Last week MP Joy Smith came out with her Proposal for a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, and in my previous post I brought up some of the things that Canada has already done in its effort to end this injustice. Focusing on the victories serves as a good foundation for us as we attempt to understand the different components of the proposal.
MP Smith’s recommendations are split up into four main categories: prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnership. To continue in our journey through the report, today I would like to focus on one action point under the prevention category:
Ensuring that female immigrants aged 15 to 21 arriving in Canada alone be met by a CBSA officer within a week of their entry in the country and on a monthly basis during the following six months to ensure their safety and legitimate working conditions. (p.17)
Here’s the deal: many girls do not know they are being trafficked until after they leave the airport when their documents are taken away. This makes it difficult for Canada Border Services Agency Officers to distinguish between those who are victims of trafficking and those who are refugees or immigrating on their own terms. Once a person has been ushered through the system and leave the airport, any ‘signs’ that could have initially indicated a trafficking situation are lost. For this reason, following up with them would provide for one more level of protection for those who need it.
Naturally, the question that arises is this: how will this follow up be done? What is the best, most efficient and effective way to reconnect CBSA officers to those who are at risk of being commercially exploited?
How will extra hiring and training be funded? Are we as Canadian citizens willing to pay for this? What questions will the girls be asked and will that require the use of translators? If one of the girls cannot be located, will their case be dismissed or are there resources to search for her? If she is located, is there a secure place where she can receive help and protection?
These are difficult questions, but that should not excuse us from finding the answers. Your thoughts?