The Canadian government has announced that its new National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking will be supported by a further financial commitment of 57.22 million Canadian dollars over five years and then $10.28 million a year on-going. 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 for their heinous crimes; and embrace partnerships with provinces and territories and other organizations.
In 2016, Canadian police services reported 340 incidents of human trafficking where it was the most serious violation. This represents the highest rate recorded since comparable data became available in 2009.
Testimony from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls has highlighted strong links between human trafficking and the disproportionately high rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls, noting that the extent of human trafficking and victimization of Indigenous women is grossly under-reported.
To support the new strategy, the Minister of Public Safety has now appointed a new Special Advisor on Human Trafficking, retired RCMP Assistant Commissioner and member of the Mohawks of Kanesatake Shirley Cuillierrier. Cuillierrier will offer ongoing advice and recommendations to the government on its efforts to combat human trafficking and bring awareness domestically and internationally.
The additional funding 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 Advisor;
- 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.