If you are a Canadian citizen and want to be part of the fight against sex trafficking in our nation, listen up! Currently Canada has no minimum sentence for the trafficking of human beings. Bill C-268, which would introduce a minimum sentence of 5 years for traffickers of children, passed second reading in the Senate on April 21, 2010. The Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science, and Technology, will be reviewing the Bill today from 10:30am-12:30pm and on June 2 from 4:25pm-6:15pm.
There are a few Senators who intend on amending Bill C-268 with unnecessary and detrimental changes. This would delay the Bill, requiring it to be sent back to the House of Commons.
It is crucial that Bill C-268 makes it through without amendment.
Once the Senate Committee has reviewed Bill C-268, it will return to the Senate for Third Reading and Royal Assent. This Bill can and must become law before Parliament rises at the end of June for summer. There is no need for it to sit at Third Reading over the summer break.
What You Can Do:
Write to the members of the Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science, and Technology, asking them to review and pass Bill C-268 without amendment.
Write to the Senate leaders of each party asking them to make the passage of Bill C-268 a priority at Third Reading in the Senate.
Here are some tips MP Joy Smith, who is spearheading this movement, gives when writing to the Senate:
- Keep letters/emails short and to the point.
- Be polite and courteous.
- Try to write in your own words. Show the Senator that you are a real person.
- Use bullet points to highlight your arguments.
- Include supporting facts to back up your case.
- Do ask for a reply.
Some things to keep in mind when writing your letters/emails:
- Law enforcement, victim services, the First Nations community, and religious and secular NGOs have urged for this legislation to be passed as soon as possible. A full list of organizations can be found on www.joysmith.ca.
- Article 3(3) of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography states: “Each State Party shall make such offences punishable by appropriate penalties that take into account their grave nature.”Currently, Section 279.01 of Canada’s Criminal Code (trafficking in persons) fails to satisfy this obligation.
- In Canada, with no minimum sentences, traffickers of children could receive as little as no time in jail.
- Imani Nakpangi, the first person in Canada convicted of human trafficking involving a minor, received a three year sentence for the trafficking of a 15 year old girl but was credited 13 months for pre-trial custody. He made over $350,000 sexually exploiting her over two years before she was able to escape. Essentially he will spend less time in jail for this crime than he did exploiting her.
- In October 2008, the Report of the Canada-U.S. Consultation in Preparation for the World Congress III Against Sexual Exploitation of Children and Adolescents recommended that Canada enact a mandatory minimum penalty for child trafficking.
- Last year, Montreal resident Michael Lennox Mark received a two-year sentence, but with double credit for the year served before his trial, the man who horrifically victimized a 17-year-old girl over two years spent only a week in jail after his conviction.
- The Chief of the Peel Regional Police, who have investigated a large number of cases in Canada, recently wrote â€œEfforts by police officers across Canada to enforce this law are impressive, yet they are overshadowed by the disturbing number of occurrences that involve victims under the age of 18. Establishing minimum sentences, as proposed by Bill C-268, would raise the law’s deterrent goal, and highlight society’s abhorrence of crimes that involve child victims.
List of Senators in the Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology:
- Chair: Art Eggleton email@example.com Liberal
- Deputy Chair: Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie firstname.lastname@example.org Conservative
- Member: Catherine S. Callbeck email@example.com Liberal
- Member: Andre Champagne firstname.lastname@example.org Conservative
- Member: Jane Cordy email@example.com Liberal
- Member: Jacques Demers firstname.lastname@example.org Conservative
- Member: Lillian Eva Dyck email@example.com Liberal
- Member: Nicole Eaton firstname.lastname@example.org Conservative
- Member: Yonah Martin email@example.com Conservative
- Member: Pana Merchant firstname.lastname@example.org Liberal
- Member: Judith Seidman email@example.com Conservative
Letters Can Be Mailed To:
[Senator’s name], Senator
Senate of Canada
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Let’s make a difference in Canada this week!