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Cablegate: Canada Not "Tip"Ping the Scales in Data Collection

DE RUEHOT #0904/01 3281819
R 241819Z NOV 09



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Canada not "TIP"ping the scales in data collection


1. (U) PolMinCouns on November 23 chaired the monthly Reporting
Officers' DVC, with a particular focus on trafficking in persons.
He underscored the continued commitment of the new Administration
to combating TIP, and highlighted the need to maintain a
substantive reporting and outreach focus on this issue year-round,
not only in the run-up to the annual report to Congress in the
spring. He strongly encouraged active engagement with law
enforcement officials as well as NGO, academics, legislators, and
others. He asked that reporting officers, in their outreach, keep
an eye out for TIP "heroes" whom we can nominate in our next
report. He recalled last year's successful nomination of one of
Vancouver's contacts, Professor Benjamin Perrin, whom G/TIP
eventually selected as one of six worldwide heroes. He reminded
reporting officers that having a Canadian hero helped to ensure
vastly greater publicity here in Canada to the TIP report than is
usually the case. He warned that Canada will again face a
possibility that G/TIP will seek to downgrade Canada from Tier 1 to
Tier 2, since it appears that there have been no additional
TIP-related convictions in 2009.

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View From Ottawa

2. (SBU) Discussions with law enforcement personnel, legislators,
advocacy groups, and academics in Ottawa have highlighted the lack
of centralized data collection to estimate accurately the scale of
international and domestic trafficking in Canada and track the
government's efforts to combat it. The Royal Canadian Mounted
Police (RCMP) point to the difficulty in gathering complete data
encompassing all forms of trafficking from each of the provinces.
NGOs do not use a consistent definition of a trafficked person in
their data and legislators continue to rely on a RCMP report from
2005. According to the RCMP Human Trafficking National
Coordination Centre (HTNCC), a new report with updated statistics
is in progress with a tentatively planned release by end of year;
however, contacts in the HTNCC shared doubts with poloff that the
HTNCC would meet its deadline due to problems with the
comprehensiveness of the data. According to HTNCC, there are 24
ongoing TIP cases in the Canadian judicial system and five
convictions under trafficking charges. None of the five
convictions are new to 2009 although the number of active TIP cases
has doubled from 12 in 2008.

3. (SBU) Many NGOs and advocacy groups are drawing attention to
the plight of aboriginal women and their vulnerability to
trafficking. The Native Women's Association of Canada's (NWAC)
Sisters in Spirit project addresses violence against aboriginal
women with a focus on missing and murdered women and girls. The
federal government awarded C$5 million ($4,750,000) in 2005 for
five years (ref C) but has not as yet renewed its funding
commitment after 2010. Addressing the need for basic data
collection, NWAC developed a comprehensive database of case
histories of missing and murdered aboriginal women which now
includes 520 such cases. This database is unique as Canada's
national statistics agency does not collect data on aboriginal
victims or perpetrators of crimes against aboriginal victims due to
concerns of racial profiling. NWAC has also directed the funding
to education and awareness programs and improving access to the
judicial system for victims. NWAC contacts indentified the
challenge of encouraging prosecutors to lay trafficking charges and
secure convictions as well as changing the consciousness of the
police to take complaints from the aboriginal community seriously.
NWAC is also seeking to expand the definition of trafficking beyond
prostitution to other forms of exploitation including the use of
aboriginal women as involuntary drug mules. According to NWAC,
without a continued funding commitment by the government, it will
be unable to continue these programs.

TIP hotspots

4. (SBU) Consulate General Vancouver reported that they remain in
"waiting mode" in developments in a slavery case under
investigation in Vancouver. If the RCMP successfully lays
trafficking charges in this domestic servitude case, it would be

OTTAWA 00000904 002 OF 002

the first slavery case in Canada (ref A). However, the recent
arrival of 76 undocumented Tamils (ref B) has pulled the resources
of the same RCMP division investigating the slavery case. Contacts
have assured ConGen Vancouver that an arrest is "imminent" and that
they have a crown counsel who is interested in seeking trafficking
charges. 2009 TIP Hero Benjamin Perrin will be publishing a book
in early 2010 based on several years of research into domestic and
international trafficking in Canada. Perrin has stated that he has
collected significant amounts of data in his research which forms
the basis of the book. ConGen Vancouver is also monitoring new
RCMP efforts to resolve the high rate of disappearance of
aboriginal women along the Highway of Tears in northern British
Columbia. The RCMP is unsure if the women have been trafficked,
murdered, or run away but new media attention has focused the
public's attention on the unsolved cases of more than 30 women who
have gone missing along Route 16 in the past two decades. The RCMP
and NGOs disagree on the likelihood of increased trafficking
activity during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. While
the Salvation Army is planning to open a new shelter in December to
address this problem directly, the RCMP explained that TIP would be
a lower priority for law enforcement during the Olympics compared
to overall security issues. The RCMP believes that as a
family-oriented event, the Winter Olympics are not comparable to
other international sports events such as the World Cup which
attract a high number of males attending without their families.

5. (SBU) Consulate General Toronto reported that while they have
noted a "huge" appetite among law enforcement in increased training
and awareness in TIP, it has not been matched by an equal interest
from policy makers. Problems facing the "caregiver program" in
which immigrants receive work permits for domestic jobs caring for
children or the elderly are an example of how the lack of data
collection can give a misleading picture. Philipino caregivers
have publicly voiced complaints recently that should signal
possible trafficking activity including harsh working conditions,
low or no pay, and an inability to travel freely. However, policy
makers have labeled the issue as a labor contracts problem and
emphasize the benefits of the caregiver program as part of Canada's
welcoming immigration policy - not as a potential source of TIP

Perspectives from other posts

6. (U) Consulate General Quebec City reported that neither the law
enforcement community nor the human rights commission has
identified trafficking as a particular concern in the area. APP
Winnipeg noted growing public concern in Manitoba over the dozens
of missing aboriginal women. At an aboriginal conference earlier
this year on TIP (ref C), there was unanimous concern among NGOs
and law enforcement on the need to address this issue and discover
why so many aboriginal women have disappeared with little effort to
solve the individual cases. Consulate General Halifax will follow
up with contacts in the Canadian Border Services Agency on the high
profile case of seven stowaways who were discovered in the spring.
Consulate General Montreal is now fully staffed in the political
section and beginning substantive inquiries into TIP activity in
their district.

© Scoop Media

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