The U.S. State Department 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report was released this week, celebrating its 10th year anniversary. Here is why I am excited: for the first time in the history of this report, the U.S. included itself in the list of countries analyzed. Finally! Over the years my biggest irk about this human trafficking report has been the fact that every country except for the U.S. itself was graded on their anti-trafficking performance. Good on Hilary Clinton and her team for seeing this selectiveness as a problem and including their own country in the report. This is definitely a step in the right direction.
It has been 10 years since the United Nations adopted the Palermo Protocol, which was a global consensus that something must be done about trafficking of human beings. The Protocol held that governments should adopt a 3-P Paradigm: Prevention, Criminal Prosecution, and Victim Protection. The U.S. State Department released the first Trafficking in Persons Report in 2000, and this year offer a fact sheet summarizing their progress and giving some key figures from the 2010 Report.
Here are some of the basics:
- There are an estimated 12.3 million adults and children in forced labor, bonded labor, and forced prostitution around the world. 56% of these are women and girls.
- Human trafficking is a $32 billion annual trade for traffickers.
- 4,166 successful trafficking prosecutions in 2009, which was a 40% increase over 2008.
- Countries that have yet to convict a trafficker under laws in compliance with the Palermo Protocol: 62
- Countries without laws, policies, or regulations to prevent victims’ deportation: 104
- Canada is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to trafficking in persons, specifically forced prostitution, and to a lesser extent, forced labor.
- Canadian women and girls, specifically from the Aboriginal community, are found in conditions of commercial sexual exploitation across the country.
- Foreign women and children, primarily from Asia and Eastern Europe, are subjected to forced prostitution. Most of these victims are from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines, Romania, Ukraine, and Moldova. Most Asian victims end up in Vancouver, while those from Eastern Europe are usually found in Toronto and Montreal.
- Canada is a significant source country for child sex tourists, who travel abroad to engage in sex acts with children.
- Accurate data on human trafficking investigations was hard to obtain, due in part to the highly decentralized nature of the government’s anti-trafficking efforts.
- Courts convicted one trafficking offender under the anti-trafficking law and achieved at least three other convictions under trafficking-related sections of the Criminal Code during the reporting period.
- Though there are anti-trafficking laws in place, a minimum sentence does not exist. A private member’s bill establishing a minimum sentence of 5 years for trafficking of children is in progress.
- There were at least 32 human trafficking cases before the courts as of late February 2010, involving 40 accused trafficking offenders and 46 victims. All but one of these cases involved sex trafficking.
Recommendations for Canada:
- Intensify efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses
- Increase the use of proactive law enforcement techniques to investigate trafficking cases
- Increase the efforts to investigate and prosecute Canadian sex tourists
- Ensure that foreign trafficking victims are identified instead of deported
- Strengthen coordination among national and provincial governments
Get the full details on Canada’s trafficking situation here. We certainly have our work cut out for us, but thanks to Benjamin Perrin, MP Joy Smith, Naomi Baker, Michelle Miller and many others, we can put an end to sexual exploitation in our country!