Thanks for the question. It's a good one.
I think someone alluded to this earlier. In the years following the enactment of the Criminal Code offences on human trafficking, there was a certain period of time during which implementation was required, so you weren't seeing charges laid for those specific offences for a number of years. In the early years of the prosecutions, the principal challenge related to proving the element of exploitation, which requires evidence to show that a person in the shoes of the victim would have feared for their safety if they'd refused to provide labour or services. There was a lot of uncertainty around that element in the initial days, which led to law reform to help courts and prosecutors understand the kinds of evidence required to successfully establish exploitation.
Would I say there are gaps in the law now? It's very difficult for me to answer that. What I can say is that based on the case law, we can see that the courts are now understanding the essential requirements for the offence. They're becoming more comfortable with the kinds of evidence that are required. But by its very nature, human trafficking will always be a difficult offence to investigate because of the power dynamics between the victim and the trafficker. The importance of training and continually reinforcing knowledge among the policing and crown community is really critical, from my perspective.