Actions to Combat Human Trafficking
On this page:
- A National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking
- Federal Approach to Date
- Overview of 2018 Consultations
- International Efforts
Canada’s National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking
The Government of Canada has long recognized the importance of a comprehensive, coordinated and multi-faceted national approach to respond to human trafficking. On September 4, 2019, the Government of Canada announced the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking (National Strategy). The National Strategy is supported by an investment of $57.22 million over five years, starting in 2019-20, with $10.28 million annually thereafter.
The National Strategy puts in place a coordinated framework to guide the Government of Canada’s anti-human trafficking efforts in a way that will empower victims and survivors; prevent more of these crimes from taking place; better protect those who are most vulnerable to trafficking; prosecute human traffickers for their heinous crimes; and embrace partnerships with provinces and territories and other organizations to maximize the impact of efforts.
Building on existing anti-trafficking efforts, the National Strategy is a comprehensive response to the crime of human trafficking. It includes enhanced supports to victims and survivors of human trafficking to regain control and independence; increased awareness and capacity-building efforts to prevent the victimization of vulnerable and marginalized populations; and improved criminal justice system experiences for victims and survivors. The National Strategy is a flexible framework that will guide federal efforts towards combatting human trafficking and allow the Government of Canada to be responsive to new emerging trends.
The National Strategy will help ensure that Canada and individuals are protected from all forms of human trafficking and harms associated with the crime.
The National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking includes activities undertaken by:
- Public Safety Canada
- Canada Border Services Agency
- Department for Women and Gender Equality
- Employment and Social Development Canada
- Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada
- Global Affairs Canada
- Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
- Public Services and Procurement Canada
- National Defence Canada
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- Statistics Canada
Federal Government Approach to Date
Canada was among the first countries to ratify the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. Federal anti-human trafficking efforts are guided by the Protocol and, through a four-pillar approach, seek to:
- prevent human trafficking from occurring;
- protect victims of human trafficking;
- bring perpetrators to justice; and
- build partnerships domestically and internationally.
The Government of Canada's National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, 2012-2016, consolidated the federal government's efforts to combat human trafficking and introduced new initiatives to prevent human trafficking, identify victims, protect the most vulnerable, and prosecute perpetrators. A Human Trafficking Taskforce, led by Public Safety Canada and comprised of key departments, was responsible for overseeing the implementation of the National Action Plan commitments, coordinating the federal anti-human trafficking response and publicly reporting annually on progress.
The 2016-2017 Horizontal Evaluation of the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking concluded that human trafficking continues to occur in Canada and that a coordinated national approach to tackling this crime is still required. The Human Trafficking Taskforce continues to be the dedicated focal point for federal anti-human trafficking efforts.
In 2019, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness appointed an interim Special Advisor to Combat Human Trafficking, Shirley Cuillierrier, to provide advice and recommendations to the Government of Canada on anti-human trafficking efforts, raise awareness on the issue both domestically and internationally, and share best practices.
Overview of 2018 Consultations
In September and October of 2018, Public Safety Canada led a series of national consultations, guided by a discussion paper, that brought together over 200 stakeholders in order to inform the Government of Canada’s way forward to end human trafficking. Regional roundtables were held in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Montreal, a meeting was held in Ottawa, and a National Summit and Survivor Roundtable were held in Toronto to promote open discussion between the Government of Canada, law enforcement, provinces and territories, Indigenous representatives, sex work organizations, and private sector and civil society stakeholders.
For more information on the consultations, visit Consulting with Canadians.
Canada’s International Obligations, Commitments and Engagement
Canada’s approach to human trafficking is guided by its international obligations under the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. Canada ratified the Convention and the Protocol in 2002.
Canada is committed to supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), where trafficking in persons is explicitly mentioned in targets 5.2, 8.7, and 16. In particular, target 8.7 calls for immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers. Canada also supports the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration, which includes an objective to prevent, combat, and eradicate trafficking in persons.
Canada is active in international efforts to counter human trafficking. Canada promotes the accession to and implementation of international legal instruments, and shares best practices, experiences and lessons learned through its participation in regional and multilateral processes such as:
- United Nations
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
- Alliance 8.7
- Organization of American States (OAS)
- Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
- International Labor Organization (ILO)
- Regional Conference on Migration (RCM – Americas)
- Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime
- Global Compact for Migration
- Global Compact for Refugees
- G7 and its Roma-Lyon Group
- Canada-United States-Mexico trilateral Working Group on Trafficking in Persons
Visit Related Links to learn more about Canada’s international commitments.
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