THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS
OTTAWA, Thursday, June 7, 2012
The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, to which were referred Bill C-26, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen’s arrest and the defences of property and persons); and Bill C-310, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in persons), met this day at 10:30 a.m. to give consideration to the bills.
Senator Bob Runciman (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Good morning and welcome, senators and members of the public who are viewing these proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs on the CPAC television network.
Today we complete our consideration of Bill C-26, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons).
The bill was first introduced in the House of Commons on November 22 of last year. The summary of the bill states that it:
. . . amends the Criminal Code to enable a person who owns or has lawful possession of property, or persons authorized by them, to arrest within a reasonable time a person whom they find committing a criminal offence on or in relation to that property. It also amends the Criminal Code to simplify the provisions relating to the defences of property and persons.
Bill C-26 was referred to the committee by the Senate on May 15, of this year for further examination.
This is our final meeting on the bill, and we will be proceeding to clause-by-clause consideration this morning.
These hearings are open to the public and are also available via webcast on the www.parl.gc.ca website. More information on our schedule and list of witnesses can be found on our website under “Senate Committees.”
Before we begin clause-by-clause consideration, Senator Fraser would like to draw something to our attention.
Senator Fraser: Thank you very much, Chair.
Colleagues, I would draw to your attention a news story by Tonda MacCharles, an excellent reporter — I am not quarrelling with her work — that appeared today in The Toronto Star on page A-17 under the headline “Vigilante unsure about new law: Chinatown shopkeeper worries about costs of pursuing charges.”
In paragraphs 3 and 4, it says:
. . . when asked by a Liberal senator if he felt Bill C-26 would allow him to make a citizen’s arrest without being charged by police as he was in May 2009, Chen, with lawyer Chi-Kun Shi by his side, frankly admitted he has no idea.
His candid answer in Mandarin of “I don’t know” was mistakenly translated to the committee as “yes.”
Now, I repeat: Ms. MacCharles is an excellent reporter. However, I was a journalist myself for too long to take as gospel anything just because it has appeared in a newspaper.
Senator Angus: Especially The Toronto Star.
Senator Fraser: No, it is an excellent paper — absolutely wonderful.
However, I would ask the clerk to have this matter verified. If indeed it is true that the translation was in error, I would ask her to have the transcript corrected and have us notified. In terms of the substance of the issue, you may recall that I asked the lawyer, Ms. Shi, if this bill would protect Mr. Chen's conduct and her answer was “no” — I say that for what it is worth.
I wanted to ensure that the records of our proceedings will be accurate.
The Chair: Thank you, senator, for bringing that matter to our attention.
Is it agreed that the committee proceed to clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-26, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (citizen's arrest and the defences of property and persons)?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the title stand postponed?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall clause 1, which contains the short title, stand postponed?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall clause 2 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall clause 3 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Carried.
Shall clause 4 carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall clause 1, which contains the short title, carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Shall the title carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Carried.
Shall the bill carry?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Carried.
Does the committee wish to discuss appending observations to the report?
Senator Fraser: I would like to do that, if we might, Mr. Chair. We would normally go in camera at this point.
The Chair: I am being advised that we should get committee concurrence to have this conversation. Do you wish to go in camera to have a discussion with respect to appending observations?
We need a minute to clear the room. Do I need a motion? It is agreed. I think staff can remain, as well.
(The committee continued in camera.)
(The committee resumed in public.)
The Chair: Is it agreed that I report this bill to the Senate?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
Senator Fraser: A submission from the Canadian Civil Liberties Association just came in today, and I wish to draw it to the attention of the committee.
The Chair: Thank you.
Senators, we will now begin our consideration of Bill C-310, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in persons). This bill was first introduced in the House of Commons on October 3 of last year by Joy Smith, Member of Parliament for Kildonan—St. Paul in the province of Manitoba. The summary of the bill states that it:
. . . amends the Criminal Code to add the offence of trafficking in persons to the offences committed outside Canada for which Canadian citizens or permanent residents may be prosecuted in Canada.
It also amends the Act to add factors that the Court may consider when determining whether an accused exploits another person.
Bill C-310 was referred to the committee by the Senate on May 15 of this year for further examination.
This is our first meeting on Bill C-310. These hearings are open to the public, and also available via webcast on www.parl.gc.ca. Viewers can find more information on the website under “Senate Committees.”
Our first witness is also the sponsor of this bill. With that, I would like to welcome and introduce to the committee Ms. Joy Smith, Member of Parliament for Kildonan—St. Paul. She has been the member for her riding since June 2004, and I know she has been a passionate advocate for this cause for many years.
Ms. Smith, welcome. You have the floor.
Joy Smith, MP, Kildonan—St.Paul, Sponsor of the Bill: Thank you so much, honourable senators. I am absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to speak on my private member's bill, Bill C-310, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in persons).
Although he is not able to be here today, I want to especially express my thanks to Senator Boisvenu for sponsoring my bill in the Senate. He gave a compelling speech on Bill C-310 on May 3 in the Senate and, as you know, I go through every speech meticulously. He has been a long-time advocate for victims of crime. I fondly remember the day when the senator joined me in Montreal in 2009 to march through the streets to end human trafficking. There were over 1,000 people on the streets with us that day. That is when I first met him, before he became a senator.
I also want to thank Senator Jaffer for her speech on Bill C-310 on May 15. As she noted in her speech, Senator Jaffer and I have had the honour of working together on the issue of human trafficking for a number of years. Senator Jaffer has been a champion in Canada and abroad for protecting the victims of both sex trafficking and forced labour.
Honourable senators, cases of human trafficking are beginning to appear regularly in the media. For example, last fall, an Ottawa man was arrested after trafficking a 17-year-old girl from Windsor to Ottawa and coercing her until she agreed to provide services to men. This happened in a hotel mere blocks from where we are sitting right now.
You have heard of Canada's largest human trafficking case involving 20 Hungarian men brought to Hamilton for the purposes of forced labour. They were fed scraps once a day and locked up at night. You may also have heard of the 24,000 women and children freed over the past year in China. This is only the tip of the iceberg.
Since 2005, there have been 223 cases in Canada in which human trafficking charges were laid and which resulted in successful convictions for the 42 accused in these cases. This number does not include numerous other convictions for human trafficking-related conduct under other criminal offences. The majority of these cases have involved Canadian citizens or permanent residents trafficked wholly within Canada.
There are also 59 ongoing cases before the courts involving 98 accused and 147 victims.
Today, modern-day slavery exists in all corners of our globe, and our resolve to eliminate it must only grow stronger. Bill C-310 is a simple bill that only has two clauses, but it will have a significant impact on the anti-human trafficking efforts of Canada here at home as well as abroad.
The first clause of Bill C-310 will amend the Criminal Code to add the current trafficking in persons offences to the list of offences which, if committed outside of Canada by a Canadian or permanent resident, could be prosecuted in Canada. This clause was amended at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to include the two other human trafficking-specific offences: the material benefit offence in section 279.02 that prohibits the receipt of a financial or other material benefit from the commission of a human trafficking offence; and the offence of withholding or destroying documents, such as travel or identity documents, to facilitate human trafficking in section 279.03. This ensures always human trafficking offences are covered by the extraterritorial jurisdiction.
There are three primary purposes of designating trafficking in persons as an extraterritorial offence: First, an extraterritorial human trafficking offence would allow Canada to arrest Canadians who have left the country when they engage in human trafficking in an attempt to avoid punishment; second, an extraterritorial human trafficking offence would ensure justice in cases when the offence was committed in a country without strong anti-human trafficking laws or judicial systems; finally, an extraterritorial human trafficking offence would clearly indicate that Canada will not tolerate its own citizens engaging in human trafficking any place in the world.
Mr. Chair, extending extraterritorial jurisdiction to Criminal Code offences is rare and is typically reserved for matters of international consensus. Modern-day slavery is certainly a matter that has received international consensus.
Similar to Canada's international leadership on our child sex tourism laws, Bill C-310 is an opportunity for Canada to again model this leadership to combating such a heinous crime. We will join countries like the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia and Cambodia — countries that have already extended extraterritorial jurisdiction to their trafficking in persons offences.
The second clause of Bill C-310 recognizes that courts and law enforcement would benefit from an interpretive provision to provide clear guidance on what exploitation consists of. Interpretive aids are already used in our Criminal Code; for example, the one found in section 153(1.2) provides gatherer clarity to the courts on what constitutes sexual exploitation of a minor.
I want to note that this clause was also amended by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. The committee's amendment simplified Bill C-310's proposed listing of conduct and made it more consistent with the way other similar clauses in the Criminal Code are drafted. It now reads:
(2) In determining whether an accused exploits another person under subsection (1), the Court may consider, among other factors, whether the accused
(a) used or threatened to use force or another form of coercion;
(b) used deception; or
(c) abused a position of trust, power or authority
The wording provides clear examples of common exploitive methods used by traffickers in cases of sex trafficking and forced labour, while leaving room for other means for the court to consider. It also is consistent with similar clauses in the Criminal Code and international protocols on human trafficking.
I want to take this opportunity to address some of the points raised by Senator Jaffer during her speech on Bill C-310 at second reading.
She noted that this bill would only be valuable if it was supported by resources to enforce it. I wholeheartedly agree with her assertion and want to assure honourable senators that the Government of Canada stands behind this bill and will ensure that we do enforce it. We believe that Canadians who travel abroad and engage in human trafficking will not find Canada to be a safe haven anymore.
Senator Jaffer also raised the point that there must be resources so that the victims can find refuge after they report the trafficking. Again, I completely agree. As honourable senators are aware, I have advocated for a national action plan to combat human trafficking to accomplish just this. I was delighted yesterday to announce with the Minister of Public Safety the launch of Canada's action plan to combat human trafficking. I did the launch in Vancouver, Minister Toews did it in Ottawa with Minister Ambrose and Minister Blaney did it in Montreal, so we did a coordinated effort on this. I am delighted this happened.
Included in this plan are important initiatives that will enhance the enforcement of Bill C-310, such as targeted support to victims of trafficking and victim-serving organizations of $500,000 annually through Justice Canada's victims fund.
It also includes the creation of an integrated enforcement team by the RCMP which will be sponsored by the Canada Border Services Agency and will focus on proactive investigations to intercept and/or disrupt all forms of trafficking in persons domestically and internationally. We have come a long way.
Honourable senators, trafficking in persons is the fastest growing crime in terms of profit, and it is incumbent on us as parliamentarians to confront slavery in all its forms, both within our nation and abroad. I am pleased that on this issue we can be united as one against such a vicious abuse of basic human rights.
In the House of Commons this bill was unanimously supported by all five parties at all stages. This is a powerful statement to Canadians that their representatives will not tolerate modern-day slavery.
I look forward to your assistance in helping Bill C-310 become law as quickly as possible, and I will tell you why. In this country we know the perpetrators, their addresses, that they go to other countries and which countries they go to. They gather all their friends and make a lot of money out of taking these clients to brothels they set up in foreign countries. It is happening on a daily basis in this country. We know that. There are no bills or extraterritorial laws right now where we can prevent this kind of thing from happening.
I look forward to this bill becoming law as quickly as possible. I want to thank all of you, on all sides of the house, for your very careful attention to this heinous crime, because you do make a difference in this country. This is what we should be doing as parliamentarians and as senators.
Senator Fraser: Welcome to the Senate, Ms. Smith. I truly have to admire your dedication and your labours over years on this issue. We all know what a scourge human trafficking is.
It is just that as I look at this bill, it is nice, but do you really believe that it will change very much? I am thinking, for example, of the precedent of the sex tourism bill, which we all felt so good about, but nothing much has changed.
I wish I could truly have some faith that this bill will be more than an enunciation of principle. Enunciations of principle are not a bad thing, in and of themselves, but, truly, how will we stop this stuff?
Ms. Smith: Thank you very much for that statement, and I hear in your voice the same frustrations that I have when we cannot get things done. I can say that I feel very good. I will tell you why I think it will work.
You remember when Irwin Cotler brought in Bill C-49. He is a friend of mine and he had a fabulous bill. He and I have supported each other's work for years. I have to say it was a great bill. As in any other country, we have to progress from that bill.
I therefore brought in Bill C-268, mandatory minimums, and thanks to all sides of the house we put that through. Since Bill C-268 went through, we now have cases.
When you see the small number of cases right now it is very frustrating to me. It is frustrating, but we could not do it because we did not have the tools that we needed. Bill C-310 has yet another tool because we are responsible for Canadians. We are responsible for Canadians who go abroad and exploit children. This is our country. With Bill C-310 we have those extraterritorial laws, and you will see that will continue to make a difference.
We can stand by and we can do nothing and say, ho hum, there is nothing we can do about it, but my choice has been to come to Ottawa basically for this purpose. The reason why I did that is because I had a son who was in the integrated child exploitation unit, and at one point it almost cost his life. His hair turned gray in less than two years and his health broke down. Today he is the supervisor RCMP in Virden, Manitoba. He will not take money for it, but to this day he goes out and gives seminars and teaches in universities and colleges. That is in addition to his workload.
Yes, I think it will make a huge difference. I would like you to support it so we can get this out there.
Senator Fraser: I did not say that I was not going to support it. It is the first half of your sentence that I remain skeptical about. As I say, declarations of principle are fine, and necessary.
Senator Angus: Ms. Smith, I would like to add my word of congratulations to you for the wonderful work that you have done in this area. I have heard you speak several times on the subject, and the way you approach it really gets your attention. This national initiative that you launched yesterday is a terrific thing as well, and I hope you will be able to share more about that.
As a preliminary question before that, you usually refer to women when speaking about trafficking and the problem, but I understand a lot of men are also victims of this. Do you have any data that you could share with us of the degree to which men are involved?
Ms. Smith: We have found that, from what we can tell, 97 or 98 per cent of it are women, but there are men, too, young boys. There are so many that are not reported.
I will tell you about a young man in Montreal. His father was an addict, so he trafficked him at eight years of age all across the country for sexual services. He was a damaged young man, but he was the same young man who got out of that trafficking ring because it started with his father and he was passed around to many people. When he got out, he was the one that reported when girls were being sold on Sainte-Catherine Street for $2,500 a head. He has done many good things but we need to be aware of the boys out there. There are, in the Aboriginal communities, a number of boys whom I know. There is a book, Flowers on My Grave. That young boy was abused; some of his counterparts were passed around as well. Their abusers never came to justice.
When you put it on the public radar screen and you put bills like this out — and Canada's national strategy was terrific — we make a strong statement.
Senator Angus: Could you elaborate on the National Action Plan?
Ms. Smith: I am absolutely thrilled about the National Action Plan because there is provision there for victims, where funding will be given to them; and there is provision there for the education of police officers. There are so many police officers that mean well but do not know how to handle human trafficking. For the first time we have an integrated unit that will be put together and is focusing only on human trafficking victims. We need these diagnostic tools to get the correct stats and to report back. The data collection has never been done and the National Action Plan provides for that in excess of $25 million over four years to implement initiatives.
I think this coordination between non-governmental organizations that have not been recognized to this degree the way it is in the National Action Plan and the education of police forces and of government officials — all of this integrated collaborative working together — will stop this heinous crime. Those are some highlights of the National Action Plan.
Senator Angus: Is this bill an integral part of the National Action Plan? Was the launch coordinated with the bill reaching this state?
Ms. Smith: That was accidental with my pushing a bit behind the scenes. That is a good question because I wrote a blueprint called “Connecting the Dots: The National Action Plan,” and the Prime Minister really liked it. It took a year to get all the departments together. I knew that Bill C-310 had to come forward basically because of the cases I knew about.
I will refer you to Mr. Wrenshall, who had a brothel abroad and had abused children for a long time. His youngest victim was four years old. He was a Canadian citizen who travelled back and forth. He was smart enough to come directly from his country of origin to Canada. We had no laws; we could not touch him. However, he made a mistake and landed in the wrong airport. The U.S. got hold of him and now he is behind bars for 25 years. Not only that, his brothel is dismantled and his cash has been taken, so he does not feel so good about things now. That is a practical, real world example. That is why we need Bill C-310 to support these things.
Senator Jaffer: Thank you, Ms. Smith, for your kind remarks. There is a fan club here. I also want to thank you for your persistent and consistent effort.
Yesterday, when you were in my province, you spoke about how this is a huge problem. It is, as you said, like eating an elephant with a spoon.
Ms. Smith: You were listening, then. That was yesterday.
Senator Jaffer: I listen to everything you say.
Obviously everyone thinks their province has great needs. In my province, I see nine-year-old Aboriginal girls on the street being trafficked. It is a tough issue.
Yesterday it was brought to your attention that the Salvation Army has just created some beds — not many; there have been no beds for female trafficking victims. However, they are only for a detox facility. We know that most traffic victims, sadly, have many addiction problems.
Regarding the National Action Plan, I know how hard you worked on this. I am appreciative and you know we all support the bill, but we want more.
Ms. Smith: Good.
Senator Jaffer: You want more; I understand that.
Of the $25 million that the government announced that they will be spending over four years, how much will go to victims and how is it going to the victims?
Ms. Smith: There will be $500,000 going to the victims directly for victims’ services to improve service for the victims of human trafficking specifically. This is a first step. We have a strong start. All of us have made a very strong statement that we will not tolerate the buying and selling of our children in this country, or forced labour, or the selling of anyone else.
You are right; I did say that. It is like eating an elephant with a spoon. There is so much to do, but this is another step. As we go along the way you can see many improvements such as increased crimes coming to the courts and these predators coming to the courts. There is more media about this crime. You will have the opportunity a little later to listen to Mr. Brian McConaghy who worked on both the Bakker and the Picton files and who has worked in Cambodia through Ratanak International. You will have an opportunity to listen to Rob Hooper, who has a lot of experience in that area as well.
All of us working together make a difference, but I know what you mean. There is not everything in any document; there is not everything in any bill. That is when, once the bill gets through, you have to build on it. It does not have to be me. I invite all of you to do the same thing. We need this. We need laws and resources but this is a great first start. It is the first integrated police force assigned to human trafficking only. It is over $25 million for the whole initiative over four years. That is a lot of money, especially in a time of economic downturn. It is $500,000 directly for victims, so it is recognizing that victims need that support through the services.
Many good things are happening, but I share what you are saying, namely that we need to do more.
Senator Jaffer: My colleague Senator Fraser raised the issue of sex tourism. We have had five cases over the 20 years or so the bill has been in place. Most of them have been fortuitous; it has not been due to the police investigation or anything, as you know. I have often asked: Why do we not have investigation officers embedded in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Bali? We still do not have it. Will this new action plan have investigative officers embedded in our embassies in those four countries?
Ms. Smith: As I said, Senator Jaffer, it is a first step. I cannot answer that because the framework is there now and they are putting the logistics in one by one.
It is good to hear your and Senator Fraser's comments. I have experienced the frustration of things not happening fast enough. I keep telling my staff that I am not doing enough, and they shake their heads and say, “Please; no more.” You are crying for mercy back there, aren't you?
When we talk about sex tourism, this has never come up to the public radar screen. We have had Invisible Chains written by Benjamin Perrin. That is the first book written about Canadian human trafficking. We are babies in this now. As a nation, we need to grow and to answer all these things. People have asked me repeatedly, “Why do we not have all these convictions in the courts.” That is why I brought in Bill C-268.
Senator Jaffer: I know you work hard with the Americans. You brought the head of the agency here and I appreciate that very much. I know that these are baby steps. Not at all to be critical of you, in their legislation they had extraterritorial and, in the legislation itself, they had provision for victims.
I am sure you have thought about this, but what I am struggling with, as is anyone who knows about anything, is that to convict anyone you need the victim in the country. Will we be able to bring the victims from those countries here so that they can give evidence and then will we give them services so that we are not revictimized?
Ms. Smith: Within the Nation Action Plan right now, we have targeted training for first responders and service providers. They are usually the first point of contact. The first responders follow the perpetrators and the victims are there, so the collaboration between the countries is part of what we do.
If you read the National Action Plan, which I am sure you have done, we have that collaboration between the countries now and that is mapped out in the National Action Plan. I think we will see great improvements. What you say is extremely true; these are questions we have all had and these are solutions we all want to come to. There will actually be a victims centre guidebook put together to assist law enforcement and investigators in working with this crime and the development of relevant service providers and non-governmental organizations that meet the needs of human trafficking.
When I first came to Parliament in 2004, there were NGOs that hid victims. They would not talk to police. That barrier, I think, is breaking down now. However, this training on all sides of the house is extremely important and it is captivated within the National Action Plan.
Senator Fortin-Duplessis: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. First of all, Ms. Smith, I wish to congratulate you on your excellent work. I want you to know that I really admire you for your tenacity and your wanting to help victims of exploitation.
To begin with, how many children, according to the statistics, are victims of the scourge of human trafficking in Canada and around the world?
Earlier you gave some figures for China, you mentioned 24,000 young people who had been exploited there. I would like to hear what you have to say about that. And I have another question for you.
Ms. Smith: Thank you for that question. Some people say we have 15,000. I say we do not know that. I say that is why we need the National Action Plan because part of the National Action Plan is the data gathering. I do not think we can put a firm number on it, but I do know that the buying and selling of children is second only in profit to the drug trade in this country. That means there are an awful lot of trafficked kids out there.
I do know there are many victims who are being serviced and provided by NGOs. I would be amiss if I told you a specific number. I have heard numbers, but I do not think we have that hard data.
What I do know is what we have discovered. Human trafficking is a clandestine kind of crime because the perpetrator comes upon their victim as a friend and they get their trust. They operate by eventually getting them away from all their networks, whether it is families, communities or schools, whatever it is, and then the story changes.
I had one girl who had been raped and shot up with drugs. She was almost dead by the time the police got to her. We did find her. She was from a middle-class family. Her first comment when I went to see her was, “Don't tell my parents; I don't want my parents to know this.”
We need to have these numbers. When we have the integrated forces, when we have police officers trained on how to do this and work with victims to counsel them so they know they are safe, then we can get the hard data. The number of 15,000 is out there, but I do not think we have the hard data, to be quite honest. That is why the National Action Plan is so important.
Senator Fortin-Duplessis: Do you have any information on the number of Canadians who travel abroad with the intention of trafficking human beings?
Ms. Smith: We do not have the number, but there are many. As I said, the gentleman I was talking to you about in Ontario, I would just love to get him. You must consider the money. They make a great deal of money doing this. The two kinds of predators are, first, the pedophiles who genuinely seem to get off on doing bad things to children and, second, the entrepreneur who can earn more money by selling a young person than by selling drugs because these children can be sold over and over again. They are just like cattle. Tattoos are even put on some of them. It is just despicable. They are told, “This is who you are.” They give them new names, they tattoo them and say, “You belong to me,” and the other guys cannot touch them and they get the money out of them. There are hundreds and hundreds.
In fact, last week a young girl came to my office. She had wanted to come for about three years. She called and said, “I am a trafficking victim.” It turned out that indeed she was. She lives in Ottawa. She was trafficked down to California. She got out because she got so sick they disposed of her. However, she made thousands of dollars. We turned her over to the RCMP and they are dealing with the case.
We had another woman come to my office — this is in Ottawa, the nation's capital — and she had been trafficked through Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. My staff sat in on our meeting and, poor Cory, he had to bring the Kleenex because both of us were crying. She told a story where she finally got away and called her mom. She could see her mom out in the parking lot and her mom thought she had not shown up. She was being held prisoner in this motel. She could not get out and she was being beaten for that.
There are hundreds and hundreds of stories. We cannot tolerate that. We cannot get hung up on the logistics of “we need to know the exact numbers of things,” and I know you are not saying that, but we need to get that data. The National Action Plan provides for that with data collection. For the first time, Canada has that opportunity and I think it will be great.
Senator Fortin-Duplessis: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I have another question to ask if there is a second round.
Senator Raine: Thank you. We all really appreciate your work on this file and look forward to some very good changes.
I know you are very aware of the good work that has been done by the Soroptimists, both in Canada and internationally. Is there a way to utilize an organization like that in assisting with the integrated crime unit?
Ms. Smith: That organization is phenomenal. I work with them all the time. These are the non-governmental organizations we want to connect with. That is what we rolled out yesterday in the National Action Plan. They will be part of the solution. Absolutely, they have already been doing it. In fact, they could teach us some things. We need to be collaborative in this initiative and make sure that all of these components that touch trafficked women are in there.
They are so valuable because NGOs can actually get to these victims and protect them. We have now come to a place where the victims are starting to talk to police. They are afraid to do that though and it is these NGOs that help get them with counselling and such things to prepare them to do that.
If you have ever worked with a trafficked victim, you would be appalled at how traumatized they are. Think of your own daughter or grandchild; can you imagine anyone touching those precious kids? When they do, they need to be rehabilitated, they need to be refocused and they need to understand that it was not their fault. This is all part of the National Action Plan so groups like the Soroptimists will be a part of that.
Senator Raine: On the extraterritorial side of it, then, through these international NGOs, will you be able to reach out and have networks in the other countries to educate them to know that Canadian criminals abroad can be turned in by them and they can report them?
Ms. Smith: That is a very astute comment. Thank you, senator, for that. That is part of why these predators get to flourish so well. I do not think all the countries had the opportunity to talk to each other, to collaborate and to share. Part of the National Action Plan is to make provision for that to happen. When provision is made for that to happen it does because countries no matter how poor, how underprivileged, love their children and young people. They do not want their citizens to be trafficked, and certainly we do not here in Canada.
Now we are having this global conversation on top of the one here in Canada. I think we will see great strides in the next couple of years as opposed to 2004 when we first started all of this.
Senator Raine: Thank you very much. We really appreciate what you are doing.
Senator Unger: Thank you, Ms. Smith, for all that you have done. This is a most worthy and deserving cause. I agree the bill is a strong start, and it is especially important since there has not been any data collected. We do not really even know the size or scope of the problem.
My question pertains to a country having jurisdiction. If both Canada and a foreign country want to prosecute, how would the decision be made as to who would proceed?
Ms. Smith: That will be mapped out when the bill is through. First, you must have the provision to do that. Here around government tables — parliamentary and Senate tables — those are not the kinds of decisions that are made. They are made between the police forces and jurisdictions.
When you have extraterritorial jurisdiction, you are talking about Canadians. With Bill C-310, you bring it back here and prosecute them under Canadian law.
We need more collaboration in terms of cooperation amongst police forces. You heard about the Maryk children, those two children that were captured and brought to Mexico. They were taken to Mexico and abducted by their father. Their father was a Hells Angel, was not a very nice guy and did not do very nice things to his daughter.
We know when they are under that kind of care, the children have a problem. They were held inside, not let out until 8 p.m. at night and brought back at 2 a.m. My husband and I have had six kids and that is bedtime, not time to take them out anywhere. I fail to see where those poor children were during that time.
There was collaboration between the Mexican government, our police forces, the Mexican police and INTERPOL. It was hard because I was one of the people that helped get that collaboration going. It had never been done before. In the national action plan, that is mapped out. Once it is mapped out — with all the 842 things that law enforcement does in a day — we know that is a priority.
We have made stopping human trafficking a priority not only here in Canada but also abroad when Canadian citizens or permanent residents go and do this kind of thing. We are not going into someone else's territory and going after their citizens; we are going after our own and that gives us a good hammer.
Senator Unger: Thank you. I also strongly agree with working with agencies that are already working on the ground and have expertise in other countries, as well as in Canada. In Alberta, there is an organization called Edmonton Catholic Social Services.
Ms. Smith: Yes. They are excellent.
Senator Unger: They are. They help a lot of people. They are more than willing and receptive, as well as the ones that Senator Raine spoke about. Thank you very much. I look forward to watching your progress.
Ms. Smith: Thank you for your support, Senator Unger.
The Chair: I want to ask a question about extraterritorial jurisdiction. I am not quite clear on how that works. Do you have to have an agreement with other countries? In your opening statement you referenced the number of countries who have extended jurisdiction. Does there have to be some sort of joint agreement with another country for this to really have an impact?
Ms. Smith: You have dialogue back and forth, but the extraterritorial is based on Canadians in my bill. It is Canadians who go to other countries. The jurisdiction is with us because it is our Canadian citizens.
The Chair: Does that country not have to recognize that jurisdiction? You cannot simply go into another country —
Ms. Smith: Yes, you do have collaboration between the two countries, to explain. It is complicated when you have a mix between Canadians and other citizens in other countries. However, the human trafficking extraterritorial offence will allow us to arrest Canadians who have left the country when they are engaged in human trafficking. We will have the authority to do that. We can do it through our Parliament. We have the jurisdiction — extraterritorial jurisdiction — when it is in the Criminal Code.
The Chair: I guess I am still curious. For example, you did not reference Thailand, and I know that has been a source of problem. Are you saying that under this legislation the RCMP, or whoever is representing the Canadian jurisdiction, can go into Thailand and make an arrest?
Ms. Smith: With a Canadian citizen. It must be a Canadian citizen who is the perpetrator.
The Chair: You do not need an agreement from that country?
Ms. Smith: You do not need a formal agreement. You collaborate, but that does not mean you just go in. You collaborate with law enforcement. No one just pops into a country and arrests someone. They pick up a phone or take a unit over and explain that this is our jurisdiction in Canada because they are Canadian citizens.
That extraterritorial piece is extremely important because Canadians think they are home free, will get hung up in the red tape in other countries or that the judicial system is weak. However, it gives us the authority to do that when we put it in the Criminal Code.
The Chair: I appreciate that.
Senator Fraser: This bill gives Canadian courts the right to try Canadian citizens for crimes committed abroad. I am interested to hear you say that we could send our own police officers into those countries. I would assume we would need to have extradition treaties with the countries in question because otherwise we will be guilty of kidnapping. Do we have those extradition treaties in the countries that are the prime source of human trafficking?
Ms. Smith: That is where you do the negotiation. I would have to see what countries you are talking about. I would have to double-check which countries they are, but we do negotiations through extradition. Maybe Mr. McConaghy can answer that.
The Chair: I want to give Senator White an opportunity. He was not in on the first round. We will have to move quickly.
Senator White: There is a bit of a difference between investigative capacity of police to investigate in another country versus extradition. You do not always need to have both. We have conducted investigations in Thailand and have not been successful in getting extradition.
I could not find it here and I apologize if I am missing it, but my question is: Is there opportunity to prosecute ex parte if they are not located and brought back to the country, in relation to Canadian citizens?
Ms. Smith: It is a case-by-case situation. You cannot give a blanket answer to these questions. Once we have this in the Criminal Code, we have the authority to bring them back here. If you cannot find them, there really is nothing to do; you have to find the perpetrator first.
Senator White: In some cases in Canadian courts you have the ability to try someone ex parte. You do not need to have a physical body in order to conduct a trial. Do you know if you discussed that in this case?
Ms. Smith: What I was told, and I am not a lawyer —
Senator White: Me neither, so that is okay.
Ms. Smith: I was told is that it is case-by-case and first, you have to get the relationship with the country. Basically, this is based on the perpetrator, when we know where he or she is, what they have done, and are being returned to Canada to prosecute them here.
Senator White: Congratulations on the work you have done.
The Chair: We are five minutes over schedule now, and we have other witnesses. Put your question on the record and we will move on.
Senator Jaffer: Ms. Smith can correct me if I am wrong, but I have heard her say that the purpose of this bill was not if the perpetrator was abroad.
Ms. Smith, the angst you might have is that the perpetrator may be living in your neighbourhood.
Ms. Smith: Yes.
Senator Jaffer: This bill is trying to cover an offence that has taken place extraterritorially, but the person is here. The person is already in our country, but so far they have been able to escape prosecution because we did not have this bill. Is that what you were trying to do?
Ms. Smith: That was part of it. I guess I missed the context of the question. I gave you that example at the beginning. We know where they live, when they come back to Canada and what they have done. We have the evidence that police officers in other countries have gathered that and we have the files.
However, in Canada, if they go between another country and Canada, we cannot touch them. If they landed in the U.S., like Mr. Wrenshall did, the U.S. can get them. There is that collaboration between the police forces, but it gets very complicated. You cannot arrest someone else's citizen; it must be a Canadian citizen.
The Chair: Thank you again, Ms. Smith.
Before we begin with our next panel, the review on Bill C-46 has been circulated, but I just want to ensure you are all aware of it. As you know, we have been looking at that review and we have a draft report. However, we felt, given the changes in membership in the committee over the past year or so with respect to this rather in-depth review, that it would be perhaps helpful to all if we deferred dealing with this until the fall. Hopefully, at that time, we will have some consistency of membership on the committee and be able to focus on this and deal with it in an expeditious manner, certainly at the outset of the fall session, when we possibly will not have a lot of government legislation on our plate.
I am indicating here today an intention to ask for an extension of our authority to report back to the Senate.
Senator Angus: I will only offer a warning. I do not know exactly — Senator Fraser might — but often there is with these statutory reviews a provision that if you do not do something by a certain date, it is deemed that you are doing nothing. I do not know in this case what the reference says — I cannot remember it, but you do not want to lose it. If you are putting it off for another six months. . . .
Senator Fraser: It is years overdue. I am certainly in agreement, for prudential purposes, of postponing the deadline, Mr. Chair. However, I did understand we would be able to spend some time considering this report before we rise for the summer.
The Chair: My only concern at was the consistency in membership. Most of the members serving in the committee did not participate in those discussions. I am not sure we would accomplish a great deal by doing that. Then we have the summer break and we start all over again. At that point, there may be some changes in membership again.
I think if we really focused on it at the beginning of the fall session and really worked at getting this completed, we could do it in a timely way and not have these kinds of interruptions that have occurred over the past periods of time while this consideration has been under way. That was the rationale behind this. Certainly from my perspective, I wanted a commitment to really focus on this and get the job done.
Senator Fraser: Perhaps we can talk again about scheduling in the steering committee. In terms of this motion, I am, as you know, entirely in agreement with it.
The Chair: There is one other item, and hopefully a quick one because we have witnesses here. Given that there was some confusion with respect to the questions of our last witness related to extraterritorial powers, Ms. Shaw would like to comment.
Erin Shaw, Analyst, Library of Parliament: I wanted to clarify that, in law, there is a difference between prohibition power and enforcement power. Canada can prohibit actions under the Canadian Criminal Code separately from enforcing those actions, so we can prohibit extraterritorially, but actually enforcing the law would require the agreement of the sovereign state on whose territory the enforcement action is being taken.
The Chair: That is what I assumed was the case, but thank you for that.
On our second panel, we have Robert Hooper, Chair of the organization Walk With Me. This national organization has a mandate to provide services to persons rescued from modern day slavery, also known as human trafficking. Walk With Me was founded by Timea E. Nagy, a survivor of human trafficking.
Brian McConaghy is Founding Director of Ratanak International, a humanitarian organization that he founded to provide aid to people suffering in Cambodia. It expanded its mandate to help children who are trafficked for sexual purposes in South East Asia.
Jamie McIntosh is the Founder and Executive Director of International Justice Mission Canada, a human rights organization that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of oppression. It is made up of lawyers, investigators and after care professionals who work with local officials to rescue and care for victims, to prosecute perpetrators and to ensure that public justice systems, police courts and laws effectively protect the poor.
Mr. Hooper, you have the floor.
Robert Hooper, Chairperson, Board of Directors, Walk With Me Canada: Thank you, honourable senators, for allowing our organization to come to present to you on this very important amendment to the Criminal Code, Bill C-310.
Walk With Me, as the chair has indicated, is a Canada-wide organization with a mandate to provide services on the frontline to persons rescued from modern day slavery.
Bill C-310 purports to make two amendments to the Criminal Code, including making the offence of trafficking in persons an extraterritorial offence for Canadian citizens and permanent residents and adding a subsection to give evidentiary assistance to courts on factors to be considered in defining exploitation.
Walk With Me's position is that this is a necessary and desperately needed amendment to the Criminal Code concerning extraterritorial trafficking in persons. Walk With Me has had significant involvement in Project OPAPA, a Hungarian labour trafficking ring in southwestern Ontario, which has resulted in several convictions in recent months.
Conceivably, as the Criminal Code presently stands, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident could set up an office in Eastern Europe and traffic in human persons to Canadian soil, without the threat or worry of prosecution when they return to Canada. We anticipate that Project OPAPA will force parties involved in modern-day slavery to move to more sophisticated cultivation of trafficking in human persons. It is our view that that will include having Canadian citizens or permanent residents set up shop outside of Canada and deliver the potentially trafficked persons to Canada via a foreign country.
Given the work that we do inside of Canada, we have not seen a significant amount of involvement of extraterritorial shipments of trafficked persons. However, it is clear that the Roma people involved in Project OPAPA had agents in Hungary shipping people to Canada to do forced labour. Some of those people were conduits in Hungary, eventually came to Canada and requested permanent resident status after sending the shipment of trafficked persons. They became, or made attempts to become, permanent residents in this country after their middleman work was done offshore.
We anticipate that the crackdown on and prosecution of this group of organized criminals will lead to parties attempting to set up shop extra territorially.
Just as it was necessary with the sexual offences and the amendments made to section 7(4.1) of the Criminal Code, it is our view that the extraterritorial amendment to include the trafficking in human persons outside of Canada is not only necessary but is also a mandatory amendment to prevent parties from infiltrating Canada, becoming permanent residents and/or Canadians, and then moving offshore to deliver persons trafficked for labour or sexual purposes to Canada for exploitation. For example, the persons convicted for Project OPAPA all came here as refugees and could have received permanent resident status. Some of them did, in fact, receive Canadian citizenship, move back to Hungary and start shipping people to this country. They could have come back to Canada, as the Criminal Code presently stands, and not been convicted or arrested for any crimes because they would have been committed in a different country.
With respect to 279.04, the “factor” section, Walk With Me is in complete support of adding factors that a court may consider when determining what constitutes exploitation. The factors that are listed are necessary to give teeth to the legislation. These factors are required to assist courts in assessing the exploitation of persons.
Walk With Me Canada thinks that these factors will be extreme useful in the reviewing the conduct of accused persons before the court. Some examples that our front line workers have witnessed firsthand are: isolating the victim, stealing or withholding their passport and other official documentation, forcing them to commit fraudulent acts within the provincial and municipal social assistance schemes and withholding essential services, such as language training and health care services. In Project OPAPA, some of the victims were not overtly threatened with violence or death but were very subtly coerced. There was never an explicit threat to their safety, but the complete isolation of the victim, leaving him or her bereft of any dignity, help or hope, was used as a tactic on many occasions. They were left with absolutely no avenue to escape but into the unknown, without language skills, funds or the security of safety. Included in this systemic, subtle coercion was the removal of their official paperwork, including their immigration documents and passports.
There is often no direct threat but the formula of isolation. It was best described by a police officer testifying at a bail review. He stated:
Well, place yourself, sir, in their shoes. They come to a country . . . they don’t speak the language. They’ve lost contact with their families. You have an individual who has offered them a better life. They were grasping for that. They are hopeful of getting a better life in this country . . . . And someone graciously pays their way here . . . only to find out that you are here to be used . . . you are here to commit acts that you may or may not commit . . . that the money you are promised you never receive. They come from a country where the relationship with the police is not particularly good; as a matter of fact, they are fearful of the police back in Hungary. And you come here, not speaking the language and all of a sudden you are embroiled in this horrendous drama, so everywhere you look you’re fearful. The expression is, better the devil you know than the one you don't. They know no one else so they will go back.
Walk With Me fully supports the four factors enumerated in the amendment. They are a very necessary tool for the court system.
Walk With Me frontline workers have witnessed activities such as isolation of the victim, withholding language services, withholding health and essential services, forcing the victim to falsify government applications and documents, controlling their bank accounts and all the funds they purport to make in the workforce and taking control of their passports and/or immigration documents. These are a few examples from the frontline that show the absolute necessity of the amendments proposed in Bill C-310.
On behalf of all of the volunteers and workers at Walk With Me Canada, I thank the committee for allowing us to make a presentation today.
K. Brian McConaghy, Founding Director, Ratanak International: Honourable senators, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for allowing me to speak to Bill C-310 and the issue of human trafficking. As has been mentioned, I founded Ratanak International with a focus on relief and development and the sex trade in Cambodia.
I come to this issue with 22 years of RCMP experience and 23 years of charity experience in Cambodia. In my dual roles as RCMP member and NGO director, I have participated in the investigation of Canadian pedophiles who travel overseas targeting trafficked children.
So grave are the conditions of the children involved and so outrageous are the acts committed against them that I was compelled to leave the RCMP in order to serve these children fulltime.
I appear before you today as one neither naive nor thin-skinned but rather as one conditioned by decades of exposure to violence. In that context, I wish to assure you that the issue of human trafficking is among the most grotesque and pressing I have encountered.
In the international context, Canada must and does function within international legal norms. This is illustrated by our signing of a variety of international agreements. In my opinion, the passage of Bill C-310 would strengthen our position on and commitment to such agreements.
Within Canada, the constitutionality of extraterritoriality reach provided for in Bill C-310 relating to trafficking in persons appears to be sound compared to the authority currently available through section 7(4.1) as applied to sections 151 and 152, sexual interference and invitation to sexual touching, both of which have been tested by the courts.
Are there Canadians to which Bill C-310 would apply? The short answer is yes. It is clear that such individuals exist and are operating. While I cannot speak to the number of Canadians involved, it is clear that we, tragically, as Canadians, are involved.
It is not hard to go to locations in Asia and watch the grooming of children prior to their assault. It is not uncommon for malnourished boys to “willingly” go the apartment of a western male with promises of Disneyland videos and all-you-can-eat pizza. Some would even character such assaults a consensual. However, let it be clearly understood that a child will tolerate just about anything if an empty stomach is a motivating factor. Such activity whereby hunger is used as a tool of control over a child constitutes exploitation. Such are the activities of Canadians known to me.
These circumstances do not even begin the describe the activities of hard-core Canadian pedophiles who shamelessly attend brothels, placing orders for the kind of “product” — age, gender, build — they are interested in assaulting, only to have their helpless victims delivered and locked in rape cubicles to await their fate. It is clear to me that such activities, aside from the actual assaults themselves, which involve recruiting, transportation, et cetera, constitute human trafficking.
Societies such as post-genocide Cambodia have lost the ability to protect their own children. This makes the actions of Canadian predators all the more despicable, for they travel with all the rights and privileges of a Canadian passport. They travel to escape the protective environment provided by Canadian law, medical services and supportive Canadian families. They travel the globe to hunt children that have never known the luxury of such protection.
In my experience, it is clear that Canadian predators have and are engaging in activities that constitute human trafficking. We currently have laws in place to proceed against Canadian predators for their actual assaults against children overseas. We have such laws and we have demonstrated that we can use them with success. We do not, however, have the extraterritorial authority to pursue those who would engage in the associated activities of recruiting, transporting, transferring, et cetera.
Such activities are currently beyond our reach. Rather that beyond our reach, it is my belief that they should be firmly in our grasp. I ask for the speedy passage of Bill C-310.
Jamie McIntosh, Founder and Executive Director, International Justice Mission Canada: Honourable senators, I am the Executive Director of International Justice Mission Canada. We are a human rights organization dedicated to securing justice for victims of slavery, human trafficking and other forms of violent exploitation around the world. Today I appear before you in full support of Bill C-310.
In the interests of our limited time, I will not review the litany of statistics depicting the immense magnitude of human trafficking in our world today. Suffice it to say that the UN Office on Drugs and Crime has noted that virtually every country is affected by human trafficking and that as many as 2.4 million people worldwide are its victims at any given time.
Clearly, human trafficking is a global epidemic and in its clutches are millions of innocent men, women and children. While the statistics are staggering in and of themselves, behind every number is a person, a family and a devastating story. These are people with dreams not unlike our own whose dignity has been violated by their traffickers and whose basic human rights have been shredded and scorned.
Irwin Cotler, in his statement supporting Bill C-310, has rightly stated that “trafficking constitutes an assault on our common humanity . . . being the very antithesis of what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is all about.”
We also know that human trafficking is not confined within our own borders; it is a crime that has transnational dimensions that will not be ignored. Traffickers move; they readily and regularly commit crimes across multiple jurisdiction.
As a nation that lives up to its principles of human rights protection and promotion, it is critical that we establish and enforce laws to punish Canadians who engage in human trafficking offences wherever these crimes might occur, as envisaged by Bill C-310.
We know that holding our citizens to account for crimes committed abroad is possible. For example, Canada's sex tourism laws do have extraterritorial reach, as has been discussed. When enforced, the extraterritorial laws can hold criminals to account.
In 2005, Mr. Donald Bakker was the first individual sentenced in Canada under our sex tourism laws. International Justice Mission, working with the Vancouver Police Department, with the great assistance of Mr. McConaghy, was able to provide evidence that we had collected in a Southeast Asian country that identified child victims of Mr. Bakker, victims whose abuse had been caught on tape by Mr. Bakker's own video camera.
Mr. Bakker subsequently pled guilty and was sentenced in seven years in a Canadian prison for sexual assaults in both Canada and Asia. Together we have proven that it is possible to hold individuals to account for their crimes, even when their crimes are committed oceans away. We have proven that extraterritorial provisions, such as those contained in Bill C-310, can send a clear message. We will not condone the exploitation of the innocent, and their traffickers will be held accountable at home, if not abroad.
Enacting an extraterritorial provision will also better align us with international conventions, including the Organized Crime Convention, which specifically encourages countries to implement extraterritorial laws in order to address and combat human trafficking.
Indeed, the UNODC and the Inter-Parliamentary Union have stated that addressing trafficking effectively “requires transnational responses.” Further:
In order to enhance the efficiency of international cooperation mechanisms, legislators should focus on the establishment of jurisdictions, including on an extraterritorial basis, extradition, mutual legal assistance and law enforcement cooperation, including exchange of information.
Informed by 15 years of case work, International Justice Mission attests that traffickers persist in their illicit trade as long as they conclude that their crimes will go unpunished. Conversely, with strong laws in place and enforced, we have seen traffickers deterred and innocent victims protected. For example, after just four years of concentrated IJM case work to combat sex trafficking in Cebu, the Philippines, external evaluators noted a 79 per cent reduction in the availability of minors for sex. The project proved that the enforcement of good laws deters traffickers and disrupts their malevolent enterprises. It proved that laws can prevent unsuspecting young girls from being sold to the highest bidder in the illicit and brutal business of rape for profit.
It is clear that many nations sadly lack well-functioning public justice systems. Many developing nations lack strong anti-human-trafficking laws or enforcement agencies and, as a result, are simply unable to hold criminals to account for their crimes.
A recent UNODC report on human trafficking noted that 40 per cent of countries have not registered a single trafficking conviction for trafficking in persons. Even when and where the political will exists to do so, strengthening a nation's criminal justice system takes time. In the interim, innocent lives hang in the balance. That is why we urge you to implement the extraterritorial provisions called for in Bill C-310. This legislative amendment now will deter Canadian citizens and permanent residents from committing human trafficking crimes abroad and remove the veil of impunity.
This bill is a significant step in the right direction. Once enacted, we must be dedicated to implementing this law with all vigilance. Our human trafficking provisions cannot be allowed to exist as mere paper tigers. As U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton rightly noted in her country's 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report:
The true test of a country's anti-trafficking efforts is not just whether a government has enacted strong laws consistent with that approach, but whether these laws are being implemented broadly and effectively. In short, it’s whether they deliver.
I have every confidence that Canada will stand and deliver. I am confident that as a nation we will step up the fight to prosecute Canadian nationals who commit these crimes, irrespective of geographic location. This power rests in your hands. Our fellow citizens, along with innumerable victims of human trafficking around the world, are trusting you to use it wisely.
In conclusion, may we recall that proud moment in Canada's history when our land became a refuge for fugitive slaves fleeing enslavement in the U.S. Deep South. Historians tell us that some 40,000 courageous former slaves found their freedom on our soil where our laws afforded them the protection that all humanity demands and deserves.
Bill C-310 holds an opportunity for Canada to show global leadership once again in protecting the dignity and in defending the rights of the vulnerable wherever they might live; this time defending those vulnerable to human trafficking at the hands of Canadians.
The Chair: Thank you, gentlemen.
Senator Fraser: Thank you for being here. I congratulate you all on the work you do, which must be terribly difficult but so important; so I want to thank you for that. Before I put my question, I want to make it plain that if even one child can be saved, it is a wonderful thing.
I remain, as you may have gathered from my line of questioning with Ms. Smith, puzzled, for lack of a stronger word, by the actual impact of this bill. The sex tourism precedent is one that we need to take seriously. That was another bill where I certainly would say that if even one child could be saved, we should want to save that one child.
However, the case of Mr. Bakker, as I recall basically from the media reports, required an absolutely immense amount of work and resulted in the conviction of one person. He was locked up for seven years, which is wonderful. Think of all the children he could have abused during those seven years. That is a wonderful thing. Realistically, we have not had many convictions under that legislation, which leads me to wonder whether we will have many convictions under this bill.
Yes, Canada needs to stand and deliver, but that will require, among other things, a great deal of police work, even with a National Action Plan. As far as I can see, much of a National Action Plan will be devoted to training, the gathering of data and exchanging information but not necessarily doing the hard work of going after real, live criminals and getting the evidence in the foreign country in question, which you have to have in order to bring them to court in Canada. Why should we believe that this bill will make any more difference in the end than the sex tourism bill made?
Mr. McConaghy: While I share your skepticism in terms of how it appears, we have made tremendous strides in terms of the child sex tourism situation. We have had investigations, although few, that have landed in our laps, as you indicated.
The way to solve these international problems, to be frank, is to do it like the U.S. and throw massive resources at it. They are seeing very real success both in terms of human trafficking files and child sex exploitation files. Generally speaking, Canada does not have the same resources to throw at such a problem.
One of the things I have been working on most recently with a very real measure of success is developing, within law enforcement communities, partnerships with NGOs. As Canadians, we have to play a smaller and smarter game in terms of budgeting and resource management, et cetera. There are clearly skilled NGOs that want to partner with Canadian law enforcement and spend time working with RCMP and other stakeholders to teach them that your best friend in an overseas capacity is the NGO.
The success of the Bakker file, while I attribute it to very solid investigative techniques employed by the Vancouver police, was based on the bedrock of NGO support, which they clearly had. That is kind of out of the box for Canadian policing, and I want to see that changed. I think they are open to it in a way that I have not seen before.
Having 22 years in the RCMP and 23 years in charity work, I have feet in both worlds. It is interesting to see this dialogue starting to develop. Both for child sex exploitation internationally and for human trafficking, we have an opportunity to impact this by partnership, which is starting to develop. I am an optimist that both areas of law will become that much more practical in terms of enforcement and conviction.
Senator Fraser: Are you seeing a comparable improvement in relations with police forces elsewhere? Let me be blunt: Presumably in a lot of these countries, the police are involved at the very least in taking bribes to turn a blind eye and perhaps are more actively in the business.
Mr. McConaghy: I can speak only to the Cambodian circumstances, where the police are notoriously corrupt and difficult to work with. In the case of the Bakker file and any other file, you need a measure of cooperation before executing warrants or recovering evidence of a standard that will be accepted by Canadian courts. It is possible, but the bedrock for establishing that threshold of evidence is NGOs. The NGOs are very skilled at doing this. The key for Canadian law enforcement, I believe, is partnership with the NGOs. Particularly in a country like Cambodia, where we have closed our embassy for economic reasons and do not have a voice any more, it is much more problematic negotiating with the national police force.
The NGOs, unlike an investigative team that flies in for a couple of weeks and flies out, have long-term relationships with the people on the ground. They have built those relationships with law enforcement and can maximize and leverage those to get the results we need. The Bakker case is a classic example of that.
The issue for me in so many ways has been the reluctance of Canadian law enforcement to partner with NGOs. That is changing. I am seeing a different climate in terms of people's openness, even to the point where they are asking me to speak to this issue at their conferences, which is new. I am an optimist while fully recognizing the facts you articulate in terms of our history.
Senator Fraser: I would like to be turned into an optimist, you understand.
Mr. Hooper: If I may add two anecdotal things to assist you to go from pessimist to realist to optimist. It is in the experience of Walk With Me Canada. We often talk about the sex trade issues but Project OPAPA happened to be a labour case. That case was successful not because billions of dollars were poured into it by the federal, provincial and municipal governments. Rather, it was because of what is going to happen, I hope, in a National Action Plan. At Canada Border Services Agency, somebody picked up the phone and said they had a hunch to an RCMP officer who knew an NGO who happened to be a founder of Walk With Me Canada, Ms. Timea Nagy, who happens to be Hungarian by culture and knows the Roma in Hungary. It may have been a bit of connect-the-dots, but in the end, what a National Action Plan says about research, collecting and collaboration was the reason that 20-odd people are spending anywhere from four to nine years in jail or are being deported from this country; and some young men have a chance at a life in Canada.
When Ms. Nagy trains police forces, the number of survivors or victims that arrive on our doorstep goes up probably thousand-fold. The bluntest example is that training to several hundred police officers resulted in nine new victims in a seven-day period. On the extra-territorial, NGOs will need to be involved. There will need to be connections and relationships. Do not take me wrong because I do not think it will ever be enough, but it is a start and is a better place than we were when the sex tourism came in because there are resources behind this. My colleagues were left with an amendment with maybe a paper tiger.
Mr. McIntosh: The reality is that without these tools, we would have been absolutely unable to hold Mr. Bakker to account for his crimes.
I believe Mr. McConaghy and I have, on occasion, met some of the victims, several of whom are actually thriving now in the loving care that they are being provided. It matters to them to know that their voice is heard; that their offender is held to account — even just that role.
It is true that it takes a tremendous amount of work for each one of these convictions, but these are the precedent-setting, initial ones. If you look at the historic accounts, whether it is the fight of trans-Atlantic slavery or something else, it started with some laws and some legal cases. Those were often partial victories — in fact, there were often greater defeats than victories, but in it were the seeds for the next victory.
Bill C-310 in and of itself will not solve all of the human trafficking problems. However, the National Action Plan was announced yesterday, along with an integrated enforcement unit. What we were calling for in 2007 was more enforcement powers. I agree with what was said earlier, namely that we need to forward deploy Canadian liaison officers and investigators in those countries that are hot spots for sex tourists or traffickers. If we begin to beef that up, then we will be able to provide a greater perimeter protection for the vulnerable.
Martin Luther King Jr. was at times despondent about what was possible, referring to 100 years on from the Emancipation Proclamation, but he began to leverage that and other things put in place by the legislators by saying that this was like a promissory note and that the U.S. had been fraudulent on it but it was now time to rise up and cash that cheque. The NGO community and select law enforcement that we have been partnering with around the world now are standing at the ready, if you will give us the tools to ensure our labour will not be in vain.
Senator Fortin-Duplessis: Thank you, Mr. Chair. First of all, I wish to thank you and to say that I admire you very much for your support of Bill C-310.
My first question is for Robert Hooper. You mentioned that some people from Eastern Europe have come to Canada, trafficked human beings, exploited them and then become Canadian citizens. How many people would you say have trafficked human beings, have not treated others properly and have become permanent Canadian citizens after being criminals?
Mr. Hooper: Thank you for the question. I understand the committee will hear from a Crown prosecutor next week who was involved specifically in the case. My involvement in the frontline services would tell you that it was an organized situation where, before bringing young men here to work in the stucco labour force, the envoy would come ahead of time, stay for a year or two and then apply for refugee status based on persecution in their own country and move to permanent resident status. Then, when they knew it was less likely to be removed from this country by committing these crimes, they started to recruit and bring people to this country. What is known as the kingpin, a gentleman named Ferenc DomotorSr., who was sentenced a couple of years ago in Hamilton, had achieved Canadian citizenship before he was ever arrested.
In that group alone there was in excess of 20 in that ring of people. Several are still at large; several retreated back to Hungary; and several are on a deportation list. In that one situation alone, it would be in excess of 20. We anticipate that that exists in a larger group in at least Ontario, and perhaps in British Columbia, in two other groups of which we cannot provide a number at this time.
Senator Fortin-Duplessis: My other question is for Mr. McConaghy. You told us that you left your career with the RCMP. I imagine that it was not easy to give up a career that you probably loved, but since you were unable to resolve certain issues, you decided to help underprivileged young people and exploited youth.
My question is as follows: how do you feel about the fact that Canada may depart from an approach based on the principle of territoriality in favour of an approach based more on the nationality of the accused?
Mr. McConaghy: Forgive me for answering in English.
Senator Fortin-Duplessis: That is okay.
Mr. McConaghy: I think the role of extraterritorial legislation in this is more than appropriate. I think it conforms to the standards that we see universally accepted in international agreements that we have already signed. I think there are a lot of questions about jurisdiction and sovereignty, et cetera, that come with extraterritorial legislation. It is applied to very few legal circumstances.
If I could direct you to the reasons for judgment of Justice A. F. Cullen in the British Columbia Supreme Court, R. v. Klassen, 2008 BCSC 1762, in that judgment he articulately walks through all of the issues of extraterritorial legislation in relation to national sovereignty, to Canadian constitutional issues and to international agreements. Klassen was a file where a Canadian was assaulting children both in Colombia and Cambodia. It is a tremendous document that has background in terms of what the issues are that we look to. He ruled completely appropriately within international norms. That is where we want to be working not only as a nation but also as a collective of nations working to protect the most vulnerable. I view it within legal norms and absolutely appropriate. We would be absolutely lost without it.
Senator Fortin-Duplessis: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. That is all, I will give the other senators a chance.
Senator Jaffer: Thanks to all three of you for the work you do and for your presentations. I have a lot of questions. I will put them all to you and then have you speak as long as the chair will let you.
My first question is to Mr. Hooper. I work a lot with what I call labour trafficking in my province, sadly. People are brought here legally under temporary work permits and then there is a lot of abuse. I would like to hear from you as to whether that area is increasing in trafficking and bringing people from abroad.
For you, Mr. McConaghy, I know of your work and I appreciate the tremendous work you are doing. If you could be part of the plan could you tell us what kind of investigation you would like to see in place? I am so agitated today because we know that our embassy in Cambodia is closed. We are doing this bill and yet cutting our legs — that is a topic for another day. What would it look like? What should be in place, the minimum?
Mr. McIntosh, you asked my colleague to be optimistic and you quoted Martin Luther King. However, since 2005 we have only had 25 convictions of domestic trafficking. The numbers are huge, but we have only had 25 convictions since 2005. Yes, we can be optimistic, but there is a lot of work to do.
To all three of you, when $25 million is set aside for this and $500,000 is just for victims' services, it does not make me feel good. I work on the ground. When you talk about NGO partnerships, as you know, in B.C. we had an NGO partnership with the police which went wrong when the police handcuffed the victims. Since then, that NGO partnership has not been built. To build NGO partnerships, the police cannot break trust. I have a lot of questions and I would like you to speak as long as the chair will let you.
The Chair: No, do not speak as long as you want to.
Senator Jaffer: No, I did not say that, chair; I said, “as long as the chair will let you.”
The Chair: Please provide relatively brief responses if possible because we still have two more senators who would like to participate.
Mr. Hooper: Thank you for the question about labour trafficking being on the rise. It is difficult because there is no data, but I would suggest that the short answer is yes. Absent what is happening, I alluded to your colleague that I think there are two other fairly large rings going on that I could not put a number to, one in your home province of British Columbia. The Hamilton situation is the first big show of this. I think that media, as awful as it is, would rather turn the channel if we hear the word “sex” or “slavery,” but when we hear “men in labour,” it gets less publicity. The statistics are at present 97 per cent, 95 per cent women and 5 per cent men. If I were to appear before this committee in 10 years, I believe the number would look a lot different.
Mr. McConaghy: I would agree with you that in my experience working with the RCMP and the justice ministry, et cetera, one of the key things I have been pushing for in the partnerships is to have a vetting process whereby law enforcement can vet which NGOs are appropriate and which are not and basically have a system whereby they can assess that so they know who to trust. We have NGOs internationally that are actually fronts for trafficking. They are orphanages that actually serve to traffic children. Obviously these are not the individuals you want to partner with.
One of the things as a bare minimum I would love to see established with a new dedicated law enforcement unit would be a dedicated liaison officer between NGOs and police. That is cost effective to do. We would have at least one person on that team dedicated specifically to being a liaison between NGOs, assessing NGOs and figuring out who the partners are.
Clearly there are NGOs partners of great value and clearly there are others who are not vetted and we should not be going anywhere near. That can be established by law enforcement. They are investigators; they know what they are doing. That is something they can establish and then move forward so there are appropriate relationships developed.
Mr. McIntosh: I really appreciate the sense of frustration being expressed here in light of the scant number of convictions we have received. It shows you are genuinely engaged with this issue and wrestling with the human costs.
I have been personally engaged for a little over a decade in this work related to human trafficking and other violent exploitation issues, and the journey can be long, difficult and grueling at times. There was a time when slavery was ubiquitous throughout the British Commonwealth and really throughout the entire world. The story arc of how it developed was some 50 years before some laws even got in place, but you have to start somewhere.
There was also a time when in this country women did not have a voice or a vote. Yet it was one case that was taken up, as you well know, the Persons Case taken up to the Privy Council, which actually had impact across the Commonwealth.
It starts somewhere, with a few people willing to raise their voice and say, “Enough is enough is enough,” if around this table you will lift your voice and vote for the vulnerable and for the oppressed. Our teams with International Justice Mission have about 500 people working at this moment taking on trafficking and other violent exploitation cases in different settings around the world. Right now we have investigators infiltrating brothels in Southeast Asia and South Asia and gathering evidence. If there is a Canadian caught up in that we need you to help us ensure that when they come back here, or if we can liaise with government to hold them to account, there will be laws in place to ensure those efforts are not in vain.
Senator Raine: My questions have pretty much been answered. I would be very interested in the new integrated enforcement team that would set up a list of NGOs.
At this point, it might be handy for the Senate committee to have a list from you of Canadian-based NGOs who are active in this field, just as a reference. Maybe Ms. Smith's office can give us that. It would be good If you could put submit that as part of our record.
Senator Unger: Thank you, gentlemen. Your work is greatly appreciated.
I cannot say I am optimistic right now about this bill, but I am certainly not pessimistic. I truly believe you have to start somewhere and this is a start.
I would like to ask you to try to be specific. Are there other measures you would like to see included in either the National Action Plan or in this bill to help combat trafficking?
Mr. Hooper: I would be remiss as the representative of one of the NGOs if I did not say that I wish the National Action Plan said $5 million per year for victims. Of course I would be remiss if I did not say that and I would be scolded when I return back to the office.
Generally speaking, are there other measures? I think it is a good start. There is nothing in Bill C-310 at this point. Are there other things that could build upon that? As my colleague has said, there are things that could be done. As your colleagues have asked, should it be $50 million? That would be great, but this is a start.
The Chair: I will direct a question to Mr. Hooper. You mentioned a specific case of an individual who claimed refugee status and then was exploiting people from his original country. Are you able to tell us anything about the profile of people? Is this a frequent occurrence with respect to the kinds of individuals involved in this activity? If that is indeed the case, should we be looking at changes to the Immigration and Refugee Act or to the Citizenship Act going forward?
Mr. Hooper: I anticipate that if Mr. Skarica comes next week, he will tell you a lot about what he would like to change in the Immigration Act. In prosecuting with regard to Project OPAPA, he did a lot of research and discovered when there was an amendment made that made it easier for refugees, particularly from Hungary, to arrive in this country that it was something like 500 per cent increase over a four or five-year period. Somehow that got messaged back in particular to Hungary in that specific case, so coming here and setting up shop and then having conduits back in the home country became very easy. We became a very easy target. However, it is out of my expertise to indicate what the specifics are.
The Chair: Is Mr. Skarica a Crown prosecutor in the Hamilton area?
Mr. Hooper: Yes.
The Chair: Thank you, gentlemen, we appreciate your appearance here today. It was very helpful to the committee during its deliberations.
For senators, we meet again next Wednesday at 4:15 to continue examination of Bill C-310. We will have witnesses representing victims and hopefully Mr. Skarica from the Crown prosecutor's perspective as well. Once details are confirmed, the clerk will send out a notice with respect to all of those details.
(The committee adjourned.)