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A National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking

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  Although the first image that comes to one’s mind when thinking about slavery is probably a very generic one, where people ( usually of colour) are forced into field work and agriculture, the truth is that in this day of age more people are enslaved than at any other point in history

The concept of slavery refers to forcing a person to work by dehumanization and excessive control, and can take many forms, like forced labour, forced marriage and/or sexual exploitation. Not only that is it a violation of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but modern day slavery is substantially destructive for the people that are victims.However, the biggest problem is that slavery is a big business. A forced labourer generates somewhere around $8,000 in annual profit for their exploiter, while sex traffickers earn an average of $36,000 per victim.

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As for possible ways to stop modern day slavery, in 2018 122 countries have criminalised human trafficking in line with the UN Trafficking Protocol, while only 38 countries have criminalised forced marriage. However, eradicating slavery for good, would mean identifying each level in the often supply chains of commodities in order to determine where labour abuses are taking place.

Canada is taking significant steps for combating thins crime. On September 4, 2019, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $57.22 million over five years, starting in 2019-20, and $10.28 million annually thereafter, in new federal funding to combat human trafficking under a National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking.

Human trafficking is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. The extent of human trafficking is difficult to estimate, as there are a lot of victims who stay hidden and are hard to identify. The people who are most likely to pe at-risk are indigenous women (the Indigenous community in Canada makes up 4.9% of the population but accounts for more than 50% of all sex trafficking victims across Canada), immigrants, persons living with disabilities and most probably migrant workers who may be particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse due to many factors, such as language barriers, working in isolated/remote areas, lack of access to services and support, and lack of access to accurate information about their rights.

On 6th June 2012, the Government of Canada launched the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking (the National Action Plan), which consolidated all federal activities into one comprehensive plan under the ‘4-Ps’ approach: prevention, protection, prosecution and partnerships. Key achievements include: online and in-person consultations with human trafficking stakeholders across Canada, organizing awareness campaignes increasing outreach information specifically targeting foreign nationals and temporary foreign workers who may be vulnerable to human trafficking.

Moreover, The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking (CCTEHT), a non-government organization, launched the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline on May 29, 2019. A first of its kind in Canada, the hotline is a multi-lingual and confidential service that connects victims and survivors of human trafficking to law enforcement, emergency shelters, counselors. Services are offered in more than 200 languages and are accessible to the deaf, hard-of-hearing and non-verbal. 

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