Ontario is considering a new act countering human trafficking. The Anti-Human Trafficking Act 2017 would:
- make February 22 Human Trafficking Awareness Day
- provide a comprehensive scheme for obtaining restraining orders in the human trafficking context
- create a tort of human trafficking not requiring proof of damage
MPP Indira Naidoo-Harris proposes the new countermeasures in light of the fact that Ontario is the source of 65% of human trafficking cases reported to police. Hon. Indira Naidoo Harris also serves as the Ontario minister for the status of women, Human trafficking disproportionately affects vulnerable members of society, particularly targeting women and children.
The moves comes after a June 2016 announcement that the government of Ontario has committed $72 million to developing an anti-human trafficking strategy including prevention and community supports such as awareness campaigns and improved social services, enhanced justice sector initiatives, indigenous-led approaches, and provincial coordination and leadership including the creation of an anti-human trafficking office.
The proposed act meshes with the announced plans to create enhanced justice sector initiatives such as supporting effective intelligence-gathering and identification, investigation, and prosecution of human trafficking.
Debates accompanying the Bill mentioned the problem of underreporting given the dangerous control traffickers can exert over victims, and the fact that its impact on indigenous women and girls is neglected. MPP Peggy Sattler links the problem’s prevalence in Ontario to the province’s majority share of immigrant and migrant workers.
This blog post was written by a CCLA-PBSC RightsWatch student. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect the view of the CCLA or PBSC.