Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking Day

On February 22, 2007, the Canadian House of Commons passed a motion condemning the trafficking of women and children across international borders for the purposes of sexual exploitation.

The House of Commons proclaimed February 22 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day to help bring awareness to the magnitude of modern day slavery in Canada and abroad and encourage Canadians to take steps to combat human trafficking.

Motion M-47 

"That the Standing Committee on Health be instructed to examine the public health effects of the ease of access and viewing of online violent and degrading sexually explicit material on children, women and men, recognizing and respecting the provincial and territorial jurisdictions in this regard, and that the said Committee report its findings to the House no later than July 2017".

Human Trafficking Presentation Materials

Learning Network - Western University report on Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre

Human Trafficking in Persons

Human Trafficking in persons is an issue that BPW Canada has been addressing since convention 2000.  A resolution was passed in Sault Ste. Marie after it came to our attention that young girls were being smuggled into Canada from Mexico, Thailand, India and the Philippines and other countries illegally, and were being held as sex slaves. Canadian laws prohibited the sexual procurement of children in Canada and in other countries in the world but these laws were not being enforced.  Read the 2000 resolution (pdf).

At the United Nations at the Committee meetings on the Status of Women in 2005, there were parallel workshops addressing the expansion of human trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls around the world.

Once again, in 2013, BPW Canada created another Resolution regarding Human Trafficking. Read the 2013 resolution (pdf).

World Cup Soccer in 2006

BPW became aware that Germany was setting up a football-size area where players and fans could have sex with prostitutes without being exposed to the public.  It was anticipated that women would be trafficked across Asia and Europe to fill the need.  BPW Clubs started writing letters and signing petitions, along with an extensive prevention campaign by immigration and law enforcement.  In the end, during the World Cup, Germany experienced a short-term increase in demand for prostitution, but instead, local prostitutes from elsewhere in the country were drawn in to host cities.  The next year, at the Athens Olympics, prevention efforts were poor.  Researchers found that there was a 95% increase in human trafficked victims during the Olympics.

Since then, the issue has not abated and in fact all reports indicate that it is increasing.  A further resolution will be presented to the convention in 2010 urging the Government to provide services to assist victims in Canada. The results of the vote will be posted after convention.

What are the financial implications of human trafficking?

In 2006, the Government of Canada stated that trafficking in humans nets organized crime groups $7 billion each year.  An annual report prepared by the U.S. government states that it is in excess of $9 billion and growing.   An RCMP investigation which began as a result of people being smuggled across the Niagara River into the United States in rubber rafts revealed that people were paying between $2,000 and $2,500 to smugglers to be taken across the Niagara River.  Similar amounts are paid to human traffickers for each person delivered into prostitution or forced labour but the difference is that these people can be sold over and over again.

Get involved in prevention!

The Salvation Army launched a watchdog campaign around the Olympics in Vancouver.  As well, discussions are taking place with clubs in New York and there are plans to continue those discussions at the BPW Regional Conference in Las Vegas.  The group has also learned that pornography is one of the forces that drives human trafficking and is funded by large corporations.

Books on Human Trafficking

  • Malarek, Victor, The Natashas: Inside the New Global Sex Trade (Penguin Group Canada, 2003)
  • Malarek, Victor, The Johns: Sex for Sale and the Men Who Buy It (Key Porter Books Ltd., 2009)
  • Batstone, Davie, Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and how we can fight it. (2008)