I have stated that my campaign is about courage, compassion and common sense.
One of the issues that touches on all three is the issue of human trafficking in our own country. Under the Liberal government the national action plan was allowed to lapse for nearly four years, and virtually no resources were allocated to protect the victims and survivors of this horrible crime.
At the last minute before last year's election the Liberals announced several measures to combat human-trafficking, but I have a big problem with their approach.
Namely, that protecting the most vulnerable in our society isn’t simply a ballot box issue. It’s the right thing to do. Every day.
The majority of trafficking victims and survivors in Canada come from our most vulnerable populations, including underage girls and indigenous women. Vulnerable Canadians should be a priority.
I have a five point action plan that I will push for as soon as I am leader of our party, and implement when, with your help, I become Prime Minister.
1. Re-establish the national action plan to combat human trafficking.
The Federal government should be leading the way in supporting the many front-line workers and organizations who are already providing rescue and healing to survivors.
2. Legislative adoption of the most widely accepted international definition of human trafficking known as the Palermo Protocol.
Under the Liberals, Canada has some of the weakest laws to prosecute those who prey on the vulnerable. The Palermo Protocol is advocated by law-enforcement officers, victim-advocates, survivors across Canada. It removes many of the barriers that make it difficult for law enforcement to obtain criminal convictions of traffickers who frequently walk away on technicalities.
3. Strengthen criminal penalties against human traffickers to ensure that those who take advantage of the vulnerable in our society are punished for every single life they harm.
Traffickers should be punished for every life that they attempt to extort, every woman, and girl, every boy and man that they harm. Every life is precious and our laws should reflect that.
4. Create a public awareness campaign about the reality of human trafficking in our society.
Despite most of us never realizing it, human trafficking occurs in almost every commmunity across Canada. We can all be part of protecting our neighbourhoods and the vulnerable by increasing the awareness of this horrific crime across the country.
5. Commit to keeping in place the Nordic Model to combat sex-trafficking in prostitution
The Conservative Government under Stephen Harper implemented Bill C-36, which had long been advocated by former MP Joy Smith. This criminalized the pimps and buyers of prostitution, and decriminalized the actual people being bought and sold. This allowed those who have been trafficked into prostituion to seek help from law-enforcement without the fear of facing charges themselves. This dramatically improved Canada’s ability to fight sex trafficking, but the Liberal party is keen to undo these changes. I will fight for Harper’s model to continue in order to best rescue victims of sex trafficking in Canada.