions, resulting in sentences of up to eight years in prison. Nine trafficking prosecutions are ongoing. Most trafficking cases are prosecuted on the provincial level.

In November 2006, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) organized anti-trafficking training in Eastern Canada for law enforcement, victim service providers, and NGOs. The RCMP also has developed anti-trafficking videos, pamphlets, and posters, which are distributed widely. Canada works closely with foreign governments, particularly the United States and Mexico, on international trafficking cases. There have been no reports of official complicity with human trafficking.

Protection

The government expanded protections for trafficking victims during the reporting period. In May 2006, Canada authorized issuance of renewable temporary residency permits for foreign trafficking victims, in addition to guaranteed access to essential and emergency medical care, dental care, and trauma counseling. Trafficking victims are not required to testify against their traffickers to maintain their temporary immigration status. Victims' rights are generally respected, and victims are not penalized for crimes committed as a direct result of being trafficked. The government encourages victims to assist in the investigation or prosecution of their traffickers. Canadian law provides for formal victim assistance in court and other services, and victims may submit a victim impact statement for the court to consider when sentencing an offender. Canada has a witness protection program, although no trafficking victims have utilized this service yet. Canadian officials, especially border agents, pro-actively screen for trafficking victims among vulnerable populations, such as persons detained for immigration violations.

In general, victim support services are administered on the provincial or territorial level. While each province or territory provides services for crime victims, including trafficking victims, they do not all follow the same model, sometimes leading to uneven services across the country. However, most jurisdictions provide access to shelter services, short-term counseling, court assistance, and specialized services, such as child victim witness assistance and rape counseling. Canada funds NGOs through a Victim's Fund, which makes monies available to fill gaps in victim services. In 2006, the government provided $5 million to support this initiative. Canada also supports a number of domestic and international programs for trafficking victims. Law-enforcement and social service officials receive specialized training to identify trafficking victims and attend to their needs. Consular officials at Canadian embassies, especially in source and transit countries, receive training on protections and assistance to potential trafficking victims.

Prevention

The government increased anti-trafficking prevention efforts during the reporting period. Canada coordinates anti-trafficking policies through its Interdepartmental Working Group and the Human Trafficking National Coordination Center, which received increased staffing and resources in 2006. The government continued awareness-raising campaigns, such as supporting an anti-trafficking Web site and distributing posters and materials, including anti-trafficking pamphlets printed in 14 languages. High-level government officials, including Canadian ambassadors posted abroad, condemned human trafficking in public speeches. Canada annually funds anti-trafficking programs domestically and around the world, and contributes funds to international organizations such as UNODC. Canada hosts and participates in international anti-trafficking conferences, sharing "best practices" and other information.

During the reporting period, Canada took steps to distribute anti-trafficking information to recipients of "exotic dancer" visas – which have been used to facilitate trafficking in the past – to inform them of their rights, and to prevent potential abuses. Visa officers are trained to detect fraud or abuse, and adult entertainment establishments that wish to employ foreign workers as "exotic dancers" are required to follow certain regulatory mandates. In addressing the demand for sexual exploitation, Ontario courts reported sending defendants convicted for soliciting prostitution to a Toronto "John School," to educate them on the exploitation of prostitution.

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