Madam Speaker, the problem with requiring fear in trafficking cases is that the burden is placed on the victims. A 2013 review of our human trafficking offences highlights that this “standard focuses scrutiny and inquiry on the inner workings of a victim’s mind rather than on a trafficker’s actions and, hence, makes the victim’s testimony crucially important to the case.” It further notes, “Given this complexity in proving exploitation, one can understand why prosecutors have shied away from human trafficking charges or allowed the charge to be dropped in the plea bargain process.” Our laws need to be written in a way that can help the police and prosecutors bring justice to human traffickers instead of being an obstacle.
In the last Parliament, the member for Oshawa tabled a bill that would bring our human trafficking offences in line with the Palermo protocol. Having spoken to law enforcement and NGOs across Canada, I can attest that this is their desire as well.
Would the parliamentary secretary be willing to consider the bill when it comes back to the House, or, even better, would the government bring it forward itself when it brings forward other legislation? From the parliamentary secretary's response, I am not convinced that the government understands the issue.