Author Topic: Bill C-268 Canada- Mandatory 5 years for Human Trafficking - Passed  (Read 3983 times)


  • Guest
We are coming into the new millennium, slowly but surely. Thank you MP Joy Smith of Winnipeg for fighting for this Bill to pass!!!!!!!
And it took a private member's bill to make this happen. Sad.
Human trafficking bill passes Senate


Last Updated: June 17, 2010 5:56pm

A private members' bill calling for mandatory minimum sentences for child traffickers passed through its final hurdle Thursday.

Bill C-268, which was introduced by Winnipeg MP Joy Smith, was in front of the Senate since passing through third reading at the House of Commons in October.

After hearing from several human trafficking experts, including a handful of victims, and hours of debate, the Senate passed the bill Thursday afternoon.

Introduced in January 2009, the bill called for mandatory five-year sentences for those convicted of trafficking minors.

In a country that is several strides behind other first-world nations in addressing slavery, this was Smith's effort to catch up.

"It's been a long, lonely journey and it's been one that's been along the way, kind of scary," said Smith, who has worked relentlessly to bring awareness about human trafficking to the forefront in Canada. "I found out that they (victims of trafficking) were the voiceless people.

They had nobody to go to. They were embarrassed. They were victimized. They were just treated in a subhuman way," she said.

Smith, whose Mountie son first introduced her to Canada's world of sex trafficking, says her bill is just one piece of the puzzle.

"It's been brought up to the forefront and now, there has to be an awareness both at the provincial and federal level that this is happening right under the public eye," Smith said. "This coordination has to happen to ensure that, number one, the laws are put in place to arrest and make sure that these perpetrators stay away from their victims, and number two, there has to be, in my opinion, the rehabilitation piece, where victims are counseled, where they're helped to get a new education, get jobs and helped to get out of this horrific crime."

The "rehabilitation piece" would ideally come from a national strategy to combat human trafficking.

In February 2007, Smith tabled a motion in the House of Commons to create that strategy. It passed by unanimous vote, but more than three years later, there is still no strategy.

"We need to connect the dots because when a victim is rescued, they need counseling, they need very basic things like food, clothing, shelter, protection," Smith said. "These are Canadian rights and both the provincial and federal levels need to work very, very hard to ensure this happens," Smith said.

The U.S. State Department agrees.

Among the recommendations it gave for Canada in its annual Trafficking in Persons report released earlier this week was, "strengthen coordination among national and provincial governments on law enforcement and victim services."

University of British Columbia-based human trafficking expert Benjamin Perrin, who helped draft Bill C-268, agreed the bill is only part of the solution.

Also needed are more judges who understand the crime and police officers who are willing to recommend human trafficking charges, Perrin said.

Although human trafficking has been in the Criminal Code since 2005, it is still rarely filed in cases.

"Some cases are like charging someone with assault when they murder someone," Perrin said. "We should be charging someone with the most serious charge that their conduct warrants."

If Imani Nakpangi had been convicted of human trafficking in the United States, he would have faced at least 20 years in jail. In Canada, as the first person to be convicted of such an offence, he was handed a five-year term, three for trafficking a teenager and two for living off the avails of a teenaged prostitute.

By the time he is released, he will have spent less time behind bars than he did trafficking a 15-year-old girl.

"Some people didn't know about human trafficking, didn't believe it happened in Canada," Smith said of the struggles in getting her bill passed through the Senate. "They certainly believe it now. The second thing is some people don't believe perpetrators who buy and sell children should be put behind bars. They just think that there's something in their past that happens, that they need to be counselled."

Hundreds of private members' bills are introduced every session of Parliament but few make it through the Senate.

According to Smith's office, this was the first private members' bill to be passed by Parliament in two years.

This is the 15th private members' bill containing Criminal Code amendments to ever be passed by Parliament and the fifth such bill to be passed in the last decade, according to Smith's office.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2010, 02:16:37 AM by Sleuth »


  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 7215
  • The Webmaster
    • View Profile
Re: Bill C-268 Canada- Mandatory 5 years for Human Trafficking - Passed
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2010, 03:04:12 AM »
wow! i love minority governments. you know, they work better then when someone has a majority.


  • Member
  • Posts: 3550
    • View Profile
Re: Bill C-268 Canada- Mandatory 5 years for Human Trafficking - Passed
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2010, 12:19:41 PM »
Sweet start in the right direction. Thank you for caring, and doing, Winnipeg MP Joy Smith.