Human sex trafficking involves recruiting, abhorring and transportation of people for the purposes of using their sexual services for monetary benefits. Human sex traffickers coerce or force the victims in the recruitment process. Canada has experienced a rise in the number of human trafficking cases where most of the victims come from vulnerable groups. There have been concerted efforts to curb the vice in an international perspective. However, the general approaches adopted by agencies and organizations such as UNICEF have not incorporated empirical evidence to assure the society that this issue is under control. Criminal gangs have gained a lot from this trade and the question that has been debated over time is whether the political authorities have had a hand in this issue. To question the authorities is, however, not the solution to the problem. This is solely because; this trade is not just rampant within the sex and child trafficking. Other sectors of the economy have also been u under siege; workers remain exploited even in the modern era when human rights have taken center stage in every aspect of life. Detailed research to formulate recommendations that can help handle the situation need is the key to a plausible solution.
Canada has over the years been associated with human sex trafficking. At one time, the Federal Republic of Canada has been recognized as a transit point, other times as a destination and even as a source. The efforts by Canadian authorities, as well as the Canadian agencies concerned with women rights, have borne no fruits to combat this criminal activity. Statistics indicates that each year approximately 700 people are brought into the country for purposes not other than sexual slavery and forced commercial prostitution (Bernat, 2010). Residential brothels, as well as massage parlors, have over time served as a haven for the criminal gangs involved in this trade. In another alarming statistics, Canada serves as a major transit point for sex slaves into the U. S more than 2000 people are transited through Canada into U.S each year for similar purposes.
Criminal gangs have exploited the lack of common approaches by concerned or affected nations. Surprisingly, despite the trade being a booming illegal trade in Canada, the authorities have been unable to seek a permanent solution to this situation. Most victims have been exploited to death, and other has remained in the business earning nil more than basic commodities like food and shelter. It is estimated that this illegal trade earns as much as $280,000 annually for every young girl who is forced into the trade (Walters & Davis, 2011). In the year 2000, Canada signed the Palermo Protocol against Transnational Organized Crime. However, the biggest challenge has been the harmonization of the Criminal Code of Canada that allows for legal exploitation of labor as long as the victim deems it fit that their security and safety are not under siege. This paper seeks to discuss the issue of human sex trafficking from a Canadian perspective. The focus will be on the current situation as well as the efforts that have been placed in combating the vice.
Fong & Cardoso (2010) in their article ‘Child human trafficking Victims: Challenges for the child welfare systems’ discuss the issues of human sex trafficking but centering more on the child as a victim. The authors begin by suggesting that while authorities have placed community, state and federal policies geared towards addressing the general problem of human trafficking, there have been no specific efforts towards addressing child trafficking. They reckon that laws including legislative measures have been successful in reducing the rates of occurrence of these crimes, but child welfare, and recovery plans for young survivor victims’ of this illegal trade have been hardly considered.
However, there is one difference between the Canadian situation and the U.S perspective. The U.S law does it allow for any form of forced labor especially when it involves children. The Canadian situation is complex. It offers a loophole that has been exploited by criminal gangs. This is because it identifies forced labor as legal as long as victims do not feel threatened by the association. This includes young children. This does not augur well with international laws on child rights and provides a predicament when it comes to seeking international policies for combating human sex trafficking (Fong & Cardoso, 2010).
Alvarez & Alessi (2012) in their article ‘Human trafficking is more than Sex trafficking and prostitution: Implications of Social Work’ take a different perspective on the issue of trafficking. Taking a different approach from the scholarly approach that centers on sex trafficking alone, the authors suggest that there are other forms of human trafficking. They argue that the focus by scholars on sex trafficking and prostitution as the pillars of human trafficking has shifted the attention from the subject. This includes the victim working in other sectors of social and economic life where there are overwhelming levels of exploitation for monetary or nonmonetary gain. The authors suggest that social workers adopt a paradigm shift for what they term ‘post facto end of the spectrum’ in conceptualizing the issue of human trafficking. In this article, the focus is on the social prospective of human trafficking including men, women and children who are subjected to forced labor not just in sex and prostitution but agriculture, industry, mining, forestry, leather and livestock sectors.
Alvarez & Alessi (2012) argue that the solution does not exist in the narrow context of sex slavery. The broader social problems of unemployment and underemployment, illiteracy and poor health standards are just part of the root of the problem that should be addressed. Thus, the approaches taken by Canadian authorities as well as United Nations intervention programs on human trafficking should be revised to reflect the real nature of hummer trafficking.
Nicole (2010) in an article on similar issues of human trafficking examines the issue of human trafficking in Canada and the preventive measures undertaken by the government in addressing the whole issue. He also highlights some of the some of the recommendations that the government should consider in addressing the problem. According to the author, identifying victims affected by human sex trafficking is one of the major problems in Canada. The number of victims affected by human sex trafficking is unknown due to the nature of the trade. The society members do not record most of the cases because the victims are afraid of coming out due to factors such as fear of isolation, immigrant’s are afraid of being deported to their home country and lack of people’s understanding of their human rights.
National anti-trafficking structure is one of the major developments that many states have adopted in dealing with the problem. The structure incorporates a National action plan that helps in countering the issue of human trafficking, The National rapporteur reports the “extent and nature” of human trafficking in the country and The National Referral mechanism that connects the victims’ with the service providers and ensures that their rights are protected (Nicole, 2010). The government collaborates with non-governmental organizations in combating the problem of human trafficking. Most of the victims in Canada as well as in other countries are the vulnerable people. In Canada the aborigines, the undereducated and the poor are the most vulnerable people to the trade.
Matheson & Finkel (2013) in their article focuses on the issue of sex tourism in relation to sporting events. According to the article, sporting events leads to an increase in the number of people in the host cities, which creates a “higher demand for sexual services”. Human sex traffickers take the opportunity of the events to trade trafficked women to the sex tourists in orders to meet the demand. Vancouver winter Olympic Games are one of the major sporting activities in Canada that leads to an increase in the number of people in the city, thus creating a great demand for the sexual services.
Some of the victims are from Canada while others are brought to the country as tourists during the winter games. This makes it difficult for the authorities to determine the individuals involved in the illegal business of human trafficking. The traffickers issue threats to the victims hence most of the victims are afraid of reporting their predicaments to the authorities. The financial benefits that victims of the trafficking get acts as a motivating factor to them since most of the victims are from vulnerable groups (Matheson & Finkel, 2013). According to the article, the stakeholders of the games are also connected to sex trafficking making it difficult for the authorities to control the trade. In addition, the event brings in foreign income to the country; thus, the government is unable to prevent the trade due to the financial benefits of the events.
The political and social conditions in many countries contribute to the rise of human trafficking due to corrupt officials in the government. Most of the government officials collaborate with the traffickers in the trade due to the financial benefits of the trade. The best approach of ending human sex trafficking according to the article is through creating self-awareness among individuals. This should be a collective responsibility between the government and nonprofit organizations interested in the topic.
Reid (2012) in his article focuses on the issue of human sex trafficking mainly in North America due to the underlying social issues of the victims. According to Reid, most of the victims are from vulnerable groups. This makes it is easy for the traffickers to lure them due to the financial benefits. Some of the families sacrifice their children for monetary gain to satisfy their immediate needs. Most of the victims are forced into the trade by poverty, thus the monetary gains associated with the business attract into the trade. Sex trafficking predisposes the victims to many risks such contracting and transmission of diseases; this slows down the economic development of the country due to increased health costs. According to the article, human trafficking is illegal in Canada under the constitution.
However, the constitution does not offer a solution to the protection of the victims of human trafficking. Reid (2012) categorizes the vulnerable groups based on the age and gender of the victims. Children are forced into the trade, while most of the adults are lured into the trade due to the underlying financial benefits.
Conclusively, there is a general agreement that human trafficking is a phenomenon that has embodied the society. Measures have undoubtedly been placed to avert the ever rising rates of human trafficking. While significant achievements have been realized, there is still a gap that needs to be bridged. Nevertheless, the approaches taken should be multi-disciplinary in nature if this gap has to be bridged completely. This approach should seek to incorporate both scholarly approaches to the issue and the social perspectives to the issue. It is thorough an understanding of the dynamic that influence the vulnerability of humans to trafficking that this can be overcome., narrowing on sex and women as in the case with Canada, has its benefits (Truong, 2003). For one, it gives an in-depth account of the plight of women in modern day society. This, on the other hand, provides for the development of comprehensive guidelines and policies that can be implemented to combat the crime. However, the other forms of human trafficking especially on men and the boy child should not be handled as a second priority problem. It has a similar magnitude and the impacts on society are just as equal to those that encompass women and children slavery (Reid, 2012). A thorough look at the social systems will provide for the formulation of informed frameworks and policies that will be beneficial to the victims. The Canadian situation needs no less than such an approach.
Alvarez, M. B., & Alessi, E. J. (2012). Human Trafficking Is More Than Sex Trafficking and Prostitution: Implications for Social Work. Affilia-journal of Women and Social Work,27(2), 142-152. doi:10.1177/0886109912443763
Bernat, F. (2010). Editorial: Human Sex Trafficking. Women & Criminal Justice.
Fong, R., & Cardoso, J. B. (2010). Child human trafficking victims: Challenges for the child welfare system. Evaluation and Program Planning, 33, 311-316. doi:10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2009.06.018
Matheson, C. M., & Finkel, R. (2013). Sex trafficking and the Vancouver Winter Olympic games: Perceptions and preventative measures. Tourism Managment, 36, 613-628. Retrieved from dx.doi.org./10.1016/
Nicole, B. A. (2010). An exploration of promising practices in response to human trafficking in Canada. Canada: Vancouver B.C.
Reid, J. A. (2012). Exploratory review of route-specific, gendered, and age-graded dynamics of exploitation: Applying life course theory to victimization in sex trafficking in North America. Aggression and Violent Behaviour, 17, 257-271. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2012.02.005
Truong, T. (2003). Gender, Exploitative Migration, and the Sex Industry: A European Perspective. Gender, Technology and Development.
Walters, J., & Davis, P. H. (2011). Human Trafficking, Sex Tourism, and Child Exploitation on the Southern Border.