Canada: Bill C-310 to Strengthen Fight against Human Trafficking

03/07/2012 - Bill C-310, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in persons) will enable authorities to prosecute any Canadian found guilty of human trafficking even if the crime occurs overseas.

Introduced by Joy Smith, Member of Parliament for Kildonan – St. Paul, in October 2011, Bill C-310 will amend Canada’s Criminal Code, officially allowing the arraignment of any Canadian citizen or permanent resident suspected of trafficking people abroad.

It has been claimed that the new bill will play an important role in the way law officials look at the issue of human trafficking within Canadian borders: "Canadians who engage in human trafficking and modern day slavery aboard will no longer be exempt from prosecution in Canada! Further, the definition of human trafficking will be enhanced to include key factors to help police and courts to better identify cases of human trafficking," Mrs. Smith announced on her official website.

The passage of Bill C-310 comes on the heels of the launch of the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking (NAP).

According to the International Organization of Migration (IOM), as many as 800,000 people may be trafficked across international borders annually, with many more trafficked within the borders of their own countries.

Organized criminal groups are earning billions of dollars in profits from trafficking and exploiting people - many of whom are victims of severe human rights violations.

Trafficked people are often victims to abuse such as rape, torture, debt bondage, unlawful confinement, and threats against their family or other persons close to them as well as other forms of physical, sexual and psychological violence.

The demand for cheap labour, sexual services and certain criminal activities are among the root causes of trafficking while a lack of opportunity, resources and social standing are other contributing factors.

The underlying condition for why people are trafficked is that they are living lives of poverty, and remain vulnerable to those who may lure them with promises of work.

It is hoped that Bill C-310 will help to counter international trafficking by placing efforts to tackle it beyond the issue of immigration and stricter border controls.