… IMPORTANT: 3:00pm (EST), today …

OTTAWA, ONTARIO— Today, Conservative Member of Parliament Joy Smith will introduce a Private Members’ Bill to make two important amendments that will help combat modern day slavery in Canada and abroad.

The Private Members’ Bill, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in persons), will amend the current trafficking in persons offence by providing an evidentiary aid to courts that enhances the definition of exploitation.

“Currently, the definition of exploitation in the human trafficking offence does not provide specific examples of exploitive conduct. As I spoke to prosecutors and law enforcement across Canada, I began to hear of the challenges this presented,” said MP Joy Smith. “My amendment will add an evidentiary aid for the Court to provide clear examples of exploitation such as the use of threats, violence, coercion, and fraudulent means.”

Secondly, the Bill will amend the Criminal Code to enable Canadian human traffickers to be convicted when the offence occurs OUTSIDE OF CANADA.

“Human trafficking is an egregious crime that is often carried out across international borders,” said MP Joy Smith. “While Canada has adopted stiff penalties for criminals who traffic victims into, through, and from Canada, it is important that we also prosecute Canadians who traffic or enslave vulnerable populations in other countries.”

MP Smith’s Private Members’ Bill has already received strong support from Canadian human trafficking experts, survivors and non-governmental organizations:

Prof. Benjamin Perrin, University of British Columbia, Faculty of Law, and author of Invisible Chains: Canada’s Underground World of Human Trafficking (Penguin, 2011)

“Human traffickers have evaded prosecution for their heinous crimes, in part, because Canada’s criminal laws are not explicit enough to clearly encompass the range of tactics employed by these serial exploiters. Member of Parliament Joy Smith is again responding to concerns by police and victims’ groups in seeking to amend our human trafficking laws to hold traffickers accountable and protect victims. I call on all Parliamentarians to support this initiative.”

Jamie McIntosh, Executive Director, International Justice Mission Canada

“The crime of human trafficking often transgresses international boundaries, with vulnerable men, women, and children subject to its devastating reach. Human traffickers, including those of Canadian nationality, will persist in their illicit trade if they believe their crimes will go unpunished. Extending authority to prosecute Canadians for human trafficking crimes committed abroad is an important step in the global fight against human trafficking. As a nation, we must commit to prosecuting Canadian nationals who commit these crimes, regardless of geographical location at the time of offence.”

Timea Nagy, Program Director, Walk With Me

“As an internationally trafficked survivor, who has been working with Canadian law enforcement to help human trafficking victims, I am absolutely thrilled to see this legislation presented by Mrs. Smith. It is clear, that Mrs. Smith has consulted professionals, experts from the field, and listened. This Bill will help Canadian law enforcement and prosecutors to be able to do their job and send a message to traffickers around the world, that Canada does not tolerate this crime against human dignity.”

K. Brian McConaghy, Founding Director, Ratanak International

“It is imperative that Canada continues to maintain and enhance a position of strength combating modern day slavery both domestic and international. It is a given that we must protect those weak among us who are at risk of being trafficked. It is no less important that we protect those in other countries from Canadian predators who would traffic in human lives. Such Canadians must be held fully accountable for their actions. This amendment, conforming to international legal norms, positions Canada to do just that and as such is to be commended.”

Shae Invidiata, Founder, (free-them)

“In conjunction with The Act and The Purpose, The United Nations deems a case to be human trafficking if ‘threatened of’ or ‘use of violence, force, coercions, fraudulent misrepresentation or fraudulent means’ is used. Without any hesitation these methods constitute exploitation and, in supporting Mrs. Smith’s Private Members Bill, should be amended into the Criminal Code of Canada.”

Prior to presenting her Private Members’ Bill today, MP Joy Smith will be recognized for her anti-human trafficking efforts. UN Women Canada National Committee will be honouring her at a special luncheon with the UN Women Canada 2011 Recognition of Achievements Award.

MP Joy Smith has placed fourth on the Order of Precedence for Private Members’ Business. The Order of Precedence consists of the items of Private Members’ Business that are scheduled for debate in the House and is chosen randomly at the beginning of each Parliament. In 2009, MP Joy Smith placed third on the Order of Precedence and brought forward Bill C-268. This legislation successfully passed into law creating Canada’s first child trafficking offence with mandatory minimum sentences.

© Marketwire 2011

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