QUEEN’S PARK – During Question Period today, Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Critic for Women’s Issues, Laurie Scott (MPP for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock) asked the Attorney General on whether the government intends to act on her Private Member’s Motion, calling for the creation of a provincial taskforce to combat human trafficking in Ontario.
In May of 2015, the motion received all-party support in the Legislature. The initiative aims to create a team of police, Crown attorneys and victim’s services dedicated to: coordinated information sharing between law enforcement agencies, multi-jurisdictional projects, and consistent specialized services for victims.
“Since my Private Member’s Motion received support back in May of this year, it is disheartening that the government still has not taken action to implement such a taskforce,” said Scott. “Last week, the joint press conference indicated that the success of Operation Northern Spotlight and Operation Cross Country was due in part to law enforcement agencies’ sharing of best practices and intelligence, and collaboration to disrupt human trafficking.”
The cross-border investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) yielded over 190 arrests on trafficking-related charges, dating back to 2005.
Scott Tod, Deputy Commissioner of the OPP, Warren Coons, Chief Superintendent of the RCMP, and Joseph S. Campbell, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigative Division, emphasized the importance of coordinated information sharing and collaboration between agencies, given that human trafficking is not isolated to a single jurisdiction.
Scott asked the Attorney General why the government has yet to take the necessary action to combat human trafficking more effectively through the creation of the aforementioned taskforce. A specialized force is essential to ensure sustained efforts to combat trafficking.