An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in persons)
Joy Smith Conservative
Introduced as a private member’s bill.
This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.
- April 4, 2012 Passed That Bill C-310, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in persons), as amended, be concurred in at report stage.
May 6th, 2013 / 5:30 p.m.
Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice
And you're absolutely right. In fact, I was involved in the original drafting of the provision, and this wording was in the original drafting, I think, unfortunately, by error. It was removed by Bill C-310 when C-310 was enacted. It just was something that the drafters didn't catch.
So I'm sure everyone will be very grateful to you for this correction. It's going back to how it was originally drafted.
May 6th, 2013 / 5:25 p.m.
Robert Goguen Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB
Okay, Mr. Chair.
There are subclauses 3(1) and 3(2), and what we're proposing to do is delete 3(2) so there will no longer be a 3(1), there will just be a clause 3. Those are the two parts of it.
Now I'll give you the rationale for why we're proposing to delete subclause 3(2).
This clause would create a new definition of exploitation for the purposes of trafficking offences, which would include specified means such as the use of force, fraud, deception, and abuse of authority, or a situation of vulnerability. Subclause 3(2) is vague and includes concepts that have not been interpreted by Canadian law, and is therefore likely to confuse. Moreover, the issue that this amendment proposes to address was already clarified by Joy Smith's Bill C-310, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in persons), which enacted an interpretive provision that stipulates factors the court may consider in determining whether an accused exploited another person for the purposes of the trafficking provisions.
These factors include whether the accused used force, or deception, or whether the accused abused a position of trust, power, or authority.
May 6th, 2013 / 4:55 p.m.
Robert Goguen Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB
Very good, Mr. Chair.
This is on subclause 2(1). We're proposing that subclause 2(1) of the bill be deleted. This clause proposed to include the phrase “in a domestic or international context” under “Trafficking in persons”. That's under section 279.01.
The objective of subclause 2(1) is unclear and could cause interpretation problems. If its objective is to ensure that the offences apply to Canadians who commit trafficking offences abroad, the Criminal Code does this already as a result of Joy Smith's bill, Bill C-310, enacted on June 2012, which extended extraterritorial jurisdiction in this context. If the objective is to ensure that the offence applies to trafficking cases involving the crossing of Canada's borders, as well as those that take place entirely within Canada, the offence already applies to both of these scenarios.
Further, the proposed amendment would result in inconsistent treatment between the main trafficking offence and the three others.
May 6th, 2013 / 4:05 p.m.
Naomi Krueger Manager, Deborah's Gate, Salvation Army
I would just say, on behalf of the victims whom we serve on a day-to-day basis at Deborah's Gate, that certainly the efforts of Mrs. Smith and Bills C-268 and C-310 have created opportunities to better support these victims. Our message here today is that we want to continue to see these types of provisions created for law enforcement officers that reinforce the work we do on the front line. In the past year, we've been in court with two separate witnesses who have testified and been disheartened by the response at the justice level, because of a lack of understanding and a lack of ability on the part of the courts to respond from a criminal justice perspective.
Certainly, we would support any efforts to create opportunities for our residents to accomplish the goals and dreams they have for themselves, for them to be able to be empowered and be restored, and for them to be able to complete high school and to be able do all of the things they want for themselves now that they've been able to be free and to experience what life looks like without exploitation.
May 6th, 2013 / 3:40 p.m.
Michael Maidment Area Director, Public Relations and Development, Federal Government Liaison Officer, Salvation Army
Thank you, Mr. Chair and committee members. My name is Michael Maidment. I'm the federal government liaison officer for the Salvation Army in Canada.
I'd first like to thank you for the opportunity to present to you this afternoon on the issue of human trafficking and, more specifically, on Bill C-452.
I'd like to begin by commending Madame Mourani for her work in this important legislation and for her commitment in presenting complex solutions to the issue of human trafficking in this country. I am delighted today to be joined by Naomi Krueger. Naomi is the manager of one of Canada's first shelters dedicated exclusively to caring for the victims of human trafficking. Deborah's Gate, which opened in 2009, aims to provide confidential, professional, and culturally sensitive community-support networks for survivors of this terrible crime.
The case management team at Deborah's Gate coordinates appointments with law-enforcement officials, immigration officials, legal counsel, trauma counsellors, and other service providers. Additional programs provide residents of the shelter with access to income assistance and/or sustainable income, addiction-treatment programs, health and dental care, and community-integration programs.
I want to frame my comments this afternoon by saying that the Salvation Army appears before you today in our capacity as Canada's largest social-service provider and with our 130 years of service-delivery experience, which includes, of course, programs such as Deborah's Gate. I hope to convey the perspective of our organization, as the leading social-service provider, on this legislation.
First off, I want to say that the Salvation Army wholly supports legislation that strengthens the ability of the criminal justice system to respond to the crime of human trafficking. Just as we supported Bill C-268 and Bill C-310, we, too, support Bill C-452. We believe the bill will provide law-enforcement officials with more tools to prosecute those who commit this heinous crime and that it is essential to preventing future victims.
With specific reference to the proposed amendments in the bill, we believe that allowing consecutive sentencing for offences is positive in two ways. First, a significant sentence is important to victims of human trafficking in so far as it provides a period of safety during which a victim doesn't need to worry about their trafficker being at large. This period is critical to a victim's ability to access restorative resources and engage in a long-term healing process.
The effects of violence and exploitation on a victim do not disappear when the trafficker is arrested. Instead, fear, anxiety, and hopelessness often increase, at least until the victim knows the trafficker will be held in custody for a designated period of time.
Second, we think this proposed amendment would strengthen the deterrent for perpetrators of human trafficking who believe the financial gain of the exploitation outweighs the loss experienced during shorter prison sentences. One such victim and resident of our shelter estimated that her trafficker earned $620,000 over a two-year period through her sexual exploitation.
I would like to raise one area of consideration regarding this amendment, that we're seeing more and more situations where victims who were once trafficked themselves have turned to aiding their traffickers with procuring and grooming other victims. This is generally a strategy that victims of human trafficking use to improve their own circumstances in an attempt to escape the exploitation they have undergone. Providing the courts with flexibility in the application of consecutive sentencing may prevent victims of human trafficking from being punished by the criminal justice system for attempting to escape from their exploitation.
With reference to adding the term “domestic” to the charge of human trafficking within the Criminal Code, the Salvation Army feels that this proposed amendment provides important clarity to the code. Human trafficking is a domestic issue. We've already heard that this afternoon. Yet the myth that trafficking is exclusively an international issue persists among many Canadians. Accurately describing human trafficking as a domestic issue will aid in correcting this long-term myth.
Deborah's Gate opened in 2009. Over half its residents have been victims of domestic trafficking, Canadian residents trafficked within Canadian cities, most often for sexual exploitation by Canadian men. Furthermore, our organization has found that women in our shelter systems were targeted as children as young as 12 years old, many from reserves in northern B.C., Alberta, and Manitoba, both by traffickers with gang affiliation and by individuals working alone.
The change this bill offers—the reversal of the burden of proof for the charge of human trafficking—is an important recognition of the devastating impact that sexual exploitation has on its victims. This reversal will not only make it easier to prosecute traffickers but will also protect victims who are struggling with the effects of being exploited.
With reference to extending the human trafficking charges to those who harbour a person who has been exploited, the Salvation Army is pleased that this proposed legislation considers the reality that many different individuals can play a role in the crime of human trafficking without ever meeting the conditions set forth by the legal definition.
While many individuals can share responsibility for holding a victim captive, it is rare that all parties involved are prosecuted. In our experience, traffickers are aided by multiple associates, each of which plays a role in facilitating their exploitation. While none of the associates may profit directly from a victim's exploitation, they supervise the victim's sexual services, assault victims when they fail to comply with their traffickers' orders, and coordinate travel from one abuser to another.
The proposed amendment would better equip law-enforcement officers to respond to the severity and complexity of trafficking operations holding all those involved accountable for the crime in its entirety.
It should be noted, though, that while this amendment in general enables effective enforcement of the offence, unintended consequences of the wording and the absence of evidence to the contrary may arise.
In particular, information that victims communicate to the police, health care practitioners, and other front-line service providers while they are in a state of fear or as a means to survival could be used as evidence to contradict exploitation or facilitation of exploitation at a later date. Victims have repeatedly reported that they were at times coached on what to say when questioned by authority figures.
Many times this coaching has led to the gathering of contradictory statements that could be used as evidence to the contrary if needed. A provision preventing the use of statements made by victims while in a state of trauma or coercion might help to avoid this unintended consequence.
In conclusion, while it is important to strengthen the tools available to prosecute those who commit the terrible crime of human trafficking, it is equally important, if not more so, to consider strengthening our ability to prevent human trafficking from occurring in the first place.
Thank you again for the opportunity to address you this afternoon and for your commitment to eradicating human trafficking in Canada.
May 1st, 2013 / 5 p.m.
Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB
Thank you very much.
Thank you very much for coming to committee today. We appreciate it.
As you know, we're talking about human trafficking. Research is showing us that it's primarily underage youths who are duped and deceived into servicing men, and if they don't do it, they get beaten, raped, shot up with drugs. I've worked with victims for 14 years now, so that's the way it happens.
As you know, in this country, Bill C-49 was the first bill, in 2005, that addressed human trafficking. They got one conviction, Imani Nakpangi. He trafficked a 15-and-a-half-year-old girl. You know about that one. Then Bill C-268 and Bill C-310 came in, in 2010 and 2012. Now we have this bill before us today.
I ran out of time on the other session, but this is why we don't have all the hard statistics, because the bills are so new. They are brand new in Canada.
You mentioned something that I thought was so relevant. I want to talk to Ms. Duval. You talked about human dignity. You talked about the right for people to be free, the right for them to make their own choices. Can you tell me, in terms of this bill of Maria Mourani's, why this is so important to help the victims of human trafficking?
May 1st, 2013 / 4:25 p.m.
Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB
I'll address this to Mr. Hooper.
The question keeps coming up as to why don't we have the statistics. We all know that in 2005, Mr. Cotler, one of the members from the Liberal Party, passed Bill C-49, and that Imani Nakpangi, the first offender, was convicted in Canada. Then my bills came in—Bill C-268, in June 2010, and Bill C-310, in June 2012—so there was very little time....
People sometimes get human trafficking mixed up with human smuggling. Can you define the difference between human trafficking and human smuggling?
Mr. Hooper, could you perhaps answer the question?
May 1st, 2013 / 3:50 p.m.
Joy Smith Kildonan—St. Paul, MB
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Welcome, Mr. Hooper and Ms. Legault-Roy. Thank you for coming today.
Mr. Hooper, you and I know each other very well. Timea Nagy is an amazing victim who has risen above and is now helping police officers and is doing a lot of very good work. Mr. Hooper, as a lawyer for her organization, I have to thank you for all your volunteerism and for the work you have done as well.
Taking a look at this issue, you have described very well what we're looking at. It can be the girl next door. It can be people from abroad. I remember when Timea Nagy first came into Canada. She was trafficked from Hungary, as you know, and she was in a much different place from where she is right now, as one of the leaders in Canada, in my opinion, for helping victims of human trafficking.
In regard to the case you referred to in terms of the forced labour, I know between Timea, Toni Skarica, and a few of us, we did a lot of work on that one.
Looking at this whole bill from Maria Mourani, as you know, Bill C-268 and Bill C-310 did certain things to help with this issue of human trafficking. I would like you to talk a little bit more about how Bill C-452 will help the victims of human trafficking, because that is the issue here, where the victims go to court and they won't talk. I know for the men in the forced labour case it was a horrendous experience, and they actually had organized crime from Hungary after them as well, trying to come into Canada. In Bill C-310 we authorized the assumption of extraterritorial jurisdiction so that Canadian prosecution could happen if Canadian citizens or permanent residents who commit human trafficking went abroad. Then we had an interpretive provision, which expanded the definition of human trafficking to enable the courts to bring justice to these perpetrators. Bill C-452 will help the victims as well.
Mr. Hooper, I would like you to expand on your explanation of how this bill would apply to help these victims. Could you do that for us?
May 1st, 2013 / 3:35 p.m.
Robert Hooper Chair, Walk With Me Canada Victim Services
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Walk With Me Canada was established by a survivor of human trafficking. Walk With Me was created with a commitment to ensuring that survivors have first response care and, secondly, with recognition that survivors should have a voice in developing a coordinated community response that can meet immediate crises and longer needs of trafficked victims.
Since its inception in 2009, Walk With Me has been working closely with various police services and has been able to provide unique services and support to many victims of human trafficking in Ontario and across this country.
Walk With Me Canada Victim Services' vision statement is transforming the lives of the victims of human trafficking while eradicating slavery in this country. The mission statement of Walk With Me Canada Victim Services is a survivor-led organization dedicated to raising awareness and providing education on issues of slavery, delivering and coordinating services, supporting victims to become survivors, and advocating action for change in our laws in this country.
In the last three years, Walk With Me has assisted over 200 men and women who have been rescued or left their position where they were trafficked for labour or, most often, for sex. Those we have helped thus far are both men and women, and their ages range from 14 to 45.
Several of these circumstances include multiple people being trafficked by the same person, which we think is very important in this bill. Often the word “stable” is used, and I apologize, but that's the word we often hear on the street. Some of the people, particularly in the sex industry, have a stable of young women, which makes the consecutive sentencing quite important to our organization.
Walk With Me operates a safe house and also provides first response assistance for trafficked persons. We are attempting to start and create second-stage housing for longer rehabilitation and reintegration into society for the people we help.
The bill itself, Bill C-452—the three amendments—is supported by Walk With Me Canada, with some modifications in the language, hopefully. It purports to make three amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada. They are to provide consecutive sentences for offences related to procuring and trafficking in persons; to create a presumption regarding the exploitation of one person by another and add circumstances that are deemed to constitute exploitation; and finally, the amendment is to add the offences of procuring and trafficking of persons to the list of offences where forfeiture of proceeds of crime would apply.
Walk With Me Canada supports all three amendments. Our support is subject to a review of the legislation for wording and overlap with some of the previous amendments made in Bill C-310.
On consecutive sentences for offences related to procuring and trafficking in persons, Walk With Me Canada's somewhat recent arrival on the scene does not allow us to have any scientific data for the committee with respect to concurrent sentences as opposed to consecutive sentences. A review of sentences with respect to trafficking in drugs and trafficking in persons shows that harsher sentences are handed out by our courts for drug trafficking than for trafficking in persons, either for sex or for labour. Not to make light of drug trafficking, but certainly the sentences are more harsh than they are for trafficking in persons.
Furthermore, Walk With Me Canada was involved in the largest human trafficking case in Canada, known as the Roma Hungarian labour trafficking case in Hamilton, where concurrent sentences were given to most of the offenders. The kingpin, Ferenc Domotor, was handed a significant sentence, but one that was concurrent.
At a post-sentencing gathering, where several of the victims attended after the sentence was handed down, we were able to discuss the court proceedings with the labour traffic victims. One of the young Hungarian men indicated he was not sure that the hell he had gone through was worth the trauma and post-traumatic stress he suffered, given the fact that the sentence was to be one sentence no matter how many victims were involved. Although he did not understand, in my view, concurrent versus consecutive, his assessment of the court proceedings and the sentence handed down by the court was that the amount served by Mr. Domotor would not have changed whether there was one victim or ten victims.
When this is coupled with the fact that multiple victims mean larger profits for the trafficker, consecutive sentences are a necessity for this heinous crime. Presently, a relatively low risk of having a more significant sentence for having two, three, or more victims of sex slavery or labour slavery is worth the financial gain. In other words, when you are able to garner upwards of $200,000 to $300,000 per trafficked victim in one year, and the only real risk in sentencing is a concurrent sentence for each additional victim, the trafficker is almost compelled to expand his business empire with little risk of significant ramifications to him in the criminal justice system here in Canada.
For those reasons, Walk With Me Canada supports this amendment.
Walk With Me Canada supports the amendment with respect to the “presumption regarding the exploitation of one person by another and adds circumstances that are deemed to constitute exploitation.”
Although the wording at first blush appears to provide some risk that innocent bystanders may be captured, the presumption is a necessary one for victims who are scared for their life. Some of the classic traits of trafficking in persons include threats to people's family, their own lives, and the lives of their friends. A lot of the time, the person has been transplanted from their roots to a foreign city, or even another country. As a result, being asked to testify is one of the scariest propositions of being rescued from trafficking.
In our experience, a lot of the women need to be removed from the city, or the province, for their own safety. The severe post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression that come with being victimized by their traffickers make testifying a deterrent, and it makes one reluctant to come forward. A reversal of the burden of proof, once a prima facie case has been put forward by the crown, is a welcome addition to the Criminal Code. Having the victim not testify, or not feel that her testimony is the only reason a police force will have to lay charges, will assist in the recovery process of victims.
Often, waiting for the Criminal Court proceedings to take place brings the recovery to a standstill, as they are singularly focused on their day in court, where they will have to face their trafficker again, and have the burden on their shoulders that the case will only be successful if they come and testify and put their life at risk.
For those reasons, Walk With Me Canada supports this amendment.
The amendment “adds the offences of procuring and trafficking in persons to the list of offences to which the forfeiture of proceeds of crime apply.” There are many statistics with respect to the profits made by human traffickers. Some of these statistics include trafficking one young woman for a profit of $280,000 to the trafficker in one year. Other statistics show that a sex-trafficked woman between the ages of 12 and 25 years can generate illicit tax-free income for the trafficker in the range of $300 to $1,500 per day. A government table, which was attached to our submission, shows that the average daily profit for one trafficked woman is in the range of $900, and an annual profit in the range of $280,000. A trafficker with 10 young women in his stable could have an annual profit in excess of $3 million. Backpage.com, an example of which we attached, is a unique way to find women in this country. Our example shows that five women were advertised from 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. in one hotel room. Also, if you look at it, the ranges were from $60 to $80 per half hour and $120 to $180 per hour. I looked at the attachment, and in fact the young lady in that attachment is actually being advertised at $200 per hour. You can appreciate the amount of profit you can make if you have four or five people doing that for you on any given day. It should be recognized that this is illicit income, and it's not subject to taxation. This is clear profit.
We're also aware, from our victims, that initially they see some proceeds of their being trafficked, and they are given nice things. Very quickly, once they are brainwashed by the trafficker, they receive less and less of the profit or material items, and the money goes into the coffers of the trafficker.
Anecdotally, we're aware that in the labour trafficking in Hamilton, one of the people who pleaded guilty owned a house in Ancaster, Ontario, that was listed at $750,000. This amendment would've allowed the crown attorney to have that family forfeit the home as proceeds of crime. RCMP surveillance and the evidence given at the trial, which I attended, show that many of the traffickers also had several bank accounts with significant funds in them, including welfare funds. They also could have been forfeited if this amendment had been made previously. As a result, the labour trafficker received a concurrent jail sentence, and in all likelihood a deportation, but he was able to keep all of his assets, including his bank account and his house.
The profit made by organized crime, street gangs, and entrepreneurial men who prey on young women and men in this country, as well as immigrant people who come to this country, needs to be stopped. Along with consecutive sentences, the risk of forfeiting all of the profits and their assets will be a deterrent to this heinous crime.
For the foregoing reasons, Walk With Me supports the three amendments. We hope they will assist in securing convictions that make the punishment proportional to the severity of the crime and that cause the traffickers to be deprived of the profits from their illicit activities.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
April 29th, 2013 / 4:25 p.m.
David Wilks Kootenay—Columbia, BC
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you for your presentation today. It's certainly something that is required across Canada.
I fully agree with you on consecutive sentencing. As a retired police officer, I think that's not a bad thing. But that being said, as you're aware, Madam Smith's former bill, Bill C-310, extended extraterritorial jurisdiction for the criminal code in trafficking offences and clarified the definition of exploitation in section 279.04 by creating interpretative tools to assist the courts specifically if someone used or threatened to use force on another person, used coercion, used deception, or abused a position of trust, power, or authority, and as a result of that, exploited another person for the purpose of trafficking offences under the Criminal Code.
Some of the amendments you're proposing overlap some of the recent reforms brought forth in the law by Madam Smith. As a result of that, I'm wondering, when we address this at committee, whether you are okay with amendments that will ensure consistency and clarity with the law that already exists.