Human trafficking is the transportation and harbrouing of a person for the purposes of forced service. Traditional images of trafficking victims are of women and children forced into the sex industry, but trafficked persons also include men, women and children exploited through farm, domestic or other labour.
The United Nations estimates that 700,000 people are trafficked annually world-wide and that this illegal activity generates annual global revenues approaching US $10 billion. Other estimates have indicated that as many as 4 million women and girls are sold world-wide into forced prostitution, slavery or forced marriage.
Canada has been identified as a source, destination and transit country for trafficking victims. Human Trafficking victims can be Canadians or foreigners. The RCMP conservatively estimates that between 800 – 1,200 people are victims of human trafficking each year; however, non governmental organizations estimate this number is as high as 16,000 per year, most of who end up working in forced labour or the illegal sex trade. The International Labour Organization has estimated that at any given time a minimum of 2.45 million people are in situations of forced labour as a result of human trafficking.
BC Senator Mobina Jaffer has been concerned and involved with the issue of human trafficking since 2005, when she sponsored Liberal government legislation Bill C-49. This legislation provided essential tools for the RCMP to combat human trafficking in Canada.
Today her efforts in this area include working with NGO’s, community stakeholders and all levels of government to address shortfalls within the current legislative framework to ensure better protection for trafficking victims.
Senator Jaffer is also working to have the current federal government develop and adopt a plan to combat the increased potential for human trafficking resulting from Vancouver hosting the 2010 Olympics. This issue has been highlighted by the provincial government and many municipal governments in British Columbia as a concern leading up to the 2010 Games.
The Future Group:
The Zonta Club of Ottawa: