Mr. Speaker, as I rise today, I am pleased to say that we are in third reading on Bill C-36, one of the most important bills this country has ever had in this Parliament. I will tell you why. It is because so many innocent victims are being lured into the sex trade under human trafficking. We have numerous cases all across this country.
Last Christmas, Canadians got a Christmas present. While they were busy packaging their presents, while they were busy doing things around the house, getting ready for Christmas preparations, the Supreme Court of Canada deemed all the laws around prostitution unconstitutional.
What happened after that? One wise thing the Supreme Court did was to give the government a year, until December 20 this year, to respond to that proclamation. Having done that, our government has put together Bill C-36. It is the first of its kind that Canada has ever seen. For the first time in Canadian history, those who buy sex will be brought to justice. It will be against the law to do that.
Second, the thing that is so unique about Bill C-36 is that there is help for the victims of human trafficking. Many in this Parliament do not understand human trafficking. They talk about prostitutes, the rights of others to set up shop and control a bunch of women, and young men now, in Canada, control and force them into the sex trade. It is the most devious, under-the-surface kind of crime that people now, finally, are starting to understand.
In this country right now it has been accepted that the buying of sex is just fine, because that is what women do. However, women do not want to service up to 40 men a night. Women do not want to be coerced into the sex trade. Women do not want to give their money to people who beat them if they do not. This is not what women want.
What women want in this country is to be safe. They want to be able to grow up. They want to be able to have a life they can be proud of, and grow and prosper like anybody else.
In this House, I have heard so many speeches, but what I need to tell my colleagues is that Bill C-36 has to be supported. It has to be supported because all of Canada is watching what is going on in this country right now. All of Canada, Canadians all across this country, have sent numerous emails to me, numerous petitions, numerous postcards, and what they have said is that they want their children to be safe. The majority of trafficked victims are underage, and we are finding that now. We know that now.
If members put human trafficking in a Google search, they would see how many human trafficking cases have come to the forefront, from coast to coast to coast across this country.
I have to tell my colleagues in the House what I have done with all those petitions, all those postcards and all those emails. I have categorized them. I know every single part of what is happening in this country, because of all the compilation we have done over 10 years. I know what the people are saying in each of the constituencies across this country.
I am going to be making sure that trafficked victims and their parents are very well aware in every constituency of what all the parliamentarians are saying and doing as far as it relates to Bill C-36.
There is no reason now to do archaic thinking. There is no reason now to say, “I am confused.” Quite frankly, that is a very stupid comment. It does not matter who they are or on what side of the House, right now, in this country, Bill C-36 is a bill that parliamentarians from all sides of the House should embrace.
As I said, for the first time in Canadian history, the buying of sex will be illegal. For the first time in Canadian history, there is significant money being put in to help the victims of human trafficking. For the first time in Canadian history, the advertising of sex, those big ads for fresh Asian girls, any size, any age, anything people want, will be illegal. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that it is not the girls putting that kind of advertisement in the newspaper. It is predators who are making between $260,000 to $280,000 per year, per victim.
In this Parliament, a mom, who members would know but I cannot name right now, came to see me because her 16-year-old daughter was trafficked. When I met her, she was a typical staffer, a typical person, well-dressed, well-educated, well-respected. She sat on my couch in my office with tears rolling down her face when she said, “Why don't the parliamentarians in this country stand up for the victims of human trafficking?”
I have heard some of the speeches in the House. They are all in Hansard and everyone knows what members are saying. Parliamentarians ought to know more than the average citizen about human trafficking. It is the right of every single young person to be safe in this country. I heard a speech the other day by a member who talked about how we are taking away the rights of a person to set up a brothel. Basically what the member said was that it is a woman's right to exploit other women. Meanwhile right in her riding there is a trafficking ring going through to the U.S. It has not hit the papers yet, but it will.
However, I am going to take that speech and I will personally put my feet in that constituency and get the parents and the trafficked victims together and tell them what their MP said and ask them what they think about that.
In Parliament it seems that all of us think that we are wonderful, learned people. We are here for one thing. We are here to serve the people of Canada. We are here to listen to what is going on in our country and everyone here knows about human trafficking. Some members on all sides of the House have really taken up the torch. There are members from the NDP, the Liberals and from our side who have taken up the torch. Unfortunately, many members and leaders have suppressed the voices of members who want to support Bill C-36.
Today is the last time I will have a chance to speak to the bill. Over summer, we came to Parliament to sit on the justice committee and we brought in the most dynamic people, the survivors. I say survivors, not victims, because these victims now have a voice. They have become the survivors and they are listening to everything that is happening in Parliament. Members should choose their words carefully and choose their vote carefully because their voices will go across. The voices of parents, grandparents, victims and organizations that take care of victims, my dear colleagues, are far stronger than anyone else who has a vested interest.
When we hear people saying this is a right to legalize prostitution; it is an industry. Members should shake their heads. It is not an industry and it is not what the elected people in this Parliament of Canada should be professing. They should not do that. If they dare to do it, I promise I am going to make sure I will go to every city, every town, every constituency and I will let their constituents know. They can decide whether they want to elect them to the Parliament of Canada with that kind of attitude.
We have to do something in this Parliament to suppress the human trafficking that is happening across this country.
All we have to do is talk about the victims. All we have to do is talk about what happens to them. Predators come on as the victim's friend to get their confidence and lure them. It can even be a family member. It can be a friend. It can be a woman. It is not just men.
I had one case very recently where a boyfriend said to this young girl, “We'll get married. I love you”. He was her knight in shining armour. What she did not know was that behind the scenes he was part of a little gang that were targeting young girls, getting their confidence, taking away all their support systems through their families, their schools, their churches, all their supports, my beloved colleagues, and he sold her. She serviced up to 40 men a night before we got her out of that ring.
This is something we cannot be silent about. This kind of crime has been below the radar screen for so many years here in Canada. Everybody talks about every other country but Canada. In Canada, predators are making between $250,000 to $280,000 a year off their victims. That is tax-free money. That is why they do it. Mostly, it is because they follow the cash.
Unfortunately, in this country, we have had films like Pretty Woman. We have had films glorifying prostitution. It is not prostitution; it is human trafficking. This is where people do not have a choice, where they are being targeted and are mostly underage victims. What happens is that these victims just give up after a while. They get post-traumatic stress. They sort of look to their predators because that is where they get their one meal a day. That is where they have some semblance of security. This is how they look at it. It is a very sick kind of crime in our nation.
If we look at the trafficking cases in Vancouver Island, the Nanaimo newspaper and the people who work with the trafficking victims say that this ring has been undisturbed for years. We know that.
In Ottawa, 10 minutes from Parliament Hill, we have had trafficking cases.
What is happening in this country, now, is that police officers are beginning to become schooled in human trafficking. Some police officers who used to think it was just part of a daily occurrence that they did not need to pay attention to, are starting to understand now that behind those young women and young boys on the street is a very sad story where they are being brutalized on a daily basis and huge money is being made off them.
In the country right now “herds of girls”, as they call them, are actually tattooed by the person who owns them.
Years ago, long before the Speaker and I came to Parliament, Wilberforce said that once you know, “you can never again say you did not know”. The other part of that is: what are you going to do about it?
Every parliamentarian in this Parliament knows that human trafficking is happening. Every parliamentarian knows that it is basically our young people. This is not about politics. This is about doing the right thing. This is about representing our constituencies so that our children, our young people, are safe and they are not targeted, because this trafficking has grown to epidemic proportions at this point in time.
We had a nanny in Ottawa who was caught up in human trafficking. They are people who are often in a position of trust, a position where they can have access.
It happens everywhere. It happens in our communities, in our schools, in our churches—everywhere—and the victims have been silent. They are silent no longer, and they will not be silent during the next election, no matter what happens on any side of the House.
Bill C-36 is one of the most important bills we have ever put through Parliament. It makes a statement about our country. When the bill goes through, parliamentarians, on all sides of this House, can say that we will not allow our children to be bought and sold in this country.
When one talks about the pornography and everything around human trafficking, that is a conditioning of a society. A 10-year-old boy wrote to me about being addicted to porn. I was interviewed at the National Post, and the next day the National Post stated that this parliamentarian did not know a 10-year-old who was addicted to porn. The parents read this and called the National Post, and said, “We're the parents. I'll tell you about what happened”.
They came to visit me in Ottawa. I met the little boy, and we found out that a whole school division, and other school divisions all across this country, had porn popping up on their computers. It was not because they wanted it, but because the system is set up in a way that porn inadvertently pops up at random. It has happened on everybody's computer. It is a type of conditioning, a type of acceptance.
We should not accept, in any way, shape, or form, the exploitation of our youth. We should not do that. However, let us be careful. The world is watching what we are doing as parliamentarians here in the Parliament of Canada, on all sides of the House. They all know. It is not a partisan thing.
We have talked about human trafficking, and I have to commend you, Mr. Speaker. You are a man of great honour and you have given much support for this human trafficking. You stood by me a long time ago, when I first introduced Bill C-268. I honour the set of standards you have for what you feel is good for Canada.
There are people on all sides of the House who have done that, but there are too many today who are resisting Bill C-36 and are making statements in this Parliament that they will live to regret.
I have been in Montreal a great deal. I have worked with the head of the vice squad there, Dominic Monchamp. I have worked with and rescued victims of trafficking around that area. I do not speak French. Two of my children speak French very well. I wish I did. I try. I love French. However, I have not had the time to speak it eloquently, like most of the people do here. However, I have done a lot of work, and it does not matter what language we have, people know. Some of the most courageous people have come from Montreal, in terms of the human trafficking initiative. They are amazing people. I want each parliamentarian here to be able to leave this place knowing that their lives made a difference in the life of someone who has no voice.
I look forward to the speeches, and I would implore members to get behind Bill C-36. It is the right thing to do. If they have anything to say, they will hear it again in the subsequent months. I will ensure that happens in each constituency that each one of us lives in.