Cablegate: Canada Striving to Combat Tip

DE RUEHOT #1560/01 3512229
O 162229Z DEC 08





E.O. 12958: N/A

B. OTTAWA 1072
C. OTTAWA 1546

1. (SBU) Summary: Canada has an active inter-agency working group
to combat trafficking in persons, as well as a variety of NGO
efforts. More comprehensive research and statistics, a national
action plan, greater co-ordination among national and provincial
government agencies and NGOs, and greater investment in victim
services would improve overall anti-TIP performance. One
Conservative Member of Parliament has made TIP a top legislative and
political priority. End summary.

2. (U) G/TIP official Barbara Fleck visited Ottawa and Toronto
during the week of December 8 for consultations with Canadian
officials about Canada's ongoing efforts to combat trafficking in
persons and how better to improve its performance. (Septel will
cover discussions and anti-TIP efforts in Toronto.)


3. (SBU) A federal Interdepartmental Working Group on Trafficking in
Persons (IWGTIP), which the Departments of Justice and Public Safety
co-chair, shares information among its members on a regular basis
and meets at least twice per year. (IWGTIP last met in spring 2008
and will meet again in December.) IWGTIP coordinates the anti-TIP
work of 17 federal departments and agencies: the Canada Border
Services Agency (CBSA); Canadian International Development Agency
(CIDA); Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS); Department of
Citizenship and Immigration; the Financial Transactions Reports
Analysis Centre (FINTRAC); Department of Foreign Affairs and
International Trade (DFAIT); Department of Health; Department of
Canadian Heritage; Department of Human Resources and Skills
Development; Department of Indian and Northern Affairs; Department
of Justice; Passport Canada agency; Privy Council Office; Department
of Public Safety; Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP); Statistics
Canada agency; and, Status of Women agency.

4. (SBU) Representatives from the RCMP, CBSA, and FINTRAC reported
excellent cross-border working relationships with U.S. law
enforcement agencies, including two ongoing investigations of
potential human trafficking rings operating in Western Canada. The
RCMP also conducts TIP training workshops across Canada for
approximately 150 law enforcement, border, and immigration officials
per month, and has invited ICE special agents to conduct some
workshops. IWGTIP officials downplayed expectations of an increase
in trafficking during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games,
contrary to the views of some NGOs. The RCMP has nonetheless
provided training in trafficking awareness to more than 260 law
enforcement officers in preparation for the 2010 Games. The RCMP
has six Human Trafficking Awareness Coordinators nationwide working
with NGOs, social services agencies, and local communities.

5. (SBU) Public Safety Canada manages an ongoing public education
initiative including posters and other education materials. Public
Safety recently signed an agreement to partner with the Canadian
Crime Stoppers Association to use its toll-free telephone hotline,
and plans to train Crime Stoppers hotline operators to identify
potential TIP cases. The roll-out of the new partnership will
include a poster, video, radio and print advertising campaign (ref


6. (SBU) Many observers view a lack of reliable statistical data and
information sharing as major challenges to more effective anti-TIP
activities. For example, trafficking victims who make asylum claims
Qactivities. For example, trafficking victims who make asylum claims
are counted as refugee applicants and are unlikely to appear as
trafficking victims in official statistics. Statistics Canada is
currently conducting a feasibility study, due for completion in
April 2009, for nationwide collection of anti-trafficking case data
and statistics. Dr. Marlene Dalley of RCMP's National Missing
Children Services indicated that reliable data relating to child
trafficking in Canada remains difficult to gather. She pointed to
two particularly vulnerable populations of children: Canada's
estimated 55,000 runaways; and, aboriginal minors who fall victim to
substance abuse, poverty, and homelessness. Dalley commented that
it was unclear how many of these children may be victims of
trafficking, mostly because some police officers do not identify
many TIP cases on the ground.


7. (SBU) In separate meetings, representatives of the Native
Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) and Persons Against the Crime

OTTAWA 00001560 002 OF 003

of Trafficking in Humans (PACT-Ottawa) insisted that Canada remains
a source, destination, and transit country for trafficking in
persons, even though the Canadian government does not view itself as
a major "source" country for domestic human trafficking. In
addition to international trafficking through Canada's major cities,
they reported organized internal flows of women and girls to Western
Canada to provide oil and gas workers with commercial sex services.
Girls and children also move from aboriginal communities in northern
Canada to work in the commercial sex sector in urban areas.
According to the NGOs, the problem of internal trafficking of
aboriginal girls and children is "huge." In recent decades, over
500 aboriginal women have been murdered or gone missing; NWAC
believes some of these women likely were victims of trafficking.
The Canadian government has partnered with NWAC on a five-year
"Sisters in Spirit" initiative (2005-2010) to address violence in
aboriginal communities and the high rates of missing and murdered
aboriginal women (ref C). According to the NGOs, there is still a
pressing need for more statistical research "across the board" to
define the scale of the problem and form the basis for future
advocacy and action.


8. (SBU) NWAC and PACT-Ottawa officials also identified improved
victim services and increased shelter capacity as additional
prerequisites for more effective law enforcement action. They
expressed concern that Canada's practice of detaining foreign
trafficking victims in immigration detention centers -- rather than
in shelters where they can receive social and medical support --
deters victims from seeking assistance. (Note: There are
immigration detention facilities in Toronto, Montreal, and
Vancouver. End note.) The lack of shelters and victims' services
may also be a factor in the low demand for Temporary Residence
Permits (TRPs) for trafficked victims; reportedly, only 31 TRPs
(including renewals) have been issued since May 2006. Referrals and
victims' services operate largely on an ad hoc basis; lack of
documentation for trafficked persons makes it more likely that these
victims could "fall through the cracks," mostly because TIP victims
do not easily meet the definitional requirements for being a victim
of domestic violence (which provides easier access to government

9. (SBU) Six shelters operate currently in Ottawa, all provincially
funded, to serve victims of domestic violence and their children.
Immigrant Women Services Ottawa provides interpretation services for
female victims unable to communicate in English or French. While
Ottawa shelter providers cited incidents of suspected trafficking
cases among immigrant women and aboriginal youth, they added that
they have never been formally trained to identify victims of
trafficking, and were eager to learn more about TIP. (Poloff
subsequently introduced the shelter management to several NGO
activists eager to raise awareness of TIP.) Shelter staff
underlined the need for facilities exclusively for single women,
whose challenges, such as trauma and addictions, are often difficult
to address in an environment with children. Interval House, an
Ottawa shelter, hopes to build a facility for single women if it can
attract sufficient funds; it currently has only four beds -- which
are always full -- for women without children.


10. (SBU) MP Joy Smith (Conservative-Winnipeg), a vocal proponent of
Q10. (SBU) MP Joy Smith (Conservative-Winnipeg), a vocal proponent of
strengthened anti-trafficking measures, has called on the government
to adopt a national action plan to combat trafficking. She also
advocates a comprehensive strategy combining all levels of
government, law enforcement, and NGOs to fight TIP, incorporating
increased enforcement of existing anti-trafficking laws, greater law
enforcement training, deeper linkages with the NGO community,
support for victim shelters and rehabilitation services, and more
educational and prevention efforts. Smith has suggested creation of
a new position of Minister of State for Trafficking In Persons, and
is encouraging fellow parliamentarians to place TIP higher on the
government's justice agenda.

11. (SBU) Smith said that she intends to introduce at least two
private member bills in the 2009 legislative session addressing
trafficking: one would establish mandatory minimum sentencing for
commercial sexual exploitation of persons younger than age 18; and
the second would strengthen notification requirements when sexual
predators travel abroad. Smith, whose son is an RCMP officer,
commented that law enforcement agents were still not fully aware of
the scope or nature of trafficking, and that the number of
prosecutions remained far lower than it should be. British Columbia
is currently the only province to have established an office
dedicated to combating trafficking (ref A). Smith praised the
Harper government's efforts to reduce issuance of "exotic dancer"

OTTAWA 00001560 003 OF 003

visas -- which likely had previously been used to traffic foreign
women into Canada's sex trade -- from a past high of several hundred
to only two or three per year now. Smith noted that the adult
entertainment industry had already threatened a legal challenge to
the government's reduction of visas in this category.

12. (U) G/TIP has cleared this cable.


© Scoop Media

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