Canada's Anti-Human Trafficking Newsletter - Issue 8, January 2016

Canada's Anti-Human Trafficking Newsletter - Issue 8, January 2016 PDF Version (113 KB)

In this Issue

Training, Programs and Events

Online Training Initiative to Address Human Trafficking Presents: Helping Trafficked Persons Webinar Series

Join the Online Training Initiative to Address Human Trafficking through MCIS Language Services for a series of four live webinars on human trafficking that will give you the opportunity to connect with four different human trafficking experts. Ask the experts any questions within their area of expertise. The interactive webinars will feature: an advocacy expert, two brave survivors of human trafficking and an experienced psychotherapist. The experts will give answers to your most pertinent questions and share their personal experiences. This is a great opportunity to refresh your knowledge and to receive additional training on the subject of human trafficking.

More information regarding webinar dates and experts bios.

Registration is open to anyone. Please email if you wish to be added to the Online Training Initiative to Address Human Trafficking’s mailing list.

For a comprehensive training on human trafficking, please visit the Online Training Initiative to Address Human Trafficking website provided by MCIS Language Services:

New Canadian Council for Refugees Resource: National Human Trafficking Assessment Tool

The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) has developed a National Human Trafficking Assessment Tool to help guide first-contact service providers across Canada in identifying and responding to situations of human trafficking.

The CCR worked closely with Legal Assistance of Windsor/WEFIGHT (Windsor-Essex Fights the International Growth of Human Trafficking) and the University of Windsor, School of Social Work in the creation of this tool. It also received ongoing input and contributions from service providers from across the country working directly with persons who have been trafficked.

The National Human Trafficking Assessment Tool is available online in English, and will soon be available in French: .

New Handbook for Frontline Workers Dealing With Aboriginal Women and Girls Who Are Victims of Human Trafficking

The Native Women Association of Canada recently developed a resource handbook for Aboriginal women and girls who are victims/survivors of human trafficking and for front-line workers who work with sexually exploited Aboriginal women. This project was funded by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (formerly Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada) and the Department of Justice Canada.

A PDF file of the handbook is available.

End Labour Trafficking

On July 30, 2015, the West Coast Domestic Workers’ Association (WCDWA) marked the second World Day against Trafficking in Persons by launching a new public service announcement (PSA) to raise awareness about trafficking in persons for the purpose of labour exploitation.

Speakers at the event, including the Honourable Suzanne Anton, Minister of Justice in British Columbia (B.C.), MLA Mable Elmore, Erie Maestro of MIGRANTE B.C., and Aaron Eckman of the B.C. Federation of Labour, talked about the need for more awareness of this hidden crime, challenges with regards to prosecuting the crime, and the need for more services, including legal aid and counseling, to protect victims.

Labour trafficking occurs when a worker is recruited, harboured, and controlled for the purpose of exploitation. Migrant workers, particularly those with precarious immigration status, have been identified as being particularly vulnerable to this crime. Public Safety Canada, through its grant to the WCDWA, is supporting the work of the WCDWA to prevent labour trafficking in B.C.

The aim of WCDWA’s “Prevention of Labour Trafficking Project,” a partnership with the B.C. Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons (OCTIP), is to raise awareness about this hidden crime among migrant worker communities, stakeholders, and the general public and to strengthen partnerships to enhance response efforts to combat labour trafficking in B.C.

Migrant workers often work in isolation and may not be aware of their rights or how to access assistance if they are in a trafficking-like situation. The PSA features the indicators of labour trafficking to help workers, stakeholders, and the general public identify situations of trafficking, as well as resources on where workers can go for help. The PSA is posted on YouTube and can be easily disseminated via social media using #endlabourtrafficking. To view the PSA on YouTube enter this link:

The next phase of the project involves producing a 20-minute documentary video as an additional educational tool. The PSA and documentary will be the first of their kind to focus on labour trafficking in Canada. The documentary will feature real life stories of victims, including agricultural workers, live-in caregivers, and other low-skilled workers. 

Workshops will also be held in 10 communities across B.C. that have little access to services like legal aid and with high concentrations of migrant workers. In the workshops, workers and stakeholders will learn how to respond to cases of labour trafficking and what support services are available.

For more information, please contact Natalie Drolet, Executive Director and Staff Lawyer at the WCDWA at or visit the WCDWA website at .

RCMP Law Enforcement Training

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre (RCMP HTNCC), in consultation with law enforcement, lawyers and service providers, partnered with the Canadian Police Knowledge Network (CPKN) to design an Introduction to Human Trafficking online course for Canadian law enforcement. This course continues to be made available to all Canadian law enforcement personnel through the CPKN website and the RCMP internal website and is available in both French and English. The primary goal of this learning initiative is to provide learners, particularly frontline police officers who have limited knowledge and experience in dealing with human trafficking investigations, with an overview of human trafficking including legislation, victim assistance, basic investigative techniques, and referral mechanisms.

For more information and to register for this course, please visit:

RCMP Human Trafficking Investigator’s Course

The RCMP HTNCC, in consultation with law enforcement, lawyers and service providers partnered with the Canadian Police College to develop a five day Human Trafficking Investigator’s Course (HTIC) for Canadian law enforcement. This course includes information such as an in-depth session on the human trafficking legislation, effective investigative techniques, the effects of trauma on victims, interviewing techniques, how to build trust and obtain cooperation from victims, and successful human trafficking case studies.

The next HTIC sessions are scheduled to run:

For more information and to register for this course, please visit

In the Regions

Western Canada

ACT Alberta hosts first stakeholder meeting in Red Deer, October 14, 2015.

ACT Alberta’s networking meetings bring together stakeholders to exchange knowledge and discuss local successes and challenges in providing services to victims of human trafficking.  In October, ACT Alberta held its first ever stakeholder meeting in Red Deer. Stakeholders were given the opportunity to share updates, trends, and best practices, and were provided training on human trafficking. Please email for more information.

Labour trafficking in Red Deer, Alberta

In April, two individuals were charged with human trafficking offences under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act after eight temporary foreign workers were determined to be trafficked for their labour in Red Deer. This case highlights the scope and severity of labour trafficking in Canada. ACT Alberta reports that labour trafficking is present in nearly half of their referrals.

To view the news report, please visit:


North American Human Trafficking Initiative

Canada’s Operation Northern Spotlight and the FBI-led Operation Cross Country in the United States occurred October 5-9, 2015. This is the first time these two operations occurred simultaneously in a joint, collaborative, North American effort. Both operations focus on identifying and recovering victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation and raising awareness on this issue in communities across Canada and the United States.

This was the ninth phase of FBI Operation Cross Country which involved more than 500 law enforcement officials, was conducted nationwide in 135 cities, and resulted in the recovery of 149 sexually exploited children and the arrests of more than 150 individuals.

This was the fourth phase of Operation Northern Spotlight which was led by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). In 45 cities across Canada, 51 police services and 348 police officers and support staff participated in the operation. A total of 326 individuals were contacted, 20 of whom were recovered from their exploitive situation. As a result, 135 charges against 47 individuals were laid by police.

Aurora House Coming to Toronto

Toronto will soon be home to Aurora House: a long-term transitional housing project specifically for people who are new to Canada and have been trafficked for forced labour, forced marriage or forced crime. Along with case management, Aurora House will offer support services including basic needs, long-term trauma and other counselling, language and vocational training, ethno-cultural, immigration and legal support and education services. Aurora House is a member of the Toronto Counter Human Trafficking Network and is working closely with many stakeholders in Canada to help ensure a commitment to anti-oppression and other best practices. Provided funding can be secured, Aurora Housed plans to open in January 2016.

For more information please visit or contact Christine Langschmidt at

The Human Trafficking Intervention Prevention Strategy

The Human Trafficking Intervention Prevention Strategy (H.I.P.S.) is an interagency committee that focuses on domestic human trafficking amongst youth and young adults within the Greater Toronto Area. Developed in January 2015, the committee was established by front line workers who saw the need to bridge gaps between service providers.

Some key goals of the committee are to explore best practices/interventions, examine policies that may impact those involved in the industry, and to create new initiatives to best support the victims/survivors.

A unique aspect of the committee is that it allows for the opportunity for victims/survivors to actively participate as committee members. Through their participation, workers can gain insight from their first-hand experiences, are able to gain a better understanding of their needs, and can discover ‘what works’, from the perspectives of victims/survivors.

It is anticipated that through this committee, awareness of human trafficking will be raised in the broader community and help prevent further victims.

As a result of the committee, some events that have taken place include:

For more information, please contact Leah Penttila at: or (416) 615-0788 (x223).

Legislative and Regulatory Updates

The Ontario Court of Appeal decision in R. v. A.A.

A recent decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal (R. v. A.A., 2015 ONCA 558) provides useful guidance on the application and interpretation of the human trafficking offences contained in the Criminal Code, including providing detailed discussion on the essential elements.  Of note is the Court’s consideration of the definition of “exploitation” contained in section 279.04 of the Criminal Code.  Two points were raised by the appellate Attorney General: (1) that the trial judge adopted an unduly narrow interpretation of the term “safety” contained in the definition of exploitation by failing to consider psychological harm; and (2) that the trial judge erred in applying a subjective standard in assessing exploitation rather than a mixed objective/subjective standard.  In analyzing these issues, the Court held the following:

  1. The term “safety” is not limited to a state of being protected from physical harm but rather also extends to psychological harm (paragraph 71).  The Court held this interpretation was consistent with Parliament’s intent when the relevant provisions were enacted.
  2. The test for proving exploitation requires an objective assessment based on all the circumstances.  The Court notes that for there to be exploitation, “an accused’s conduct must give rise to a reasonable expectation of a particular state of mind in the victim”, the victim’s safety or the safety of a person known to them need not actually be threatened. The Court further notes that while the subjective belief of a complainant is not to be entirely cast aside, it should not be considered to the exclusion of an objective assessment, as mandated by the statutory language (paragraphs 70-76).
  3. The offence requires proof that the accused engaged in the prohibited conduct with the specific purpose or intention that the victim be exploited.  The fact that the accused does not achieve the ultimate purpose is irrelevant to a finding of guilt (paragraphs 82- 85).  This point had been previously affirmed by the Quebec Court of Appeal in R. v. Urizar (2013 QCCA 46).

The decision can be found here:

Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and International Mobility Program (IMP)

Regulatory changes that came into effect on December 1st, 2015, called for stronger consequences for employers who violate conditions of the TFWP and the IMP.

These regulatory changes are designed to promote compliance and deter employers from mis-using the program and mistreating foreign workers. The new consequences provide proportionate responses to non-compliance by replacing the single two-year ban with a range of ban periods (one, two, five, ten years, as well as permanent bans in egregious cases), warnings, and new financial penalties ($500 to $100,000 per violation).

Research and Publications

B.C. publishes 2nd Year Status Report for BC Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking:

B.C.’s Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons (OCTIP) recently published the 2nd Year Status Report that describes activities undertaken to implement longer term actions in the B.C. Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking 2013-2016. The Report covers the period from April 2014 to April 2015. The Third Year Status Report will be published next year.

For more information, please visit:

For additional resources and information about activities underway in British Columbia, please visit:

Engaging Community: Addressing Sex Trafficking in Edmonton

ACT Alberta has proudly released the final report for the project, “Engaging Community: Addressing Sex Trafficking in Edmonton”.  This research project has been thirty months in the making and is the first of its kind in the city and is one of three across the country.  Working in partnership with local experts, policy makers, and service providers, it has resulted in a local body of knowledge on the realities of sex trafficking in Edmonton.  The report outlines this knowledge, identifies priority areas, and contains a Community Action Plan to reduce and prevent sex trafficking in Edmonton. You may access the full report and/or the summary report here:

CNN Freedom Project

Crime Stoppers International is proud to be a supporter of the CNN Freedom Project.

As the global population becomes more sensitized about modern day slavery through the Freedom Project, it is anticipated there will be an increase in information about the perpetrators of this heinous crime or the whereabouts of victims. Individuals in possession of such information will be encouraged to use the anonymous and confidential mechanism which Crime Stoppers International provides. All reports made will be monitored by the Crime Stoppers Call Centre. Once the Call Centre is satisfied the information received is actionable it will be forwarded to a designated point of contact at INTERPOL for action.

The CNN Freedom Project aims for this collaboration to provide a vehicle for victims and witnesses to report human trafficking in a safe and anonymous manner.

Ralph Page, President of the Canadian Crime Stoppers Association informs that this is another important step in the ongoing fight against "modern day slavery" and is the culmination of a number of recent discussions.

For further information please contact Ralph Page, President, Canadian Crime Stoppers Association (807) 407-8978 or by email at

Frontline Responses to Human Trafficking in Canada: Coordinating Services for Victims

Canada and Quebec must do more to identify and protect victims of human trafficking, including supporting proven initiatives. This is the conclusion of a pan-Canadian study conducted by Alexandra Ricard-Guay and Jill Hanley of the McGill University School of Social Work on the issues of coordinating intervention for victims of trafficking in Canada.

The research report titled “Frontline Responses to Human Trafficking in Canada: Coordinating Services for Victims” was published by the Committee of Action Against Human Trafficking National and International (CATHII) in collaboration with the McGill University School of Social Work. The researchers analyzed 80 interviews conducted in the last two years with service providers in nine provinces with experience in this field.

Guided by a broad definition of human trafficking that encompasses all forms of exploitation, the report provides an outline of existing practices in Canada to support and protect victims of human trafficking.

The key recommendations in the report are as follows:

  1. More resources should be directed to services for victims of trafficking. Workers face dilemmas in the areas of housing, immigration, and investigations and prosecutions.
  2. A strategy of intersectoral collaboration and better coordination and integration of services is more effective in preventing trafficking and adequately responding to the needs of victims trafficked for forced labour and sexual exploitation.
  3. The involvement of provincial and territorial governments is a crucial element of an effective response to trafficking and a plan to protect people affected by this crime. Fundamental aspects of victim support and protection, such as social and health service provision, aid and compensation for victims of crime, and labour standards, all fall under provincial jurisdiction.

The authors call for a consistent approach that is focused on the rights of victims and that enables all victims to receive the help they need without forcing them to take part in investigations or legal proceedings.

The research is available in English and French in PDF format.

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This newsletter is being offered up to four times yearly by the Serious and Organized Crime Division at Public Safety Canada with content provided by anti-trafficking stakeholders from across Canada. Its relevance depends on the information received from our partners. The content and information provided in the newsletter does not necessarily reflect the views of the Government of Canada or Public Safety Canada.

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