Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act

An Act to amend the Criminal Code in response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Attorney General of Canada v. Bedford and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.


Peter MacKay  Conservative


This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to, among other things,

(a) create an offence that prohibits purchasing sexual services or communicating in any place for that purpose;

(b) create an offence that prohibits receiving a material benefit that derived from the commission of an offence referred to in paragraph (a);

(c) create an offence that prohibits the advertisement of sexual services offered for sale and to authorize the courts to order the seizure of materials containing such advertisements and their removal from the Internet;

(d) modernize the offence that prohibits the procurement of persons for the purpose of prostitution;

(e) create an offence that prohibits communicating — for the purpose of selling sexual services — in a public place, or in any place open to public view, that is or is next to a school ground, playground or daycare centre;

(f) ensure consistency between prostitution offences and the existing human trafficking offences; and

(g) specify that, for the purposes of certain offences, a weapon includes any thing used, designed to be use or intended for use in binding or tying up a person against their will.

The enactment also makes consequential amendments to other Acts.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.


Oct. 6, 2014 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
Sept. 29, 2014 Passed That Bill C-36, An Act to amend the Criminal Code in response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Attorney General of Canada v. Bedford and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, as amended, be concurred in at report stage.
Sept. 29, 2014 Failed That Bill C-36 be amended by deleting the long title.
Sept. 25, 2014 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-36, An Act to amend the Criminal Code in response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Attorney General of Canada v. Bedford and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage of the Bill and one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill; and that, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at report stage and on the day allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
June 16, 2014 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
June 12, 2014 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-36, An Act to amend the Criminal Code in response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Attorney General of Canada v. Bedford and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and That, at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

September 25th, 2018 / 7:35 p.m.
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Julia Beazley Director, Public Policy, Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

Thank you, Mr. Chair and members of the committee, for the opportunity to participate in this study.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada is the national association of evangelical Christians in Canada. Our affiliates include 45 denominations, more than 65 ministry organizations and 35 post-secondary institutions. Established in 1964, EFC provides a national forum for Canada's four million evangelicals and a constructive voice for biblical principles in life and society.

Our approach to the issues we will address in Bill C-75 is based on biblical principles that teach respect for human life and dignity, care for the vulnerable, and freedom of religion, principles that are also reflected in Canadian law and policy.

Bill C-75 proposes a significant number of changes to the Criminal Code, including the hybridization of a number of Criminal Code offences. This would allow, as you know, some serious indictable offences to be treated as relatively minor summary offences at the discretion of the Crown. It's on this element of the bill that I have been asked to provide comments. Our concerns in this regard are limited to a few key areas.

Criminal laws give expression to the norms that undergird a society. They both express and reinforce the basic commitments that bind a society together. It is often said that the law is a teacher. Amendments to the Criminal Code can signal or imply a shift in our society's core principles or their interpretation, which is sometimes appropriate, but this also means we must carefully consider the implications of any changes we make.

The categorization of a criminal offence tends to indicate the seriousness of the conduct it addresses. Hybridization suggests that an offence can now be considered less of a violation of human dignity, less of a threat to society or social cohesion, and less harmful to the vulnerable among us. Respectfully, we submit that to hybridize some of the offences proposed in this bill would send the wrong message. We understand that one of the objectives of hybridization is to reduce delays in the criminal justice system, but to paraphrase what Mr. Geoff Cowper told this committee last week, our goal should be not to reduce delays but to deliver justice in a timely way that's responsive to the public interest, to the needs of the victim and to the community generally.

When Bill C-75 proposes a greater maximum penalty for repeated intimate partner violence—and I hear the concerns of my co-panellists about recidivism—this communicates that this is an offence the government considers to be very serious, that violence is unacceptable and is to be deterred with severe penalty. This is a good message.

Conversely, when the bill proposed to hybridize offences related to human trafficking, sexual exploitation, or the assault of religious officiants, it sends the message, whether intended or not, that these offences are of lesser concern. Bill C-75 proposes to hybridize subsection 176(1) of the Criminal Code, which deals with obstructing or violence to an officiating clergy. Obstructing or assaulting a religious official who is about to perform religious duties strikes directly at the heart of religious belief and practice. Religious officials are not merely acting as individuals when they're carrying out their religious duties; they are representatives of the broader community of faith.

Last year, more than 65 interfaith leaders wrote to the Minister of Justice expressing our deep concern with the repeal of the section 176 protections that were proposed in Bill C-51. We wrote, “The deliberate assault of a religious official outside a house of worship is a different kind of offence from other public disturbances, assaults, threats or incitement to hatred. An offence against a people at worship reverberates through the community and touches every member.”

Offences against religious officials and people at worship are unique in character, in significance and in motivation, and in a climate of increasing incidence of hate, specifically at and against places of worship, we believe it's essential to maintain the focused protection that section 176 offers religious leaders. We are grateful that this committee heard the concerns of religious Canadians and recommended that section 176 not be repealed but instead be revised to be more inclusive of all religious officials. We ask the committee, in keeping with that same understanding and responsiveness to the concerns of religious Canadians, to recommend that this offence not be hybridized in Bill C-75.

You heard compelling testimony last night of the realities of human trafficking and all forms of sexual exploitation, and the devastating impact of these crimes on their victims. These crimes constitute a grave violation of human rights, including the rights of women and children to live free from violence, and it's essential that the gravity of these offences be consistently reflected in our laws and policies. We know and have known for years that in Canada it is mainly Canadian women and girls who are trafficked, and they're being trafficked into the commercial sex trade.

Ninety-five per cent of all cases in Canada in which trafficking charges have been laid in the last 12 years were domestic and primarily involved sexual exploitation. StatsCan's latest report says that 95% of trafficking victims are female, 72% are under the age of 25 and one in four victims is under the age of 18.

We're pleased that this government is taking action on human trafficking and is consulting on the development of the new national action plan. We're also eagerly awaiting this committee's report out of its study on human trafficking.

We're disappointed that Bill C-75 proposes to hybridize certain offences related to human trafficking and sexual exploitation. These other initiatives demonstrate that this government rightly considers these crimes to be worthy of significant legislative and policy focus, but the proposed hybridization of related offences seems to send a conflicting message.

In particular, we note the bill's hybridization of the following:

The first is section 210 on keeping a common bawdy house. This provision allows law enforcement to address the ownership and operation of brothels, which are often loosely disguised as spas, holistic centres or massage parlours, in which individuals are frequently held, exploited or trafficked. The naming and continued inclusion in the Criminal Code of such a place is significant, because the existence and operation of these places can legitimize the hold, power and influence of a pimp, trafficker or exploiter over the exploited.

As I was preparing for this, I spoke with a friend and colleague who has first-hand experiential knowledge of how these facilities operate. She explained that pimps and traffickers use places like holistic centres and massage parlours with the full knowledge of the owner, and that placing their girls in a licensed facility legitimizes the pimp or trafficker as part of a business. Individuals who use these places to exploit do so with intention, forethought and planning.

The exploitation that occurs in these facilities is rampant. We need access points to these places, and we need to be careful that we don't limit or restrict the ability of law enforcement to monitor, to search and to prosecute where needed.

Rather than repealing this section, as some have called for, or hybridizing it, as this bill does, we suggest the committee consider clarifying the definition of “bawdy house” in the Criminal Code. The current definition is imprecise, and that imprecision actually cloaks the exploitation that concerns us. We would support a definition which makes it clear that the offence targets situations of sexual exploitation where individuals are held, kept or exploited in a place where someone else is in control of their movement, their activity and quite often their finances.

Next are subsection 279.02(1), on material benefit with trafficking, and subsection 279.03(1), on withholding or destroying documents. These offences as they relate to the trafficking of a person under the age of 18 remain indictable. Our laws rightfully extend particular protections to children who are uniquely vulnerable in a number of ways.

However, this bill would hybridize these same offences as they relate to adult victims. This is problematic because exploited adults are quite often just exploited children who happen to turn 18. In fact, often the only thing about their circumstances that has changed is that they are now 18 and the severity of the abuse they have suffered or continue to suffer does not lessen when they turn 18.

Victims who become adults in the eyes of the law may already feel a bit left behind, because the system offers them fewer supports and services and treats the crimes committed against them as less serious. I would argue that even in cases where the exploitation begins or occurs when the victim is an adult, we do not want to send the message that this conduct is less serious. Human trafficking and the criminal offences associated with it must be considered very serious and be dealt with accordingly. As such, we recommend that these offences not be hybridized.

Finally, we have subsection 286.2(1), on material benefit from sexual services. This provision is clearly aimed at and I suspect applied almost exclusively to individuals who are benefiting, as the law says, from the sale of someone else's sexual services. It is clear that what the current laws aim to do is prevent the exploitation of one individual by another.

This offence and others covered by the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act should not be hybridized. This act established an incredibly important shift in how our country addresses prostitution. It refocused our laws on the buyers and those who profit from exploitation while decriminalizing those who are selling or being sold. We believe these laws are a critical tool in the fight against trafficking and sexual exploitation because they seek to curb the demand for paid sexual services, which is what fuels sex trafficking and funnels women into prostitution.

The act has a mandatory five-year review built in. We strongly recommend that the government keep the current prostitution laws in place as they are, and that when that five-year mark is reached it conduct a thorough review of the laws and their effectiveness in order to determine how they may be strengthened or improved, with the clear objective of eliminating sexual exploitation.

Thank you.

September 24th, 2018 / 8:25 p.m.
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Criminologist and Sociologist, President of Mouranie-Criminologie, As an Individual

Maria Mourani


As to the recommendations, let me repeat what victims and the police told me. Victims are waiting for Bill C-452 to come into force, which received royal assent in 2015. For three years, the government has refused to bring this law into force.

Having been a minister, Mr. Clement, you know that it takes more than a day for a ministerial order to be issued to bring a law into force. As you also know, the House voted unanimously twice, at second reading and at third reading of this bill. Even Mr. Trudeau, who is now the prime minister, voted for the bill.

The current Minister of Justice says Bill C-36 would create problems for consecutive sentences. I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate the previous government for passing this major piece of legislation on prostitution. You will recall that Bill C-36 received royal assent on November 6, 2014, while Bill C-245 received royal assent on June 18, 2015, nearly a year later.

Everyone voted for it. Why does Mr. Trudeau seem to be changing his mind now that he is prime minister? Victims are very frustrated by this, especially families with children who have run away or who are in prostitution networks, and who are told by police officers that they cannot take action without testimony or a complaint, even in the case of girls who are minors. The government must declare this act to be in force immediately without waiting for Bill C-75 to be passed or receive royal assent.

May 29th, 2018 / 5:10 p.m.
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Frances Mahon Lawyer, Pivot Legal Society

Thank you.

My name is Frances Mahon, and thank you very much to the committee for inviting me to discuss how human trafficking enforcement is working in Canada. We applaud the government for giving this urgent issue the attention it deserves.

I'm speaking to you today from Vancouver, British Columbia, and I would like to acknowledge that these are the unceded and traditional territories of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.

I'm a criminal, immigration, and refugee lawyer. I frequently represent individual sex workers, as well as sex work advocacy organizations like Pivot Legal Society. In 2014 I appeared as a witness to the Senate standing committee considering Bill C-36, which overhauled the prostitution provisions in the Criminal Code.

Pivot Legal Society is a human rights organization in Vancouver. One of its primary activities is working with communities of sex workers in Vancouver and elsewhere, and bringing this community perspective to lawmakers as part of its law reform work. Pivot intervened at the Supreme Court in Bedford, and also provided submissions to the House of Commons and to the Senate considering Bill C-36.

We urge this committee to develop a nuanced, evidence-based, and effective strategy that takes into account both the human rights and dignity of sex workers and the need to protect vulnerable groups from trafficking. Creating an environment where sex workers can enjoy respectful and trusting relationships with law enforcement will facilitate the investigation and prosecution of genuine cases of trafficking.

I'm going to speak to you on two issues. The first is the lack of a clear definition for human trafficking that complies with international standards. The second is very close to my heart, and one I frequently encounter with my clients, which is abusive police and immigration enforcement of sex workers and trafficking victims under the guise of human trafficking investigations.

On the first issue, I want to address a point Mr. Warrack made, which is around the lack of statistics on human trafficking in Canada. I believe this is exacerbated by the fact that we do not have a clear definition of human trafficking. We often don't know what's being referred to—labour exploitation, sex trafficking, or indeed consensual adult sex work. This committee must give thought to what human trafficking is, and what it is not.

I represent both sex workers and victims of exploitation, and I appreciate that this is a complex issue. Individual situations may not always be so clear-cut between what is truly consensual and what is not, but the current criminal law framework for both sex work and human trafficking has a detrimental impact on the most vulnerable members of our society, particularly indigenous and immigrant individuals.

Canada's human trafficking law is much broader than the internationally accepted definition of human trafficking, and may, in addition to catching victims of human trafficking, also criminalize sex workers and third parties who are legitimately working in the trade as consenting adults.

I would like to draw the committee's attention to the definition of human trafficking, as provided by the United Nations protocol to prevent, suppress, and punish trafficking in persons. This definition requires an element of coercion for the recruitment and movement of persons for the purposes of labour exploitation.

The crime of human trafficking in Canada does not actually require a coercive element, and this significantly widens the net in terms of who may be caught up in it. For example, simply moving a person, if it's done to facilitate their exploitation, could be enough to find criminal liability. This matters because it creates the possibility that victims of trafficking may themselves be criminalized. I would like to refer you to the testimony of Ms. Lori Anne Thomas, who spoke to you on May 22 about how one of her clients was charged with human trafficking despite being herself a victim.

Although the crime of human trafficking requires an element of exploitation, this does not solve the problem, because exploitation as defined also does not require an element of coercion. No evidence of the victim's actual state of mind or experience is required. This has the potential to remove a victim's autonomy and experience from the process, but it can also criminalize third parties who are legitimately working with individuals in the sex trade.

Now I'd like to move on to the impacts of aggressive human trafficking enforcement on both victims of trafficking and people who are working in the trade.

It's an unfortunate reality, and something that I'm frequently consulted on, that both sex workers and victims in trafficking are the victims of crime because they're experiencing harassment and abuse from clients, they've been robbed at work, or they're just dealing with employment-related issues that don't rise to the level of trafficking. The problem is that they're afraid to make police complaints because of the uncertainty around the legality of their work and concerns about drawing attention to immigration status or to their fellow workers. This is especially unfortunate because it's people in the industry who are the best placed to identify victims of trafficking and bring that to the attention of law enforcement.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that police enforcement often brings along the Canada Border Services Agency to human trafficking investigations, which can result in deportation of victims of trafficking out of Canada, as well as deportations for people who are working here by their own consent. This is something that I have also seen a lot of in my experience as a lawyer, both in Vancouver and in Toronto.

Even when it doesn't result in deportations or loss of immigration status, it does serve to drive the clients away, meaning that those who are paid per client, rather than per hour, may have to work longer, and it leaves sex workers with pervasive anxiety about their work.

These intrusive police strategies erode trust between victims and sex workers and the police. I'm going to give you a few examples of these abusive police tactics that I've come across in my own experience or that have been the subject of some media.

In Operation Northern Spotlight, which I'm sure this committee is familiar with, 11 people were arrested during a sting in April 2015. These people were held without the ability to contact anyone else and ultimately deported without having received any assistance whatsoever from community organizations. Because the police used a very common tactic, which is arranging fake dates with sex workers in order to gain access to their workplaces, which are often their homes, Operation Northern Spotlight and similarly styled investigations continue to generate fear and mistrust.

Migrant sex workers have also experienced a great deal of abuse at the hands of the police. More than 40% of women contacted by the Toronto-based organization Butterfly, which works with migrant sex workers, reported that they had experienced abuse, such as seizing condoms as evidence, or in some cases, police pulling up their dresses to see if they were wearing underwear as proof of whether they were working as sex workers.

As a local example, here in Vancouver we had a disgraced detective from the counter-exploitation unit, who recently pleaded guilty after he sexually assaulted minor victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

It's not surprising that in a survey conducted by SWAN, here in Vancouver, 95% of the immigrants they work with stated that they would not contact law enforcement if they experienced a violent crime.

The human trafficking investigations and prosecutions also lead to dangerous assumptions of guilt by association. Immigrant sex workers in particular, who may not have very good English or French skills, depend on the assistance of their others, whether they're colleagues or their managers, in order to make their work both safe and viable. For example, they rely on others to help them place ads so that they do not have to be based on the street, and to find work spaces so they can be working indoors, which has been accepted by the Supreme Court of Canada as by far the safest way to exist in the sex trade. However, under the trafficking and the procuring laws, they fear implicating their friends and their co-workers, who could face serious charges merely for being an associate.

I'll give you an example of a report that Pivot received from Butterfly regarding a woman who was detained for two weeks by the police as a trafficked person despite her insistence that she was working voluntarily.

She was never criminally charged, but her phone was seized as evidence. She was forbidden from making calls to anyone including legal counsel, and the police seized $10,000 of her money as evidence as part of their ongoing investigation. It has not been returned to her.

After a search of her hotel room, the police came across a photo of her and her friend and arrested her friend. Although that person was eventually released, she did lose her housing in the process. During that process, the sex worker herself actually disclosed to the police that she had recently been sexually assaulted and robbed, but no investigation was undertaken into the crimes committed against her.

This is unfortunate, and it's very common in my experience for both sex workers and victims of crime to have these experiences with law enforcement. I'm frequently contacted by people who are experiencing harassment or who have been assaulted but are too afraid to go to the police to make a complaint. In some cases, I've been retained to actually make the complaint myself to the police on behalf of third parties. Not every police officer is willing to accept such a complaint from a lawyer who is not actually involved in the crime. Again, this leads to under-reporting and under-investigation of crimes that are actually occurring against sex workers and victims.

May 22nd, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.
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Natasha Falle Co-Founder and Director, Sextrade101

Thank you for the invitation to speak today. I'm going to briefly tell you a little bit of my background.

I am a survivor of both independent prostitution and forced prostitution. For seven years of my 12-year stint I was trafficked by a known pimp and felt pressured by the sex industry to gain his protection due to the amount of violence I dealt with on a daily basis by entitled and often abusive men. I was then abused not only by sex buyers, but by my pimp as well. Once he was shot twice by a pimp whose intention was to shoot me. He stabbed another man seven times for assaulting me. We were taught not to go to the police. We were taught to deal with violence with our own hands in the sex industry. Involving the police brought bad attention to their establishment. He would often tell me that I owe him my life for what he did and no one would love me the way he did. It's now been two decades and he is still a pimp, promoting himself as a stag manager with a website he probably built for free and a business licence he probably paid $120 for.

I'm going to talk a little bit about our coalition.

We are Canada's leading survivor activists regarding the sex trade industry and organized pimp violence. We offer public awareness and education on all aspects of the sex trade in order to eradicate myths and stereotypes about prostitution by replacing them with facts and true stories for women who have been enslaved by this dark and lucrative industry.

We are a group of very diverse and unique Canadian women. Our backgrounds and our stories are quite different. The common thread is prostitution. We have come together under the organization Sextrade101: Public Awareness and Education, to promote ourselves as sex trade experts, front-line workers, speakers, teachers, advocates, and activists for the rights of sex trafficking victims and prostitution survivors. Our reasons for this unity are personal to us. Our main goal is to offer a deeper insight into what the sex trade really consists of. Our stories differ one from the next. Some of us have horror stories, heartbreaking stories, stories that will make your jaw drop, and likewise powerless stories.

Aside from the sensationalism that surrounds prostitution, we want to be bold about telling you the truths within the trade. We have been collectively afraid, raped, beaten, sold, and discarded. Most of us were also children who were forgotten, neglected, abused, used, led astray, abandoned, and not protected. We believe every one should be shown a viable way out of the sex trade, not encouraged to stay in it. We believe in helping people understand the full picture of life in prostitution before they get involved and in helping women get out alive, with their minds, bodies and lives intact.

We are ready for a dialogue, for sensible, healthy communication with others who believe as we do. It's going to take a collective effort for us to abolish the world's oldest oppression. We offer first-hand knowledge of the barriers people face when trying to get out, and stay out, and we create opportunities for positive change for those enslaved by the sex trade and/or sex trafficking.

One of the items up for discussion today is the human trafficking strategy to combat human trafficking. This strategy is divided into four parts: the prevention of human trafficking, the protection of victims, the prosecution of offenders, and working in partnership with others both domestically and internationally. The only major comment we have about the human trafficking strategy is about prevention. These are the steps that were to be implemented for the goal fo prevention: promote training for front-line services, support and develop human trafficking awareness campaigns within sex trafficking, provide assistance to communities to identify places and people most at risk, and strengthen child protection systems within the Canadian International Development Agency's programs targeting children and youth.

That's all good, but there has been no coordinated effort do defund the sex industry. Reducing the money that fuels the sex industry requires that men be discouraged from purchasing sexual services. This is the only way we can expect to see a reduction in sex trafficking.

Some will say that traffickers are really bad and sex buyers aren't doing anything wrong, so we must go after the bad guys, the traffickers. Traffickers do it for two reasons, mainly for the money and secondarily for the notoriety. Therefore, if the market demand is high, if the money is available for the taking, trafficking will happen. Police enforcement against trafficking does not reduce human trafficking rates because being pursued by law enforcement, and even going to prison, helps the traffickers achieve the same notoriety as a gangster. Contrast that with police enforcement against buying sex; sex buyers are much less likely to buy sex if they know being arrested is a realistic possibility.

Sadly, john sweeps have been greatly reduced since the Bedford challenge to the prostitution law. Even with the new prostitution legislation, Bill C-36, purchasers of sex are supposed to be criminalized, yet very few are.

Academic studies do not support the notion that normalizing and regulating prostitution reduces human trafficking. However, there are many academic studies from around the world that indicate that enforcement against the purchase of sexual services does achieve that goal. Information to the contrary, used by the pro-prostitution lobby, is merely anecdotal. It is not credible and must therefore be disregarded.

Prostitution is violence, sexual violence, and discrimination at the hands of sex buyers for the profits of the sex trade, including pimps and brothel owners. Prostitution is gendered and preys on the most vulnerable women and girls. Of the 40 million to 42 million prostituted individuals in the world, 80% are female, and three-quarters are between the ages of 13 and 25.

Prostitution in many countries, and in Canada, under the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, is seen as incompatible with women's equality and human rights.

The PCEPA already decriminalizes prostituted women in almost every situation, so why would the Liberal Party want to decriminalize pimping?

With no debate or information provided, the Liberal Party voted in favour of a resolution calling for the decriminalization of pimping and the repeal of Bill C-36, despite the fact that both the Conservative and Liberal parties had legal experts review Bill C-36 and found it to be unconstitutional.

We are survivors, and very few of us have been asked for our input at the tables. Also, we are extremely disturbed that you would refer to exploited women and girls as sex workers. Sex work and sex worker are terms that were invented by the sex trade to normalize exploitation and mask the harm of prostitution.

We are asking why the government is being influenced by the pro-decriminalization, pro-pimping lobby, in violation of Canadian and international law.

All women and children have a right to equality before and under the law, as well as the right to dignity and the right to live free of prostitution and violence in all its forms. We have the right to be protected from men who proposition us for sex and think their money can buy all women and girls.

You must understand the relationship between prostitution and sex trafficking. Sex trafficking is the engine that pimps and traffickers use to bring their victims to prostitution. Without a vibrant sex trade, there would be no sex trafficking. It is the male demand for prostitution that fuels sex trafficking.

You already have the tools to decrease—

March 1st, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.
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Executive Director, Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre Inc.

Diane Redsky

[Technical difficulty ] to address the demand. When you take a look at changing any behaviour, like quitting smoking, drinking and driving, and all of those, why did those work? They worked because you had laws in place that criminalized the negative behaviour and you had public education and awareness.

Specifically with the john schools, we have to remember that the charge that they're getting is a summary offence, so it's actually a public nuisance charge with a summary offence that propels them into john school. We really need to be as a society and as Canadians saying that violence against women is serious enough that it should be an indictable offence.

However, that being said, for police officers to be able to intervene in that moment when they need to separate a trafficker from a victim they need all the tools in order to make that possible. The prostitution legislation that propels them into john school is one of those ways. If that's what it takes, that's certainly something I support.

What we have done in Winnipeg is doubled the numbers of charges related to communication and the prostitution in Bill C-36. Those resources typically are used for going into helping women and girls. There is now a larger pot of money because they're arresting more of the demand. There's a larger pot of money that now community organizations can do something with to support victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking.

March 1st, 2018 / 3:35 p.m.
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Executive Director, Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre Inc.

Diane Redsky

Thank you. I'm going to do a quick time check so that I use my eight minutes wisely. I'm reading from notes that I sent in advance.

I want to thank all of you for the opportunity to be here and for accommodating the video, as well as thank Joy Smith for helping me get on this important agenda.

I'd like to begin by acknowledging the Anishinaabe territory, both in Duluth and in Ottawa, that we all have the privilege of being on.

I have broken up my presentation into three areas. I'm going to talk fast, so I feel bad for the interpreters, but I have lots to say and I'm going to use my time wisely. Those three areas are national recommendations, promising practices, and how this committee can help the front lines. My speaking notes have been provided.

The focus of my presentation on human trafficking will be on the purposes of sexual exploitation, also known as sex trafficking. There are several intersections between labour and sex trafficking, but for the purposes of this presentation I'll only be focusing in on sex trafficking from a national, front-line, and indigenous perspective.

Please keep in mind that human trafficking is based on supply and demand. There will be always be a supply as long as there is a demand for human trafficking. Girls and women will continue to be bought and sold as long as the laws allow men to buy them. Sex trafficking is rooted in greed, misogyny, racism, classism, and sexism at its very worst. Sex trafficking is a 100% preventable crime.

Before I begin, it is important for all of us to acknowledge the survivors of sex trafficking, whether they are currently being victimized or on their lifelong healing journey. Their voice is often not heard, and I strongly encourage this committee, in a trauma-informed way, to seek their input, advice, guidance and, most importantly, their support and blessings of your recommendations.

My first point is on the national recommendations. In 2014, I was part of a national task force on sex trafficking of women and girls in Canada with the best experts and leaders in Canada. This remains the most relevant report and research on the issue and can be found on the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre website. The final task force report, entitled “No More”, outlines 34 recommendations on how to end sex trafficking in Canada. There are seven recommendations that are specific to this committee, and they are about the laws.

Number one is to enforce the human trafficking and sexual exploitation laws that we currently have.

Number two is to give trafficked women and girls a reason to come forward. We need to change the Criminal Code to focus on the traffickers' actions and not the victims' beliefs, history, or behaviour. We need to increase the civil causes of action and civil forfeiture procedures to return the profits of traffickers to victims. We need to engage expert witnesses to support victim testimony and make testimonial aids available for trafficking victims.

Number three—this is important for women to rebuild their lives—is to vacate and purge records for non-violent crimes committed as a direct result of trafficking.

Number four is to increase police capacity to provide victim-centred services.

Number five, strengthen protections for migrant women and girls.

Number six, end the municipal regulatory patchwork of Canada's sex industry.

Number seven, decriminalize women and girls who sell or who have sold sex, and undercut the demand for trafficked women and girls by criminalizing those who buy sex. This is also known as the Swedish model.

The second area I'd like to focus on is promising practices. I would ask that this committee look to the Manitoba strategy, launched in 2002. It was the first strategy in Canada to address sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. The strategy is entitled Tracia's Trust, in memory of Tracia Owen. Manitoba was the only province in Canada up until 2006 to have a strategy. Now, 14 years later, Ontario has a provincial strategy to address sexual exploitation and trafficking. I ask that you look particularly to Manitoba and the comprehensive strategy that exists, which includes a combination of services, laws, and public education and prevention, as a whole strategy .

This is comprehensive. I can't get into the whole strategy, but for the purposes of today, I want to highlight that Manitoba invests $11 million in that provincial strategy to address sexual exploitation and trafficking. This is based on a population of 1.2 million. No other province even comes close to the amount of investment that Manitoba makes, and this is still not enough.

However, as a result of the provincial strategy, several unique resources have been developed. At Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, we opened up one of the first safe houses for girls 13 to 17, and we operate the only rural healing lodge in Canada for child victims of sex trafficking. That was opened in 2010. We also have specialized training programs for survivors.

Our great success in Manitoba has been because of local action led by grassroots community, by indigenous women leaders, and by an experiential advisory committee of survivors who are guiding and directing the development of service. Who best to answer the questions and give us the answers but experiential women, women with lived experience?

Manitoba also has a dedicated provincial human trafficking hotline. We also have a dedicated prosecution office that specializes in sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. Winnipeg has one of the rare policing agencies in Canada with a specialized counter–sexual exploitation unit with the best and brightest of our law enforcement officers, because we need that in order to address the demand and help women.

Most importantly, these services are developed, led, and operated by many indigenous organizations, along with survivors of sex trafficking, because of the overrepresentation of indigenous girls. I emphasize the word “girls”. These are girls who are under the age of 18 who are targeted for sex trafficking. There's a huge market for indigenous women and girls to victimize.

We have the only provincial human trafficking act, which I encourage you to look at as well. There is also collaboration with our United States partners in North Dakota. Manitoba and North Dakota have a network of agencies and law enforcement that are working together, because sex trafficking doesn't care about borders.

What we hear from our girls at Hands of Mother Earth—our rural healing lodge that we've operated since 2010 and our safe house—and what we know about the victimization of indigenous girls 13 to 17 is that their sexual exploitation started young, as young as 9. They are groomed and lured both online and in person. Girls from northern first nation communities are at particular risk.

The control by the trafficker can take on many forms. He poses as a boyfriend, a drug dealer, an uncle, a father figure, a daddy, or an older man supplying them with drugs and a place to stay. They are coerced to perform sex acts as many as six to 10 times a day, seven days a week, and hand over their money or bring the equivalent of drugs back. Survivors describe this experience as multiple incidents of paid rape.

Meth is becoming a huge factor in controlling girls. A girl is more profitable to a trafficker than an adult woman. Trauma bonding with their trafficker makes it very difficult to intervene within that relationship, and we really need to understand that power dynamic. Most are trafficked because they are children in the care of Child and Family Services, and many of them have had multiple placements in their lives.

Who makes up the demand? There are many men. It's not just a few doing lots of bad things. There are lots of men doing bad things. The traffickers are just as diverse as the demand and the men who are sexually abusing and violating our girls. Unlike drugs, which you can only sell once, human trafficking is all about recruiting and luring women and girls because one woman or girl can be sold over and over again. We don't just have a few victims in Manitoba. We have hundreds of girls in Manitoba each day.

I also have to acknowledge the power of survivors. These girls have been let down by systems and adults their entire little life. Yet, under the right kind of supportive environment—trauma-informed; indigenous-led; survivors employed as helpers, which we refer to as heart medicine work—they thrive on their healing journey, and many have become survivor leaders. In fact, our rural healing lodge and safe house currently employs several young women who were once in the program and now work for the program to help other girls.

The third part—and I've almost finished—is that I have four recommendations to this committee on how this committee can help.

One, renew the national action plan, and when you renew it, emphasize this time the funding to front-line services.

Two, data collection is critically important, but don't let that hold you back. Do that in conjunction with other policy and funding programs. We just need a coordinated way and one definition. While some are looking to answer how many trafficking victims there are, there are front-line organizations like ours, and many others on the ground, who can’t keep up with the volume of victims who are coming forward.

Three, we need a whole improvement of victim service strategy that is directly connected to lifelong healing and not contingent on being involved in the court system. We lose too many girls to suicide while they go through the court system. Women and girls need that support in order to rebuild their lives. Finally, but very importantly, to build on what Joy Smith was saying, do not repeal Bill C-36. Please, please make sure with regard to Bill C-36, the protection of communities and exploited persons act. Advocates like me and many others across Canada have worked really hard to bring the voices of victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking into this conversation. Our experience has come from many years of working on the front lines with girls and women whose voices are often not heard.

Buying sex from women and girls is violence against women, period. The most harmful impacts are to indigenous women and girls. We need the laws to benefit us and not perpetuate racism and create further harm. We have to make the laws work for indigenous women and girls rather than make it easier for perpetrators to victimize. If Bill C-36 is repealed, it will completely immobilize our ability to protect women and girls from perpetrators. You will make traffickers entrepreneurs, and tie the hands of police to address the high demand. For example, Winnipeg police made 84 arrests in 2016, doubled that in 2017, and will continue to do so. We need those tools for police in order to address the demand.

It makes sense to criminalize the demand. I am hopeful that since we looked to our Swedish friends for guidance on launching Canada’s women’s equality budget, we can also continue to keep the current Canadian version of the Swedish model in Bill C-36 that criminalizes the purchase of sex while ensuring that victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking are not criminalized.

Meegwetch. Thank you.

February 15th, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.
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Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

I'm just trying to get my head around how I can make this into a short question. I was on this committee back in 2014, when certain provisions of the prostitution law were found to be unconstitutional and the government was obligated to respond. We always wonder, after the exhaustive examination we did, whatever happened.

Mr. Taylor, you referred to it a couple of times, but I think Commissioner Crampton is probably closer to the ground. What impact has Bill C-36, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, had on the phenomenon of human trafficking?

I direct it to you, Commissioner Crampton, and to you, Mr. Taylor, if you have something to add.

Thank you.

February 15th, 2018 / 4 p.m.
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Acting Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Policy Sector, Department of Justice

Matthew Taylor

You're correct that the amendments that were passed through Bill C-452 by Parliament are not yet in force. Bill C-38, which was introduced by the government, is in the House of Commons currently. It proposes to amend the coming into force clause of Bill C-452 for the reasons you have outlined with respect to the mandatory consecutive sentencing. It's no surprise that it's complicated to follow because it also relates to another piece of legislation that was passed by Parliament, Bill C-36, which I spoke about, and that was the bill that enacted mandatory minimum penalties for trafficking.

February 15th, 2018 / 3:20 p.m.
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Acting Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Policy Sector, Department of Justice

Matthew Taylor

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I thought it might be helpful to the committee for me to provide information for you on two separate things: first, the legislative history of Canada's criminal laws on human trafficking, and second, some background information on the types of programs that Justice Canada has funded to enhance services for victims of human trafficking.

Canada's first human trafficking specific offence was enacted in 2002 as part of the enactment of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Section 118 prohibits the trafficking of persons into Canada and targets the means used by traffickers, such as force, fraud, abduction, deception, or coercion to bring victims into our country. It should be noted that the enactment of this offence coincided with Canada's implementation of the UN protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, which Canada ratified in May of 2002.

In 2005, Parliament passed Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in persons), and enacted three specific Criminal Code offences to more comprehensively address human trafficking, specifically, section 279.01 which prohibits all forms of human trafficking, domestic or transnational, and for any exploitative purpose; section 279.02, which prohibits the receipt of a financial or a material benefit knowing that it was derived from human trafficking; and, third, section 279.03, which prohibits the holding of identity documents to facilitate human trafficking.

Since that time, additional criminal law reforms have been passed by Parliament. In 2010, a private member's bill, Bill C-268, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum sentence for offences involving trafficking of persons under the age of eighteen years), was enacted, creating a separate offence of trafficking in children that is punishable by mandatory minimum penalties of imprisonment.

In 2012, two years later, a private member's bill, Bill C-310, was enacted, enabling Canada to assume extraterritorial jurisdiction to prosecute in Canada Canadian citizens or permanent residents who commit human trafficking abroad. It also enacted a provision in subsection 279.04(2) that provides guidance to the courts in helping them to determine whether exploitation has been made out, exploitation being an essential element of the trafficking in persons offence.

In 2014, former Bill C-36 was passed, enacting the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act.This act provided new mandatory minimum penalties for human trafficking involving adult victims and for the financial benefit and documents offences involving child victims.

Most recently, the government has introduced Bill C-38, an act to amend An Act to amend the Criminal Code (exploitation and trafficking in persons), to bring in force certain amendments that were passed in Parliament in 2015 through a private member's bill, Bill C-452, and also An Act to amend the Criminal Code (exploitation and trafficking in persons). These provisions would enact an evidentiary presumption to help prosecutors prove an element of the human trafficking offence.

That's a bit of a summary of the changes that have been enacted by Parliament. As you can see, these criminal laws in respect of human trafficking have been the subject of ongoing interest and concern by parliamentarians.

At the same time, Justice Canada has supported their implementation in various ways, including through the provision of regular training to police and prosecutors, in conjunction with the RCMP and other police forces, victim services, and other experts. We've developed a handbook for police and prosecutors and fact sheets on key criminal justice issues for police and prosecutors, such as sentencing submissions, bail proceedings, and things of that nature in a human trafficking context. Justice officials have participated in similar efforts internationally, working closely with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to develop similar technical assistance tools to support implementation around the world.

The department is also supporting improvements to victim services. A copy of initiatives that have been funded since 2012 by the department through the victims fund has been provided to the clerk of the committee, I believe, detailing the specifics of each project. Examples for your information include: enhancing victim services delivery in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec; supporting the development of a resource handbook for indigenous women and girls who were victimized through human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation; and, developing a mental health and addictions program for women and girls who were victims of trafficking.

I'm going to conclude my remarks there. I look forward to any questions.

JusticeOral Questions

June 15th, 2016 / 3:05 p.m.
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Charlottetown P.E.I.


Sean Casey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, I reject the premise of that question. This government is very committed to attacking the scourge of human trafficking in this country. We are well seized of this issue. We were the ones who instituted an inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women. We are also going to be reviewing in detail the provisions of Bill C-36, the flawed piece of legislation that was brought in by the previous government.

We are seized of it, we are acting on it, and we will indeed come up with an evidence-based solution to this terrible scourge.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech From The Throne

January 25th, 2016 / 1:35 p.m.
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Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I also want to congratulate the hon. minister on her election, although she will know that I am very sad to lose the member she replaces, but I welcome her in her new role. I also commend the minister and her colleagues for starting the inquiry into murdered and missing indigenous.

However, I want to support the decision just taken by the hon. member for Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, that Bill C-36 represents a threat, not just for women in the sex trade, but to any sex trade worker, which it has. I have heard first hand from groups working with sex trade workers and from sex trade workers themselves. They say that Bill C-36 has put them in more vulnerable positions than they were in even before the Supreme Court ruling. Therefore, it has done the opposite of what the Supreme Court has urged us to do.

I take the minister's point that she awaits a decision and recommendations from the Minister of Justice, but I hope this new government will pursue the repeal of Bill C-36.

Resumption of Debate on Address in ReplySpeech From The Throne

January 25th, 2016 / 1:35 p.m.
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Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Mr. Speaker, I salute the community work the minister did before coming to the House.

I want to quickly ask her two questions.

First, as she may be aware, I put forward a bill to provide equal protections for transgendered Canadians, transgendered Canadians being some of the people who are quite often forced to use shelters and who are subject to some of the worst violence in the country. Would she join with me in urging the Minister of Justice to bring that forward as a government bill?

My second question has to do with the situation of those who are involved in sex work in Canada. Under the previous government, the Supreme Court decision that decriminalized sex work was, in effect, overturned by Bill C-36. Now many people, for whatever reason, involved in the sex trade are being subjected to discrimination and to a great deal of violence as a result of that bill.

What is the minister's position is on the recriminalization of sex work?

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices ActGovernment Orders

June 16th, 2015 / 12:50 p.m.
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Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her very important input into Bill C-36. I quite enjoy the heart she shows for victims. However, I totally reject the premise of her comment that Bill S-7 would criminalize victims. It would protect women.

That young girl, after talking to her sister who she was close to, jumped off a bridge as a result of a forced marriage. Her sister told me that there had to be a bill put in place that would protect her against having to succumb to a forced marriage.

This bill would protect women. Therefore, I strongly disagree with the premise of the question that the hon. member across the way put forward a minute ago. The bill would protect the victims from terrible abuse, intimidation and a lifetime of horrendous brutal experiences.

Bill S-7 would open the door for these women, and it is high time we did this in our country.

Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices ActGovernment Orders

June 16th, 2015 / 12:50 p.m.
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Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciated my colleague’s speech. I know that women’s rights are very important to her. We worked together on Bill C-36 concerning prostitution. There was a provision in that bill that unfortunately criminalized the victims, the women. The government proposed an amendment precisely because criminalizing victims as an objective will never put an end to any criminal activity. In fact, she supported that amendment.

However, what struck me is that Bill S-7 does exactly the same thing. It criminalizes these women, who are themselves victims of an unacceptable practice. I would like to know why the government was not prepared to reverse the trend, in this bill, and remove the provisions that criminalize the victims.

We know it, and my colleague knows it: criminalizing victims does not prevent offences from being committed.

Members not seeking re-election to the 42nd ParliamentGovernment Orders

June 9th, 2015 / 8:25 p.m.
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Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Chair, it is my pleasure tonight to give my farewell speech here in the beautiful Parliament of Canada. These past 11 years have been a very interesting time here in Canada.

I have to thank first of all my beautiful family. My son Edward actually inspired me to come to Parliament because of his work in the ICE unit, because of his heart for those who could not help themselves, the trafficking victims and the child abuse cases he worked on. As my son, he turned my heart as a mother and subsequently the nation's heart was turned, because in this place I was able to come and represent the survivors of human trafficking. I thank my son Michael, who is a brilliant young man; Janet who is a top supporter of everything that I have done; Natasha, who is absolutely creative and brilliant; Alexandra, of course, who does so much on my foundation and who is truly a wonderfully caring human being; and Jenna. Those are my six children, and there are my grandchildren.

I am eternally grateful to my family for supporting everything I have done since I came to Parliament Hill. Of course, I thank my husband. He has suffered cancer through a large part of my stay here over the 11 years. I thank him for believing in my work and inspiring me to carry on.

Also, I thank my EDA who supported me in everything I have done, especially John Feldsted and Kaz Malkiewicz. John Feldsted was the president of my EDA for three years and continues to do much to further the cause of the political side of what I do.

I thank all the people across the country for their prayers as I did my work to bring laws to this place to combat human trafficking. Those prayers mean a lot because first in my life is my God. He is my strength. Second is my family, and everything else comes underneath that.

There are three people who I have to recognize as well: Brian McConaghy of Ratanak, who is my brother in terms of fighting human trafficking here in Canada and worldwide; Jamie McIntosh, who started International Justice Mission; and Benjamin Perrin, who started The Future Group. It is like the group of three. These people have always been with me through the many years, even before I came to Parliament and certainly during the time that I spent here.

Most of all, I would like to thank the survivors of human trafficking. When I came here I had a vision to stop human trafficking. I had a vision to get laws through to protect the victims of human trafficking. I did put two laws through that made Canadian history, thanks to the grace of God. They are survivors like Timea Nagy, Natasha Falle, Bridget Perrier, Trisha Baptie, just to name a few. They are absolutely amazing young women.

Around this place, to my colleagues in the Conservative caucus and my colleagues across the way, there have been real friendships welded together because of the common good. I believe everyone in the House has the good of the country at heart.

There is a man who sat in our lobby for years, John Holtby. He was such an encouragement to me. He was a brilliant man who cared very deeply about the issues and about my work.

There is a young lady, Kelly Williams, who worked with me, and on me as a matter of fact, when I was chair of the health committee. She did a lot of work around the committees.

Of course, there are the security people, the restaurant people, the pages and all who make Parliament work.

When I stop to look back at why I came here, for me, I came to stop human trafficking in our country. If it was not for the survivors who use their bravery to speak out, if it was not for ministers, like the Minister of Justice, and others, I would never have been able to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish.

When I think about the leaders in this Parliament, I know there have been many who have been very strongly affected by the human trafficking issue here in our country and who stood up in this Parliament to protect the most vulnerable. I thank them for that.

I thank Susan Finlay, my prayer partner. She has been my prayer partner for years, and she has always been with me. In my down times and triumphant times, she was always there.

This Parliament is a place where we change the laws of the land. There are very talented decision makers in this place, and often we do not see the small things that are there. To me, especially, the small things but very important things and people are the people like my staff.

Joel Oosterman, my chief of staff, and his wife Kristy have been with me for a very long time. I love them like family. Marian Jaworski, who runs my constituency office, is just an amazing person. I have to say that those are the people who saw the vision with me and who helped me. Joel is one of the most talented writers I have ever come across. If anyone needs anything, even a kidney, ask Marian. He will find it. He is that kind of staff member. He is just an incredibly honest man who stands above many.

All these people come together for such a time as this, to stop human trafficking here in Canada. God rest her soul, my mother always said that we should leave the world a better place and I hope that, because I have been here, that has occurred.

I have to say that there are many laws we have here, such as Bill C-268, regarding mandatory minimum sentences for traffickers of children age 18 years and under. There is Bill C-310, where we reached the long arm of Canadian law into other countries when Canadian citizens or permanent residents go to traffic or exploit others. We can now bring them back to Canada.

My heart started to really look to leaving this place on December 6, 2014. On that day, we passed Bill C-36, on which I worked with the Minister of Justice. For the first time in Canadian history, the buying of sex is illegal in this country. Now, we are at a point where we can press the button and have a new start. At that point in my career, I knew I had to leave this place.

I knew I had to do something else, so I am working on my foundation, the Joy Smith Foundation. I will continue to do that, I believe, until the end of time. The foundation is going very well. I have had hundreds of lovely letters from around the country from victims who have said thanks and that the foundation has helped them to restart their lives. What could be better than that?

I have a book coming out before Christmas, called I Just Didn't Know. All of the proceeds will be going to my foundation. I really hope the book touches the hearts of Canadians and people across the country who read it, because it has real life stories in it. Brave survivors have agreed to tell their stories, put their pictures in it, and explain how traffickers are able to lure young people.

It is my very great honour to have served and to continue to serve my country in this great place, the Parliament of Canada. It is rare to have the privilege of doing that and it is rare to have met all of the people in my caucus who I call friends and who are astoundingly strong leaders and decision-makers in this country.

I thank God for the opportunity that I had here, and I look forward to rekindling and keeping those friendships along the way as I go on to my other career.