Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Historic Milestone in Canada

Today is one of those days when news back in Canada has given me cause to rejoice! Yesterday The Government of Canada announced a comprehensive National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. This is a historic milestone for Canada as it consolidates our country's international efforts to prevent and combat human trafficking abroad. Member of Parliament (MP) Joy Smith ( a Christian) has worked tirelessly over the years across party lines to develop key legislation that combats human trafficking and protects victims.  
Joy Smith 
Brian McConaghy, founder of Ratanak International  and MP Joy Smith introduced the 'National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking' in Canada to the media. The four pillar plan, also announced yesterday by the Federal Government in Ottawa, includes enhanced training for police, border agents and other front-line workers, intelligence collection and Canada's first integrated law enforcement team combining the RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency. That team will work to identify, disrupt and prosecute human traffickers in Canada.

In his statement, Brian said:

"The introduction of the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking is both welcome and necessary. In Canada we are afforded the luxury of lives largely characterized by safety, stability and freedom. It is hard for us to accept that all among us are not free, all among us are not willingly where we find them.

Tragically modern day slavery is alive and well in Canada. It is largely unseen (as are the majority of significant criminal treats to our communities). The individual lives lost to Human Trafficking are also frequently invisible, but this, in no way, negates the reality of their suffering.

A clear understanding of the gravity and impact of Human Trafficking demands a strident and unambiguous response from both Government and society at large. The buying and selling of human beings, either domestically acquired Canadians or those trafficked internationally, is currently a growth industry.

Unlike the trafficking of illegal drugs, with which we are all familiar, the human product can be sold multiple times either for enforced labour or for systematic sexual abuse. This constitutes slavery and a system of serial rape in which the victim can be trapped for years. As a consequence the profit margins are significant and the impact on lives - devastating. Let us be under no illusions - the process of Human Trafficking utterly undermines the very foundation of what our society would hold as most precious… the intrinsic value of a human being. If, as a nation, we do not fully engage in the fight against Human Trafficking and allow both our citizens and foreign nationals to be reduced to the status of product we have truly lost our way.

The introduction of the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking is necessary. 

It provides focus and priorities for Canadian institutions.
  • It provides a framework through which Canada can move to protect those most vulnerable.
  • It provides funding desperately needed by Government, and Non Government Organizations alike, to combat this complex issue. 
  • and it serves to alert Canadian society as to the gravity of the circumstances associated with Human Trafficking. 
Canada must not only tackle Human Trafficking head on it must be seen to be doing so. The National Action Plan is a significant step forward in accomplishing both.

MP Joy Smith has a new private member's bill, C-310, that would let Canada prosecute Canadian citizens and permanent residents for human trafficking offences outside the country. As I pen this blog, it is now morning in Canada. Today, my colleague Brian McConaghy has been given the privilege of providing a testimony before the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. He will be speaking to Bill C310. If passed it will give Canadian law enforcement extraterritorial jurisdiction to go after Canadians involved in human trafficking anywhere in the world... and that includes Cambodia! 

Please pray for Brian for God to anoint His words, Isaiah 55:11 says "so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. May today be a day in which God's word goes forth in power and in truth such that it will accomplish and fulfill His purposes.

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