QUEEN’S PARK – During Question Period today, the Ontario PC Critic for Women’s Issues, Laurie Scott (MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock) asked the Premier to create a provincial anti-human trafficking taskforce.
According to Canadian law, human trafficking – as a form of modern day slavery – involves the recruitment, transportation, harbouring and/or control of a person for sexual exploitation or forced labour.
Just days ago, three people were charged with over 20 offences related to the trafficking and sexual assault of a 13-year old girl in Toronto. Trafficking affects our most vulnerable Ontarians, and 97% of trafficking victims are Canadian born.
It has been six months since MPP Scott’s motion – to create an anti-human trafficking taskforce – received unanimous support from the House. Unfortunately, the government has not taken any action so far. The taskforce would create a unit in which police officers, Crown prosecutors and social workers would work collaboratively to apprehend criminals and assist victims.
“This government has had months since I called for the taskforce, but I wonder why human trafficking just isn’t a priority for the Premier,” said Scott.
According to leading experts in human trafficking, anti-trafficking groups need more resources and a central coordinating group in order for them to be successful. This taskforce would create a coalition of front-line workers providing specialized victim-centred care, facilitate information sharing, and train specialized Crowns.
Anti-trafficking groups also need annual teleconferences in order to ensure that they can develop best practices in conversation with one another. This government has simply not done enough – if anything at all - to address serious problems facing survivors and victims of human trafficking.
“Will the government finally recognize the needs of anti-human trafficking groups and implement a centralized taskforce?” asked MPP Scott.