Madam Speaker, they say the devil is in the details, and Bill C-5 is an excellent example of this. While the parliamentary secretary will only want to talk about criminal justice reform, the reality is that buried deep in Bill C-5 are insidious changes that will deeply harm the most vulnerable. Bill C-5 would extend house arrest to a number of serious crimes, including criminal harassment, sexual assault, kidnapping, abduction of a person under 14 and trafficking in persons for material benefit, in section 279.02. Extending house arrest to those offences places victims at serious risk from their abuser or trafficker. When I asked the minister about this, he seemed unaware that this was in his own bill, and when I asked the parliamentary secretary about it, he claimed that Bill C-5 would help marginalized communities, except that these changes proposed in clause 14 of Bill C-5 would only lead to more harm to marginalized communities.
Victims of human trafficking deserve to have confidence that the justice system will put their safety first. Indigenous women are significantly overrepresented, estimated to be at least 50% of the victims of human trafficking in Canada. By letting the traffickers serve their sentences in the community, the government is telling victims that their lives and safety are not a priority. Victims of human trafficking experience anxiety, depression, substance abuse, suicidal tendencies and PTSD because of the abuse by their traffickers. They also experience physical abuse, torture and injuries such as broken bones, burns, scars and broken teeth. These are all very common injuries. Also, after conviction, pimps and sex traffickers will seek out their victims and continue to retraumatize them through psychological and emotional abuse.
The one hope victims have that gives them strength and courage to come forward and testify is that the trafficker will be locked away for a few years. Now the Liberals are destroying this hope for survivors by allowing their traffickers to live at home in the community. It is these victims, many of whom are indigenous or racialized, who will be further harmed by the changes in Bill C-5. If these changes go through, their traffickers will be eligible to serve their sentences in the community.
This past month, a human trafficking trial has been taking place in the small Ontario town of Cayuga for a young woman who was forced into prostitution. Like the vast majority of victims here in Canada, she knew her trafficker before he began trafficking her. He was her drug dealer when she was only 17. When she turned 18, she was convinced by the drug dealer that he was her boyfriend and that he could help her get her dream career. Instead, he and his friends advertised her body online for sexual services. For months she was forced to perform sexual acts on eight to 10 men per day in hotels throughout southern Ontario. She was blindfolded between locations. The five traffickers monitored her phone and profited from her exploitation.
Let us say this trial ends in the conviction of all five of these traffickers. Under Bill C-5, the court could sentence these traffickers solely to house arrest rather than prison. How is this mindful of the survivors of trafficking? The safety and healing of these survivors are not even accounted for in Bill C-5.
Human trafficking is a serious crime and it is happening within 10 minutes of where we live. It has long-term, serious effects on its victims and is much closer to home than we think. In no world should convicted traffickers stand a chance of not serving jail time.