By Deborah Gyapong
Canadian Catholic News
Conservative MP Joy Smith’s second anti-human-trafficking private member’s bill has passed the Senate with unanimous support.
Bill C-310 will receive Royal Assent on June 28 and become law.
It makes human trafficking an extra-territorial offence under the Criminal Code, thus allowing Canada to prosecute citizens and permanent residents for human trafficking offences committed in other countries where there might be weak laws, inadequate policing, and/or an ineffective justice system.
“It has been a long journey since the introduction of Bill C-310,” said Smith in an email to supporters. “I want to thank the many organizations and individual Canadians who supported Bill C-310 through letters, emails, and raising awareness. This is truly a victory for us all, especially victims and survivors of human trafficking.”
“Canadians who engage in human trafficking and modern day slavery aboard will no longer be exempt from prosecution in Canada!” she said. “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.”
Smith’s first private member’s bill added mandatory minimum sentences to trafficking offences involving children 18 or under.
Her “Connecting the Dots” document outlining a national anti-human trafficking strategy provided the impetus for the government’s National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking launched June 7.
This plan focuses on identifying trafficking, public awareness and prevention and helping victims get out of the modern day slave trade. Smith is also pushing legislative changes, especially to Canada’s prostitution laws that would target the users of prostitution rather than the sellers of sex, as often they are trafficking victims.