The government increased prevention efforts. The government issued and began to implement its new five-year national anti-trafficking action plan in September 2019, which involved input from various government agencies at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels, civil society, victims and survivors of trafficking, indigenous groups, and front-line service providers. PSC led a federal interagency task force and facilitated policy discussions about human trafficking. PSC will be establishing an advisory committee comprised of victims and survivors of human trafficking to provide recommendations on current and future federal anti-human trafficking policies and initiatives. The government’s budget to support the action plan was 57.22 million Canadian dollars ($44.02 million) in federal funding over the next five years and 10.28 million Canadian dollars ($7.91 million) annually thereafter. This budget was significantly more than the government’s 2018 commitment of 14.5 million Canadian dollars ($11.2 million) over five years. Experts noted that problems in some provincial leadership have led to provincial ministries not prioritizing the needs of service providers. Experts also noted that coordination of anti-trafficking efforts between provinces and at the national level has been insufficient.
As there is no mandatory reporting mechanism across municipal, provincial, and federal agencies, the government admitted gaps in data collection and analysis of the prevalence of trafficking. PSC began reviewing the governance structure of its task force to create new data collection task teams to the country’s data collection efforts. In addition, PSC held meetings and collaborated with federal, provincial, and territorial governments through its Federal, Provincial, and Territorial (FPT) Trafficking in Persons Working Group to share information, trends, and best practices. The government has begun exploring changes to the governance structure of the FPT Working Group to include more participation from provinces and territories to strengthen coordination between FPT partners. The NGO, Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, with PSC support, initiated research on the project “Mapping the Geography of High-Incident Human Trafficking Corridors in Canada.” The CBSA started reviewing its immigration enforcement framework to ensure sufficient protections are in place for potential victims of human trafficking.
The government worked with several Canadian financial institutions, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, NGOs, technology companies, and law enforcement agencies at the municipal, provincial, and federal level on Project Protect, to develop a publication of indicators of suspicious transactions of money laundering from human trafficking for law enforcement and financial institutions. To combat human trafficking in federal procurement supply chains, Public Services and Procurement Canada created a new five-member team exclusively dedicated to supporting a multi-phased approach to addressing forced labor in federal procurement supply chains. The government strengthened its export control system by becoming a state party to the Arms Trade Treaty; by joining this treaty, the government ensured that all exports of military and strategic arms were not used to commit or facilitate violations of international human rights law, including human trafficking. The government drafted the Transparency in Supply Chains Act, which would mandate a reporting requirement on Canadian companies’ supply chains and would create whistleblower mechanisms to report and investigate allegations of human trafficking in supply chains.
The Griffon Initiative created public awareness campaigns among the Québec population, visitors, and foreign tourists during the Formula 1 Grand Prix that the purchase of sexual services is a crime. In 2019, PSC provided funding under the Contribution Program to Combat Serious and Organized Crime to eligible recipients leading initiatives, research, partnership building, specialized police services, projects and programs to increase knowledge, raise awareness and/or help advance efforts to combat serious and organized crime, including human trafficking. For example, in 2019, PSC provided 125,000 Canadian dollars ($96,150) in funding to support the Clan Mothers Healing Village, an NGO that works with government and community partners in Ontario and British Columbia to address healing for Indigenous women who have experienced sexual exploitation and human trafficking. IRCC conducted public awareness campaigns on its website. The government funded NGOs and other government entities to promote additional awareness-raising campaigns, in English and French, including on labor trafficking and fraud in foreign labor recruiting, aimed at youth, law enforcement, service providers, the financial sector, and the public. The government funded and launched a national multilingual and accessible human trafficking hotline (including text and chat), operated by an NGO, in May 2019, which resulted in 238 reports of suspected human trafficking to law enforcement and service providers. Observers noted that the hotline had a number of weaknesses, including operators who did not seem knowledgeable about trafficking, a difficulty in accessing language support beyond English and French, and problems with accessing service providers outside metropolitan areas.
The RCMP Human Trafficking National Coordination Center and regional trafficking awareness coordinators in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, and Nova Scotia served as anti-trafficking points of contact for law enforcement across the country and participated in regional response teams and meetings to share local strategies, best practices, and successful cases. The government made efforts to reduce the demand for participation in international sex tourism by its citizens by distributing publications warning Canadians traveling abroad about penalties under Canada’s child sex tourism law. The government, however, did not collect data on child sex tourism investigations, prosecutions, or convictions. Under the two-year pilot, 2.6 million Canadian dollar ($2 million) Migrant Worker Support Network, more than 10,000 individuals who received TFWs learned about their rights and protections, to include protections against forced labor, while in Canada. In 2019, the ESDC invested 42 million Canadian dollars ($32.31 million), to ensure the rights of TFWs in Canada are protected and enforced through a robust compliance regime; this funding supported unannounced inspections under the TFW Program. The government appointed the first Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise in April 2019 and it was anticipated that the Ombudsperson’s office would be operational in the first half of 2020. The Ombudsperson’s mandate included the ability to review allegations of human rights abuses arising from the operations of a Canadian company abroad in the mining, oil and gas and garment sectors.
The government provided funding for international organizations to strengthen the capacity of the Government of Ukraine and Ukrainian civil society organizations to identify, refer, and assist victims of human trafficking. The government also provided funding to address risks of human trafficking involving children and youth in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua, and to provide training on appropriate child protection systems, policies, and programs. The government also provided funding and worked with international organizations and foreign governments that supported efforts to combat human trafficking, particularly in regions experiencing armed conflict. The government provided funding and worked with several governments to strengthen their civil registration and vital statistics systems to protect children from human trafficking. In addition, the government supported anti-trafficking efforts abroad through its Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program, which aimed to enhance the capacity of law enforcement and service providers in Mexico, Guatemala, and Honduras to identify and combat human trafficking, particularly in border regions. The government also supported several additional anti-trafficking efforts in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Fiji, Laos, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Nicaragua, and Paraguay. The government made efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex acts through awareness-raising activities.