Nine Point Plan Would Make Alberta a Leader in Fighting ‘Modern Slavery’
CALGARY, AB (February 22, 2019): Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery and it’s time for Alberta to take real action to fight it, according to United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney.
Kenney unveiled his party’s nine point action plan on Human Trafficking Awareness Day, saying it was designed to prevent trafficking, protect victims, and prosecute traffickers.
“There is a myth that human trafficking is something that only happens in the developing world,” Kenney said. “The truth is that it’s right here in Alberta, where vulnerable people – especially women and girls – get trapped and exploited every day. Reported incidence of this horrible crime have skyrocketed in recent years, and experts believe that most trafficking is still under ground.”
Kenney said that he is motivated to take action on human trafficking given his federal and international experience.
“Over twenty years ago I joined with parliamentarians from other countries to start a global campaign for action against human trafficking. Later, as Minister of Immigration, I helped to develop and implement Canada’s first National Action Plan To Combat Human Trafficking. And as a volunteer with the International Justice Mission, I saw first hand the devastating impact of trafficking on the lives of the vulnerable,” Kenney remarked. “That’s why I want Alberta to step up and be a leader in this fight.”
The UCP plan includes:
- Passage of the Saving the Girl Next Door Act which would allow trafficking victims to get restraining orders against their abusers, and would create a civil tort for trafficking that would allow victims to sue traffickers.
- Creation of a Government of Alberta Task Force on Human Trafficking to coordinate efforts across agencies.
- Stepped up public awareness campaigns about the reality of human trafficking, focused on vulnerable populations.
- Better training of judges, prosecutors, police, and others to enhance detection of human trafficking and the prosecution of human traffickers, as well as improving support for victims.
- Naming and shaming businesses that have been found to have facilitated human trafficking.
- Lobbying the federal government to strengthen criminal penalties against traffickers.
- Legislative adoption of the most widely accepted international definition of human trafficking, from the Palermo Protocol.
Kenney was joined by Ontario Minister for Labour Laurie Scott, who authored the original Saving the Girl Next Door Act, which was adopted by the last Ontario Provincial Parliament.
“It’s an honour to be here with Jason Kenney to join this timely conversation,” Scott said. “We know education is key to understanding what we are facing in our very own neighbourhoods, communities and provinces. Our collective awareness of this horrific crime of Human Sex Trafficking, enhances our ability to save the girl next door.”
“On behalf of Joy Smith and the Joy Smith Foundation, we want to commend Jason Kenney and the UCP for bringing in the “Saving the Girl Next Door Act,” said Paula Hammel, Alberta Director of the Joy Smith Foundation. “This is long overdue. Human traffickers are at work in Alberta every day. There are cases here in Calgary, in Okotoks and throughout Alberta. In the past, the suffering of these young victims has been ignored. This is the modern day slave trade and there are countless victims that need our help. This critical issue needs to be addressed immediately. We thank Jason Kenney for his leadership in combatting this egregious crime against our youth.”
Statistics Canada says that 95 per cent of human-trafficking victims were women, 70 percent were women under the age of 25, and the rate of sex-trafficking crimes is accelerating.