Thursday, May 11, 2006

Canada pledges assistance for victims of human trafficking

Stop The Trafficking Coalition applauds the recent announcement by the office of the Honorable Monte Solberg, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, regarding the federal government's adoption of new measures to help victims of human trafficking in Canada.

Canada as an international leader has long needed to demonstrate its deep commitment in treating human trafficking as a crucial and serious human rights issue. While Canada has ratified the U.N. Protocol to Prevent, Punish and Suppress Trafficking in Humans, and has taken the laudable step of passing amendments to the criminal code (Bill C-49), protection of victims of trafficking has , until now, been largely either over-looked or not addressed in terms of definitive constructive planning and commitment.

The victims, often women and children, have for the most part been deported to their country of origin, without proper medical and psychological rehabilitative assistance. It is time that Canada take responsibility for those we have victimized. It is also Canada's responsibility to be an international leader in stopping human trafficking by actively working with other countries to find solutions to this abuse of human rights, both in prosecuting the perpetrators and assisting those innocently victimized.

The proposed guidelines for "Assistance for Victims of Human Trafficking" were outlined this morning during a conference call, chaired by Ben Perrin, Senior Policy Advisor to the Minister for Citizenship and Immigration, Monte Solberg. Participants included government representatives and various non-governmental organizations, including Stop The Trafficking Coalition (STT).

Stop The Trafficking Coalition looks forward to future collaboration and work with the CIC and all those committed to putting these new measures into practice: government and law enforcement bodies as well as non-government organizations, social and immigration service organizations, and grass roots community volunteers.

Irena Soltys
Co-Chair, Stop The Trafficking Coalition

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