Cablegate: Canada - 2002 Trafficking in Persons Report

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 22225

The following is Mission Canada's submission for the
2002-2003 Trafficking in Persons report. Answers are keyed to
numbered paragraphs in reftel. Embassy POC is PolOff Craig
Bryant, telephone (613) 688-5339, fax (613) 688-3098.

Paragraph 16. Overview of A Country's Activities to
Eliminate Trafficking in Persons:

--A. Canada is a country of transit, destination and origin
for the trafficking of men, women, and children. As a
destination country, trafficking of persons who have arrived
from other countries occurs within Canada's borders. Domestic
trafficking of Canadian citizens or legal residents does not
take place in significant numbers, but there have been cases
of Canadian citizen minors trafficked to other parts of
Canada (particularly urban centers such as Toronto, Montreal,
and Vancouver) and to cities in the United States for
exploitation in the sex trade. Trafficking does not occur in
territory outside of the government's control.

Reliable numbers showing the extent of Canada's trafficking
problem are not available. A November 2000 University of
Toronto research paper published by Status of Women Canada
(SWC), a government agency, estimated that 8,000 to 16,000
persons entered Canada each year as the result of
trafficking, either to remain in Canada or in transit to the
United States. Government and NGO sources have indicated this
figure is no longer a reliable estimate, and that there is
simply no hard data available on the number of persons
trafficked in Canada. A January 2000 Government of Canada
report on trafficking in women stated that information on
trafficking in Canada is limited, and that satisfying data
collection requirements presents a major challenge for the

Sources of available information range widely, including
police reports, social workers, NGO's, research documents,
federal agencies, press reports, hospital data, and more.
Reliability of these sources also varies widely. Women seem
to be trafficked more commonly than any other group, though
children are sometimes trafficked for work in the sex or drug
trades. Men are trafficked as indentured labor, but
apparently not in significant numbers. The most frequently
trafficked persons are from countries in eastern and southern
Asia, eastern Europe, and Latin America.

--B. Trafficked persons most often come from East
(especially China) and Southeast Asia (including Thailand,
Cambodia, the Philippines) and eastern Europe (including
Russia). Persons trafficked into Canada who do not remain
here are most often trafficked to the United States.

--C. There does not appear to have been any change in the
direction or extent of trafficking.

--D. There are no surveys planned or underway to document
the extent and nature of trafficking in Canada. SWC published
three reports in 2000 on different aspects of trafficking in
Canada. After a new anti-trafficking law took effect in June
2002, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police began gathering
information on a nation-wide basis on human trafficking

--E. Conditions for trafficked persons are difficult. Many
trafficking victims are forced by violence or intimidation
into the sex trade, including some who are initially tricked
into it. Forced labor outside of the sex trade is less
common, though it does exist in slaughterhouses, sweatshops,
farms, restaurants, and factories. Information on such forced
labor is scarce. Persons trafficked into indentured or forced
labor are subject to violence, threats, or intimidation to
themselves, or to family members remaining in their countries
of origin. Victims often have their passports or other
identification documents confiscated by traffickers, which
further restricts their ability to flee their oppressors.
Victims have limited access to government assistance for a
number of reasons: they may not speak English or French, they
fear being jailed or deported, they are ashamed, or they are
unaware assistance is available to them.

--F. Canada is not a country of origin for significant
numbers of trafficked persons. Of those Canadian citizens or
legal residents who are trafficked, minors (mostly runaways
or otherwise troubled youth) and aboriginal persons seem to
be the main groups targeted.

--G. There is political will at the highest levels of the
Canadian government to combat trafficking in persons. The
government is making a good faith effort to address
trafficking, as demonstrated by a new law that went into
effect in 2002 making trafficking in persons illegal.
Funding for social services was increased in the GOC's most
recent budget. The GOC is devoting increased resources
(personnel, funding, and focus) in areas such as border
control and immigration that should have an impact on
trafficking in persons.

--H. Governmental authorities or individual government
employees do not facilitate, condone, and are not otherwise
complicit in trafficking in persons.

--I. Funding for law enforcement has increased overall at
the federal level, but trafficking in persons is not a law
enforcement priority. Official corruption is not a problem.
Government aid to victims has been limited due to a general
lack of awareness of the existence or extent of trafficking,
and lack of a specific anti-trafficking program. The
principal factor hampering efforts to combat human
trafficking is that it has not been a highly visible problem
in Canada. Another factor hampering anti-trafficking efforts
is that Canada's law enforcement jurisdiction is fragmented,
involving various levels of governments and numerous
departments and agencies. Federal law enforcement authorities
cannot claim authority over provincial cases. Finally,
Canada's strong tradition of respect for the rights and
liberties of all persons, including non-citizens, limits the
means (such as investigative detention) that law enforcement
authorities might otherwise employ in trafficking

Paragraph 17. Prevention:

--A. The government acknowledges that trafficking is a

--B. Status of Women Canada (SWC), Citizenship and
Immigration Canada (CIC), Department of Foreign Affairs and
International Trade (DFAIT), Human Resources Development
Canada (HRDC), Justice Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police (RCMP), and the Solicitor General Canada are the
federal agencies involved in anti-trafficking efforts.
Provincial and local law enforcement authorities, such as the
Montreal Police Department and Toronto Police Department, are
also involved.

--C. There are no current and there have been no previous
anti-trafficking information or education campaigns, but the
government has supported efforts by NGO's and community
organizations to raise awareness of trafficking and has
funded academic studies of the problem. A variety of
organizations, including Canadian universities, serve as
resource centers for trafficking information. The Center for
Refugee Studies at York University in Toronto began research
on global trafficking in women in 1998, and is currently
working on a study of developed country "markets" for
trafficked persons, with an emphasis on North America.

--D. Canada is a western, prosperous democratic country that
strongly promotes women's participation in economic and
political decision-making, as well as efforts to keep
children in school.

--E. The GOC has implemented programs aimed directly or
indirectly at preventing trafficking into Canada. For
example, CIC deploys immigration control officers at
strategic transit points throughout the world to deter the
illicit transit of migrants to Canada. Canada recently
adapted a "one person, one passport" policy, which, it
believes, will help deter trafficking in children. Under
Canada's previous policy, children could be included in the
passports of adults and a photograph of the child was not
required. Under the new policy all Canadian passports must
include a photo of the holder, and children must have their
own passports. The GOC also seeks to stop the spread of
trafficking in developing countries by funding initiatives
proposed by the Canadian International Development Agency
(CIDA - equivalent to the U.S. Agency for International
Development). (See 17-I below)
--F. The GOC supports NGO's, and other organizations and
elements of civil society concerned with the issue of
trafficking, by funding research projects and sponsoring
conferences. SWC supports community-based action to address
trafficking by providing funding for educational forums.

--G. The government adequately monitors the borders, but
Canada is a large country with thousands of miles of
coastline, and therefore surreptitious entry by migrants is
difficult to prevent. There were two instances in recent
years when boats were discovered trying to smuggle trafficked
persons from China into British Columbia. The movements of
known immigrants into Canada are monitored by CIC through a
--H. The GOC set up an interagency working group in 1998
initially for the purpose of consulting on the UN Convention
on Transnational Organized Crime and related protocols (the
Convention and two related protocols were ratified by Canada
on May 14, 2002). This interagency group has now turned to
some of the domestic issues and challenges in respect to
trafficking in persons. The International Crime and
Terrorism Division in DIFAIT's Global Affairs Bureau leads
this group. Other agencies represented are SWC, CIC, DFAIT,
HRDC, Justice Canada, the RCMP, and Solicitor General Canada.
(See above, Paragraph 17-B.) The group assists in
coordinating national efforts to combat trafficking in

The federal government does not have a national
anti-trafficking or public corruption task force. There have
been several joint task forces of federal, provincial, and
local authorities that have focused on trafficking rings in
specific areas for a limited period of time. For example,
Operation Trade in Toronto was a massive, multi-police force
investigation of traffickers who had purchased young women in
Thailand, transported them to Toronto, and forced them to
work as sex slaves. In Montreal, the police force recently
established a task force which focuses, in part, on the
growing problem of juveniles being coerced into the sex

--I. CIDA is providing funding for programs which seek to
stop the sexual and labor exploitation of children in
developing countries, including Mali, Burkina Faso, and Benin
in Africa; Nicaragua and Peru in Latin America; and Haiti in
the Caribbean. Through the South East Asian Fund for
Institutional and Legal Development (SEAFILD), CIDA is
supporting the Illegal Labour Movements: Trafficking in Women
and Children project addressing trafficking in the Mekong
delta area. SEAFILD also funds the Support for the
Development of Protocols for Repatriation of Trafficked Women
and Children Project, by the Coalition to Fight Against Child
Exploitation (FACE) in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

Other federal agencies provide funding to international
organizations to assist in combating trafficking. CIC, for
example, has provided funding to the International
Organization for Migration (IOM) to assist in a case study on
migrant trafficking originating in Nicaragua. DIFAIT's Human
Security Program recently made a grant of C$200,000 to a
Latin American NGO, Casa Alianza, and IOM for assistance to
Honduran street children at risk of falling victim to human
traffickers. A portion of this grant will be used for the
voluntary repatriation to Honduras of approximately 100
juveniles who had been transported to Canada by drug
trafficking gangs and forced to work as street dealers.

--J. Canada does not have a national action plan to address
trafficking in persons.

--K. The interagency working group on trafficking (see 17-H)
is responsible for developing government anti-trafficking

Paragraph 18. Investigation and Prosecution of Traffickers:
--A. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Bill C-11)
was passed by Parliament and signed into law by the Governor
General in 2001. The Act entered into force June 11, 2002,
when regulations to implement the Act were finalized.
While there have been no prosecutions under C-11 to date, the
significance of the bill is that, for the first time, a law
is in place in Canada specifically prohibiting and punishing
trafficking in persons. In Part 3, under the main heading
Enforcement, Paragraphs 118 and 119 state:

118. (1) No person shall knowingly organize the coming
into Canada of one or more persons by means of abduction,
fraud, deception or use or threat of force or coercion.
118. (2) For the purpose of subsection (1),
"organize", with respect to persons, includes their
recruitment or transportation and, after their entry into
Canada, the receipt or harbouring of those persons.
119. A person shall not disembark a person or group
of persons at sea for the purpose of inducing, aiding or
abetting them to come into Canada in contravention of this

--B. The potential penalties for trafficking in persons are
set out in Paragraphs 120 and 121 of the Act. They state:

120. A person who contravenes section 118 or 119 is
guilty of an offence and liable on conviction by way of
indictment to a fine of not more than $1,000,000 or to life
imprisonment, or to both.
121. (1) The court in determining the penalty to be
imposed under subsection 117 (2) or (3) or section 120, shall
take into account whether (a) grievous bodily harm or death
occurred during the commission of the offence; (b) the
commission of the offence was for the benefit of, at the
direction of or in association with a criminal organization;
(c) the commission of the offence was for profit, whether or
not any profit was realized; and (d) a person was subjected
to humiliating or degrading treatment, including with respect
to work or health conditions or sexual exploitation as a
result of the commission of the offence.

--C. The penalty for sexual assault is up to 10 years
imprisonment. The penalty for sexual assault using a weapon,
threats against a third person, or when bodily harm results
is up to 14 years imprisonment. The penalty for aggravated
sexual assault is up to life imprisonment.

--D. No cases have been prosecuted under the new
anti-trafficking provisions in the short period since they
took effect. The government has prosecuted and even convicted
a few human traffickers and smugglers for related offenses,
but penalties imposed have been minimal. For example, in a
Toronto prosecution brought as part of the Operation Trade
investigation, a judge sentenced the person described as the
mastermind of a sex slave operation to less than two years of
house arrest. This situation is likely to change as law
enforcement officers and prosecutors become more
knowledgeable about investigating and prosecuting cases under
the new anti-trafficking law.

--E. Reports show that traffickers operate at all levels -
as freelancers, in small crime groups, and as part of large
international organized crime syndicates. Marriage brokers
sometimes serve as a front for traffickers. Government
officials are not involved in trafficking.

--F. The government actively uses modern anti-crime methods
to investigate cases of trafficking, but until now there has
not been a sustained focus on preventing or prosecuting
trafficking in persons. After the new anti-trafficking law
took effect, the RCMP began collecting and analyzing data on
trafficking on a nation-wide basis.

--G. In the past the government has not provided specialized
training for government officials in the investigation and
prosecution of trafficking, but with the implementation of
the new anti-trafficking law it now plans to provide such

--H. The GOC cooperates with other governments in
investigating and prosecuting trafficking, though on an ad
hoc basis. Canadian and U.S. law enforcement authorities
have cooperated on cases in the past, including a 1998
investigation into smuggling from China through Toronto and
on to New York City that resulted in the arrest of 11 people
in Canada and 30 in the U.S.

--I. The GOC has rarely (if ever) extradited human
traffickers to other countries because Canada did not have a
law against trafficking in humans. With the implementation of
the new anti-trafficking law, Canada will be better able to
extradite traffickers.

--J. There is no evidence of government involvement in or
tolerance of trafficking at any level.

--K. N/A

--L. Canada ratified ILO Convention 182 in 2000. Canada
signed the Sale of Children Protocol supplementing the Rights
of the Child Convention in 2001. In 2002, Canada ratified the
Convention on Transnational Organized Crime, as well as the
Optional Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish
Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; and
the Optional Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by
Land, Sea, and Air.

Paragraph 19. Protection and Assistance to Victims:

--A. There are a number of programs and services in Canada
that can assist trafficking victims, even though they are not
specifically aimed at such victims. These include health
care, legal service, and other social services. Trafficking
victims are eligible to apply for permanent residence status
in Canada under humanitarian/compassionate provisions of
Canadian immigration law. In addition, trafficking victims
can make claims for Convention refugee status. The Canadian
Immigration and Refugee Board introduced Gender-Related
Persecution Guidelines in 1993 that may be relevant to some
trafficking cases. The new Immigration Act (Bill C-11) states
that the best interests of the child may be considered in the
context of applications for permanent residence on
humanitarian and compassionate grounds and certain decisions
taken by the Immigration Appeals Division.

--B. The federal government does not provide funding or
other support to NGO's for service to victims. Services and
assistance for crime victims are normally a provincial
matter. Victims of trafficking are eligible to apply for
assistance from victims' assistance funds maintained by the
provincial governments. Many victims are eligible for refugee
status, but this presents a problem because traffickers are
aware of and can exploit this fact.

--C. Victims of trafficking may be detained, fined and
deported. This is a source of frustration for federal and
provincial authorities who need to obtain the assistance of
victims in prosecuting traffickers. Many police and
immigration officers view foreign prostitutes brought into
Canada by traffickers as illegal immigrants and petty
criminals, and not as victims. This attitude is slowly
beginning to change, but will require more training and

--D. The government sometimes encourages victims to assist
in the investigation and prosecution of trafficking, but this
is a difficult task. Victims often come from countries where
the police are corrupt and dangerous and may even be part of
the trafficking network. In addition, victims may not speak
English or French or understand their rights or what the
police want from them. Victims are therefore often reluctant
to cooperate with the police in a prosecution.

A victim who is a material witness against a trafficker is
permitted to obtain a humanitarian and compassionate visa to
remain in Canada, which would entitle him or her to work.
Under Canada's Criminal Code and victims' compensation
programs at different jurisdictional levels, victims of
trafficking can obtain damages for injuries suffered. In
addition, the provincial governments of Alberta and Ontario
recently enacted legislation giving those provinces the power
to sue pimps and other sexual exploiters of children in order
to recover the cost of treating their victims.

--E. Protection for trafficking victims is available, though
it is a new concept. Such protection is needed, as motorcycle
gangs and organized crime groups that frequently resort to
violence and intimidation are heavily involved in human
trafficking. Many law enforcement officers do not view
foreign prostitutes or illegal workers as victims of
traffickers, and do not understand that these persons often
require additional protection from organized crime.

--F. Government officials do not receive specialized
training for providing assistance to victims of trafficking.

--G. As there are few if any Canadian victims of trafficking
repatriated to Canada, there is no government program to
provide assistance to such persons.

--H. The following NGO's work with trafficking victims in
- The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (Vancouver, BC)
- The Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women (Victoria,
- Philippine Women Center (Vancouver, BC)
- Kid Friendly Society of British Society (West Vancouver, BC)
- Multicultural History Society of Ontario (Toronto, ON)
- Toronto Network Against Trafficking in Women (Toronto, ON)
- Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic,
(Toronto, ON)
- Save the Children Canada (Vancouver, BC and Toronto, ON)
- Kelowna Women's Resource Center Society (Kelowna, BC)
- Prostitution Alternatives Counseling and Education Society
(Vancouver, BC)
- Federation Des Femmes Du Quebec (Montreal, QC)
- Alberta Association of Sexual Assault Centers (Calgary, AB)
- Prostitutes Empowerment, Education, and Resource Society,
(Victoria, BC)
- Saskatoon Communities for Children Inc. (Saskatoon, SK)
- Passages Women's Shelter (Montreal, QC)
- Migrant Agricultural Workers Support Centre (Leamington, ON)


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