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MP Viersen Introduces the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking Act

November 29, 2022

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ottawa, ON – This week, MP Arnold Viersen introduced Bill C-308, The National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking Act in the House of Commons. This ground-breaking legislation strengthens Canada’s fight to end human trafficking by requiring the Government of Canada to maintain a national strategy to combat human trafficking and sets out minimum measures to be included. The Bill also requires the federal government to regularly review the strategy from a trauma-informed focus, consult with survivors and table annual progress reports in Parliament.

“Human trafficking is profitable, it’s brutal and it’s only growing in Canada. Yet victims, survivors, and the frontline agencies that serve them continue to face challenges and barriers,” said MP Arnold Viersen. “This Bill will ensure that Canada undertakes long-term approach to ending human trafficking that centres the voices of survivors, provides robust supports, puts more traffickers in jail and empowers Canadians to tackle this crime in their own communities. Canada must take a zero-tolerance approach to human trafficking.”

MP Viersen serves as Co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group to End Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking (APPG) which has added its support for Bill C-308: “The APPG exists to work across party lines to advance anti-human trafficking policies that allow Canada to do all it can to end human trafficking. Bill C-308 is an important step towards this necessary goal.”

Bill C-308 has the support of survivors, anti-human trafficking organizations and frontline service providers including Timea’s Cause, the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, the Joy Smith Foundation, #NotInMyCity, BridgeNorth, Next Step Ministries, Courage for Freedom, and the Allard School of Law’s International Justice and Human Rights Clinic.

Quotes from Stakeholders:

“Creating the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking was a fantastic first step, but it’s time for action and time to close some serious gaps in the system. Having a Strategy just to have it, to say we have it, it’s not enough. It is a work in progress and we should continue our efforts to make it as applicable and useful as effective as possible for the sake of the victims and our society,” said Timea Nagy, CEO/Founder of Timea’s Cause, Author and Survivor.

“Ensuring that Canada has an enduring national, person-centered anti-human trafficking strategy that prioritizes cooperation, raises awareness and allocates sustainable funding is necessary now more than ever. A national strategy can help coordinate our collective efforts towards making resources more available to victims and survivors and holding traffickers accountable for their devastating actions. This Bill contributes towards our shared goal of ending this gross form of exploitation in our lifetime,” says Julia Drydyk, Executive Director, The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking.

“Canadians must work together to bring an end to the injustice of human trafficking, which continues to be one of the fastest growing crimes in our country. The National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking Strategy Act will help empower governments, NGOs, law enforcement and all Canadians to end this modern-day slavery,” said Joy Smith, founder of the Joy Smith Foundation and former Member of Parliament.

“I hear from Canadians regularly who have been trafficked and yet have slipped through the cracks unnoticed, victimized, and traumatized.  Their experiences are not registered within data collection or the justice system in Canada, and they feel hopeless and unseen.  There continues to be substantial gaps in human trafficking victim support, public education and awareness, workplace training, front-line and inter-agency/ministry communication, data collection, and strategy.  I strongly support the recently introduced National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking Act as a much needed step to strengthen and improve Canada’s efforts to combat human trafficking.”  – Paul Brandt, Founder, #NotInMyCity

“Our organization has been supporting women impacted by Human Trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, for over 12 years. Too often we felt like a lone voice battling this evil, however, we have been encourage over the last couple of years to see this issue coming to the forefront of government agendas. Now that this issue is being exposed, we can address it even though the battle will not be easy. Many powerful people make fortunes on the backs of what they consider a ‘throw away population’.  This unfortunate problem is present in all of our communities, schools, businesses and churches. Making it a priority through awareness, adequate funding and accountability at the highest levels, will allow agencies like ours to provide support to those who are escaping the grips of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.”  – George McGregor | Executive Director, Next Step Ministries

“The National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking Act ensures that Canada will have one of the essential tools to combat the complex and far-reaching problem of human trafficking: an ongoing national plan.”  – Nicole Barrett, Director, Allard Law International Justice and Human Rights Clinic

“The Vancouver Collective Against Sexual Exploitation (VCASE) supports this bill which aims to strengthen the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking Act. We expect Canada to fulfill its commitment to the Palermo Agreement (signed in 2005) to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in human beings.  Bill C-308 provides long term strategic measures to help end the ever-growing sex trafficking networks that profit from the demand for the bodies of women, youth and indigenous girls in major cities and small towns across our nation.” – Sandra Harrison/Randene Hardy, co-chairs VCASE.