Anti-human trafficking efforts in Canada, Aboriginal girls remain forgotten

In one’s experience working at a nonprofit organization, an advocate is well aware of the tendency of the government authorities when dealing with the human rights issues. More often than not, human rights issues will not be taken seriously enough without the external pressure. The Canadian government is not an exception to such case. Though it takes human rights issues very seriously, the external pressure such as, that of the U.S. government, appears to be a necessary component for the Canadian government to take further initiatives in protecting human rights for some people. The Canadian government’s anti-humant trafficking efforts demonstrates a good example of such case. According to the news reports for the past few months, the Canadian authority literally announced the increased efforts to fight against human trafficking as soon as he met with the U.S. authority.

Yes, the Canadian government responded to the pressure from the U.S. government

Prior to the Canadian government’s increased anti-human trafficking efforts, media has reported the advocates’ ongoing concerns for possible increase of sex trafficking victims during the 2010 Olympics. Though it ignored the voices of advocates to take further initiatives in its fight against human trafficking, the Canadian authorities certainly increased its efforts to beat down the traffickers as it quickly responded to the pressure from the U.S. authorities. [1] The same report also noted the Canadian federal authority’s response to the interview regarding Canada’s anti-human trafficking efforts as follows:[2]

We have not seen any evidence of any special human trafficking plans that organized crime, say, might be utilizing around the Olympics, but it is a focus of our attention [emphasis added]

The Canadian government takes an easy rout: cracking down on immigrants

The Canadian government took the easiest rout to demonstrate its effort to fight against human trafficking by cracking down immigrants and their visa status. The media began to report police arrests of some immigrants followed by the reports on their deportation. A Chinese woman in Calgary who allegedly attempted to sell sexual services of two women for $8000 to an undercover cop was arrested a few weeks ago. However, she was quickly bailed, and the two victims were deported without further assistance or treatments. The Canadian government further continued its focus on tightening immigration control to beat down human trafficking in Vancouver. In December, 19th, 2009, a pregnant woman who is a mother of three children was facing deportation for her alleged involvement in human trafficking ring. [3]

Crackdown on immigrants, but forget about Aboriginal women- the true sex trafficking victims in Canada

Sex trafficking of Aboriginal females in Canada has been rampant for a long time even before the human trafficking issue became such a huge deal in the international community. While no record of national statistics is available on sex trafficking of Aboriginal women, individual studies point out high percentage of their victimization within the Canadian border. [4] According to the research, between 70 percent of sexual exploited Aboriginal girls and 50 percent sex workers in Winnipeg are of Aboriginal descent. [5] The figure is clearly alarming since “Aboriginal peoples only make up 10 percent of the Winnipeg population.”[6] The same research also stated that poverty, physical and sexual abuse, homelessness, racism, and low self-esteem are the contributing factors behind the over representation of Aboriginal women in sex trafficking. [7] Yet, the Canadian government has failed to address such root causes of sex trafficking involving Aboriginal women for a long time.[8]

If the Olympics is held in Prairie providence

If the Olympics is held in Prairie providence, where most sex trafficking victims from Aboriginal community reside, the problem involving sex trafficking of Aboriginal females would have received the attention from the media and the government that they rightly deserve. After all, the international community including the U.S. government would have prompted the Canadian authorities to clean up the streets before the Olympics in Prairie. Granted blaming the immigrants for rampant human trafficking by cracking down on their visa status is a quick fix for any government to show some anti-human trafficking efforts to the international community, particularly when facing a huge global event like the Olympics. It also became a great outlet for many governments to demonstrate some efforts to fight against human trafficking in their own soils before the U.S. States Department. Surely, illegal immigrants involved in human trafficking will more likely be cleaned out of the street corners in Vancouver as a result of its anti-human trafficking effort. However, if the Canadian government continues to ignore the rampant sex trafficking of Aboriginal women and refuse to address the root cases of human trafficking in the country, The human trafficking will never stop in the country, and Canada will certainly retain its notorious reputation as a safe haven for organized criminals.



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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Interesting articles about Canada

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