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  1. Executive summary
  2. Background
  3. Summary of consultations
  4. Information needs
  5. Current data holdings
  6. Indirect indicators
  7. Challenges
  8. Conclusion
  9. Summary
  10. Bibliography

1   Executive summary

While trafficking in persons (TIP) has become a worldwide concern, current data collection activities reveal many shortcomings: data are limited in scope, incomparable and insufficient to ascertain the true extent of the problem in Canada.

This study was undertaken by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS) and funded by Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC) to examine the feasibility of developing a national data collection framework to measure trafficking in persons in Canada. Consultations were undertaken with key stakeholders from provincial and federal government departments including members of the Interdepartmental Working Group on Trafficking in Persons (IWGTIP), the police community, non-government organizations (NGOs) and academics.

The overriding theme throughout the consultations was the lack of comprehensive, reliable and comparable data on human trafficking. The underground nature of trafficking networks, victims' reluctance to report crimes to the authorities, difficulties in identifying victims, and the sensitive nature of the data are all factors that present real challenges for reliable data collection. Furthermore, the minimal information that is available in Canada is dispersed across different departments and agencies within government and other organizations including law enforcement and NGOs each using their own criteria to define a victim of trafficking thus generating non-comparable information. In the absence of reliable, ongoing information to inform the issue, it is unknown whether incidents of human trafficking are increasing or decreasing, and whether the current justice responses are effective, which in turn, renders policy decision-making a challenge.

This report identifies a number of data collection and research strategies that could contribute to a better understanding of the nature and scope of human trafficking in Canada. This is fundamental in assisting Canada to strengthen its responses to this crime in furtherance of its international obligations under the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (hereafter the "Trafficking Protocol"). Possible approaches towards improving data collection on trafficking in persons within Canada include: developing consensus on definitions, indicators and concepts; examining the feasibility and implications of enhancing the content of existing CCJS databases; and, addressing specific information gaps through research studies.

This report also examines a range of approaches to the collection of data on human trafficking that have been developed and initiated in a number of European countries and in the United States. The report briefly outlines some examples of these international activities which may provide insights and offer lessons learned for Canada.

2   Background

Trafficking in persons (TIP) 1  involves the recruitment, transportation or harbouring of persons for the purpose of exploitation. At its core, the crime is about the exploitation of another person's labour or services and is a phenomenon that occurs worldwide. Men, women and children can be bought, sold and forced to provide their labour or services in the commercial sex trade, sweatshops, agriculture, domestic service, and other types of servitude. While individual circumstances vary, fraud, coercion or force typically distinguishes trafficking victims from people who are smuggled. Human trafficking can occur internationally where persons are moved from one country to another, as well as domestically within the borders of their own country.

Estimates of global human trafficking have ranged greatly over the years and questions have been raised about the accuracy of these estimates due to the availability, quality, comparability and reliability of the data, as well as difficulties in replicating the numbers. Furthermore, there is considerable discrepancy between the estimated number of victims of human trafficking and the number of victims coming forward. Countries around the world continue to struggle with developing an effective mechanism for counting the number of trafficking cases, the victims and their traffickers.

  1. "Only by understanding the depth, breadth and scope of the problem can we address…. how to counter it. So far we have not attained much knowledge and therefore initiatives have been inadequate and disjointed. Policy can be effective if it is evidence-based, and so far the evidence has been scant." (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2009).

In recent years, Canada has passed criminal legislation on trafficking in persons. However, similar to other countries worldwide, difficulties remain in assessing the nature and extent of TIP in Canada. Given the limited amount of national data available on trafficking in persons in Canada, in 2007/2008 and 2008/2009 Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC) provided funding to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS) at Statistics Canada to conduct a feasibility study in order to increase understanding of human trafficking in Canada.

Based on interviews with a variety of stakeholders, this report summarizes the current understanding of human trafficking in Canada, including existing data holdings, data needs and information gaps, and identifies possible direct and indirect indicators. The report also presents a description of challenges in relation to the collection and sharing of information, and proposes approaches for consideration that could improve overall data collection at the national level. In addition, a range of international approaches to data collection are presented which may offer insights and lessons learned regarding future direction. Reliable information and data on issues relating to human trafficking are essential tools that will inform and assist policy makers in the decision-making process.

The feasibility study was conducted in two phases: the first phase consisted of consultations with a wide range of participants with expertise and/or familiarity with human trafficking. The list of stakeholders consulted includes federal representatives of the Interdepartmental Working Group on Trafficking in Persons (IWGTIP), representatives from provincial government departments, the police community, non-government organizations and academics (see Appendix I for the list of agencies and organizations that were contacted). In order to gain a more thorough understanding of the data that currently exist in Canada, the second phase of the feasibility study consisted of follow-up consultations with those organizations that, through the first phase of consultations, indicated that they collect data on human trafficking.

The primary purpose of this report is to assess the information that is available within Canada about human trafficking, to highlight what is not known, and to suggest how information gathering could be improved.

3   Summary of consultations

During March and April 2008, the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS) conducted consultations with key stakeholders in an effort to examine the feasibility of developing a national data collection framework that would identify options for measuring trafficking in persons in Canada.

In developing the list of stakeholders to be consulted, the CCJS included federal government members of the Interdepartmental Working Group on Trafficking in Persons (IWGTIP), representatives from provincial governments, the police community through the Police Information and Statistics Committee (POLIS), RCMP Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre, the Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons in British Columbia, non-government organizations (NGOs), and members of the academic community.

A consultation questionnaire was sent to nearly 90 contacts with an expertise in the area of human trafficking. A total of 35 completed questionnaires were returned to CCJS, including 18 (51%) government representatives, 9 (26%) police agencies, 6 (17%) NGOs, and 2 (6%) academics. Stakeholders were asked to consult with colleagues within their respective departments or organizations and respond to the questions as completely as possible. In those instances where the consultation document was sent to more than one representative within a particular government department, one completed questionnaire was submitted to reflect the position of the department. Broad participation was important to ensure that the results accurately portray the current situation regarding objectives and priorities, data availability, information needs and gaps in our collective knowledge of human trafficking in Canada. The responses received from participants were aggregated and appear in Appendix III. Specific suggestions and comments were incorporated into the document where applicable.

The purpose of phase I of the consultation process was to:

1. Clarify and prioritize the objectives of a possible national data collection framework for human trafficking.

2. Define the:

  1. scope of human trafficking (e.g., sexual exploitation, labour exploitation, forced removal of human organs and tissues, etc.);
  2. units of measurement (incident, victim, accused, case);
  3. level of analysis (domestic, international, level of geography within Canada: national, provincial/territorial, census metropolitan area) to be collected; and,
  4. victims of human trafficking.

3. Understand the data and information needs of various government departments and organizations related to human trafficking and identify data gaps.

4. Identify the types of data and information that are currently being collected by departments and organizations.

5. Identify potential indicators (both direct and indirect) of human trafficking.

6. Identify the challenges that will need to be addressed regarding data collection and data sharing.

Upon completion of phase I of the consultations, a second round of consultations was conducted with those stakeholders that indicated that their department or organization collects data and/or information about human trafficking (November 2008 to January 2009). Specifically, respondents were asked the following types of questions:

  1. What type(s) of information is being collected by your organization/ agency?
  2. How is the information being collected?
  3. What is the information being used for?
  4. Could additional information be collected to address identified data gaps?
  5. Is your organization willing to share your information?
  6. What difficulties does your organization face when collecting TIP data?
  7. What obstacles would need to be overcome to facilitate information sharing across departments and organizations?

The following summarizes the results of the consultations and is organized according to the survey questions. The responses highlight the major issues, questions and challenges raised during the consultations.

3.1  Objectives

The stakeholders were provided with a list of five possible objectives for a national data collection strategy for human trafficking and were asked to rank them in order of importance. Based on the consultations, respondents ranked the objectives in the following order:

  1. to improve the detection and reporting of human trafficking;
  2. to provide information that will enhance the capacity of government, law enforcement and NGO's to make evidence-based decisions;
  3. to establish baseline information;
  4. to work towards consistent and accurate data collection practices; and,
  5. to increase public awareness.

Stakeholders were also asked to state why the objectives were important. The following highlights some of the comments provided:

  1. "It is important to work toward consistent and accurate data collection practices, in order to establish a baseline of information and determine the scope of the TIP problem in Canada. We receive many questionnaires including the US TIP questionnaire, which ask for statistics and we are not able to provide accurate data. Once we have the data, we can then make better policy decisions."
  2. "There is no system of analysis or response. We need a systemic framework of data collection, analysis and policy development. Through establishing a baseline it will be possible to measure outcome of initiatives from the step above."
  3. "It is vital to obtain statistics on the incidence of TIP in Canada, which will impact on our response to the issue."
  4. "For us it is most important to improve the detection and reporting of trafficking so women can receive care and assistance."

Stakeholders also suggested a number of additional objectives which focused primarily around victim identification, research and reporting, and responses to human trafficking:

1) victim identification:

  1. track missing individuals (particularly children) using identification information worldwide;
  2. facilitate victim identification and information sharing; and,
  3. distinguish between trafficking for sexual exploitation and trafficking for labour.

2) response to human trafficking:

  1. establish concrete action;
  2. improve government responses (e.g. services for victims);
  3. develop prevention strategies and tracking;
  4. granting/denial of temporary resident permit (TRP) applications; and,
  5. capture deportation rates of women according to country.

3) research and reporting:

  1. provide comprehensive information to Parliament and international organizations;
  2. help determine penetration of organized crime's involvement with TIP;
  3. promote links between researchers, policy makers and educational institutions;
  4. identify risk factors that could prevent and/or reduce TIP;
  5. develop mechanism for tracking demand;
  6. provide data for research purposes;
  7. increase intelligence information;
  8. develop a database to track/find information on the trafficking of children (under 18); and,
  9. monitor migrants and refugees in an ongoing and consistent manner.

3.2  Scope of human trafficking

The human trafficking offences defined in the Criminal Code of Canada focus on the exploitation of the victim, and as such, can be applied to the various manifestations that this crime can take. The TIP offences apply equally to victims brought into Canada from abroad, victims being transited through Canada to another country, and victims who originate and are exploited within Canada. Respondents were asked whether the data collection framework should focus its collection on one or all of these dimensions.

Participants overwhelmingly responded that the data collection framework should not be solely focused on internationally trafficked persons. Many of the stakeholders identified that to obtain a more accurate picture of the nature and scope of human trafficking in Canada, it is essential to monitor all possible scenarios.

The majority of stakeholders thought that it is essential to collect data on international trafficking (97% of stakeholders) as well as domestic trafficking (88%).

Three-quarters of respondents reported that it was also essential to collect data on persons trafficked from Canada (76%) and trafficked persons that transit through Canada en route to another destination (70%).

  1. "The issue of trafficking is convoluted. In order for the government to apply a holistic and comprehensive paradigm to this issue, data on all forms of trafficking need to be collected, disseminated and collated concurrently and on an on-going basis."
  2. "It is useful to know whether Canada is primarily a source or destination country and from where trafficking victims originate. As part of our international responsibilities it is important that Canada be able to track and report on the problem of trafficking in persons inside Canada."

3.3  Forms of human trafficking

While the known cases of human trafficking in Canada have predominantly involved forms of sexual exploitation, stakeholders were asked to identify which additional types of human trafficking were important to capture when collecting national data.

There was wide agreement among stakeholders that the essential types of trafficking to collect include:

  1. trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation (100%);
  2. child sex tourism (82%); and,
  3. forced labour (78%).

Over one-half to two-thirds of respondents reported that it is important to capture data on the following issues:

  1. migrant smuggling (66%);
  2. trafficking for human organs and tissues (62%);
  3. mail-order brides (56%); and,
  4. foreign caregivers (53%)

Fewer than half thought that it is important to collect information on:

  1. foreign adoption (45%) or
  2. forced begging (32%).
  1. "Too early/arbitrary to focus only on one type of exploitation and eliminate data collection on others. It is important to gather data on all forms of trafficking in Canada to provide law enforcement authorities and partners with a clear picture of the scope and type of TIP."

It is important to note that while a large proportion of stakeholders identified information on migrant smuggling and child sex tourism as essential to collect, these illegal activities do not necessarily constitute human trafficking. Individuals who may be brought into Canada as mail-order brides or foreign caregivers are also not necessarily victims of trafficking but they may be more vulnerable to being trafficked. These 'forms' of trafficking identified by respondents reflect differences in perspectives of what may or may not constitute trafficking in persons.

TIP is often confused with migrant smuggling which involves the illegal movement of persons across international borders for profit. Smuggled migrants consent to the illegal transaction and unlike trafficking they are generally free to leave once they reach their final destination. It is recognized that in some cases, smuggled migrants may subsequently be subject to exploitation and become trafficked persons. And in the case of child sex tourism, the child who is the victim may have been trafficked, but the individual who engages in tourism for the purposes of engaging in sexual conduct with children may be guilty of other offences but not human trafficking. While there may be linkages between these activities and human trafficking, the activities themselves do not necessarily constitute trafficking.

3.4  Defining victims

In order to understand the phenomenon of human trafficking, the first step is to have a clear and unambiguous definition. As such, stakeholders were asked to identify the point at which a person would be considered a 'victim' or 'survivor' of human trafficking according to their organization.

While a range of responses were provided, there was wide agreement among stakeholders that:

  1. persons identified and confirmed by the authorities should be considered trafficking victims (97%); followed by
  2. persons identified by authorities (89%); and,
  3. victims receiving services (83%).

There was considerably less agreement among the respondents for the remaining possible categories of trafficking victims, which include:

  1. individuals who self identify as victims (69%);
  2. TIP victims that declined services (67%); and,
  3. 'Suspected' but not confirmed victims (43%).
  1. "It is difficult to agree on what constitutes a TIP victim."
  2. "A person may be identified as a victim of trafficking for different purposes. In an immigration context, an immigration officer may grant a person a temporary resident permit if the officer 'suspects' that the individual is a victim of trafficking even though no criminal charges have been laid…In the criminal law context, a person may be identified by police as a victim of trafficking when charges are laid against an accused and the offence is only alleged. The threshold may be different than in an immigration context where the guidelines only require that a person be 'suspected' of being a victim."

Another dynamic that may impede the identification of trafficked persons in Canada is that trafficked persons may not see themselves as a victim or a survivor of trafficking. They may not realize that what has happened to them was a criminal offence until much later after having received support and healed from the experience.

The accuracy and consistency of victim identification across the various organizations and departments is central not only to understanding the true extent of the crime, but also to providing timely victim services and support. The consequences of not identifying victims can be considerable in their impact on the course of action taken (e.g., removal from the country, criminalized, re-trafficked) and on the accuracy of data collection.

3.5  Defining human trafficking

As a follow-up question to assess whether stakeholders have the same or equivalent understanding of the issue, respondents were asked whether their organization has a definition for victims of human trafficking.

Results revealed that the respondents are not consistent in how they define human trafficking:

  1. One-third of respondents indicated that their definition was based on the human trafficking offences in the Criminal Code of Canada or in conjunction with the definition in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
  2. One-quarter of stakeholders reported that they have their own definition of human trafficking (predominantly NGOs).
  3. 20% follow the guidelines contained in the United Nations (UN) Trafficking Protocol.
  4. One respondent stated that they do not have a definition; and,
  5. the remaining respondents (5) did not respond to this question.

A number of respondents indicated that their definition follows that of the Trafficking Protocol. It is worth noting, however that a "victim of human trafficking" is not explicitly defined in the text of the Trafficking Protocol.

U.N. Trafficking Protocol

The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, came into force on December 25, 2003. Canada ratified the Trafficking Protocol on May 13, 2002. Article 3(a) of the Protocol breaks down the offence of trafficking in persons into three elements that are to be considered jointly:

  1. criminal acts (recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons);
  2. the means used to commit these acts (the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or a position of vulnerability, giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person); and
  3. the purpose, goals or forms of exploitation (prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs).

Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs. It should be noted that the consent of the victim is irrelevant where any of the means identified in the definition have been used. In addition, the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation shall be considered trafficking in persons even if this does not involve any of the means set forth above. Under the Trafficking Protocol, a child is any person under 18 years of age.

As party to the Trafficking Protocol, Canada is obligated to enact domestic laws to criminalize human trafficking and also to undertake measures for the prevention of human trafficking and the protection of its victims. Canada's approach has been multi-faceted through supporting the 3 'P's' as outlined in the Trafficking Protocol: prevention, protection and prosecution; as well as adding a fourth 'P', that of working in partnership with key stakeholders both nationally and internationally.

TIP offences under the Criminal Code of Canada

In 2005, three specific offences were added to the Criminal Code of Canada to address trafficking in persons (sections 279.01, 279.02, 279.03). Specifically, these new offences prohibit persons from:

  1. engaging in specified acts for the purpose of exploiting or facilitating the exploitation of a person;
  2. receiving a financial or other material benefit resulting from the commission of a TIP offence; and,
  3. withholding or destroying of documents, such as identification or travel documents for the purpose of committing or facilitating the commission of a TIP offence.

In addition, section 279.04 specifies that a person exploits another person if they cause them to provide, or offer to provide, labour or a service by engaging in conduct that could reasonably be expected to cause the other person to believe that their safety or the safety of a person known to them would be threatened if they failed to provide the labour or service. Exploitation is also defined as causing a person, by means of deception, the use or threat of force, or other form of coercion, to have an organ or tissue removed. As well, the offence stipulates that no consent to the activity of trafficking is valid.

Immigration and Refugee Protection Act

In addition to these Criminal Code offences, charges related to human trafficking can be laid under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). The IRPA includes a human trafficking offence (section 118); however, it only applies to cases involving transnational trafficking, that is, the trafficking of persons into Canada. The offence carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $1 million. This offence came into force in 2002.

Respondents commented that human trafficking is very difficult to define, and that there is need for a common definition to prevent "blurring lines" between human trafficking, migrant smuggling, child sex tourism and prostitution. There continues to be a lack of clarity and continued confusion, and in some cases disagreement, regarding what should and should not to be included under human trafficking. For example, the concept of exploitation within the trafficking offence is very broad, and as such the parameters of what may be considered exploitative to some organizations may include child pornography, child sex tourism, child sexual exploitation and adult prostitution. For the purpose of concise and consistent data collection, understanding the differences between these issues must be clearly understood.

The concept of domestic trafficking also may not be clear. For example, 'human trafficking' is being applied to cases of domestic prostitution.

  1. "In many instances, there is a blurring of lines between the recruitment and grooming of young people into the sex trade, and the geographic movement of sex trade workers from one location or community to another."
  2. "Difficult to define and measure. Prostitution is difficult to separate out when recruitment is involved, but it needs to be. The policy solutions and approaches are not necessarily the same however."
  3. "Need to clarify the definitions (e.g. TIP, human smuggling, prostitution, forceful confinement)."
  4. "An individual who is subjected to labour or sexual exploitation is a victim of human trafficking."
  5. "The organization's role is not to identify victims but rather to work with the victims, as witnesses, in order to mount an effective human trafficking prosecution."

Confusion regarding the basic definition of human trafficking has implications not only for data collection efforts, but also for victim assistance, criminal justice responses and policy development. The lack of a widely shared common understanding of the basic features of human trafficking is a major impediment to consistent data collection and reporting.

3.6  Level of geography

Respondents were asked about the level of geography that would be important to collect regarding human trafficking. Most stakeholders reported that the collection of human trafficking data only at the national level was insufficient. The overwhelming majority of respondents identified that it is essential to collect detailed statistics at the national level (97%), followed closely by provincial/ territorial breakdowns (91%), and lastly, but still essential to collect is data by census metropolitan area (CMA) (88%).

  1. "Geographic data is essential in assessing the nature of the problem. This must include city level granularity when possible as these are the ports of entry to the country and will provide key data."
  2. "Need data collection at all levels so we can be aware of what is happening and provide services to those who have been trafficked. Also we can look at the factors locally (or provincially) that are contributing to the demand for cheap and exploitable labour."
  3. "To obtain as complete a picture as possible information/stats are necessary from all levels. It is also essential to incorporate preventive measures that include out of the country efforts such as consulates, liaison offices, foreign missions, NATO missions, etc. Source interventions would have a positive effect on domestic human trafficking responses."
  4. "Any strategy aimed at data collection on TIP must remain seized of the reality that Canada's major urban centres are the largest recipients of new immigrants, and are likely also the parts of the country where TIP is most likely to occur. Organized crime is likely to be a larger consideration in major urban centres, and one might suspect that TIP would also be a larger problem in those centres, making them logical starting points for data collection."

4   Information needs

4.1  Direct indicators

Stakeholders were asked to identify the types of data and information that they require in order to meet their information needs regarding human trafficking. This question was not intended to be a detailed needs assessment exercise, but rather to provide a general overview of the types of information needs.

  1. "Decisions need to be made around what information is needed, where the data gaps lie and why we need to collect it. This level of understanding is essential before we can build a strategy of how to collect it." (International Organization for Migration, 2007).

Over 80% of respondents indicated that it is essential to collect:

  1. number of incidents of human trafficking (cases);
  2. type of exploitation (sexual exploitation, forced labour, etc.);
  3. number of international and domestic incidents;
  4. number of victims; and,
  5. victim characteristics.

Between 60% and 70% of respondents identified the following indicators as important to collect:

  1. number of 'suspected' and confirmed incidents
  2. number of persons accused of TIP
  3. number of prosecutions
  4. number of convictions
  5. citizenship of victims
  6. accused characteristics
  7. number of incidents attributed to organized crime
  8. number of Temporary Resident Permits (TRPs) issued
  9. characteristics of the incident

The indicators that were ranked as desirable but not essential to collect include:

  1. number of TIP victims that received services
  2. number of TIP victims that were re-trafficked
  3. number of repatriated TIP victims and number remaining in Canada
  4. type of disposition
  5. sentence length
  6. types of services received by victims
  7. impacts/consequences of TIP on victims
  8. profits generated through TIP

Other types of direct indicators that participants thought may be of interest to collect include:

  1. health status of victims
  2. number of TIP victims not identified by the authorities
  3. number of victims/accused by industry
  4. forced marriages
  5. victim ethnicity
  6. relationship between the accused and the victim
  7. language spoken by victim
  8. citizenship of accused
  9. number of victims wanting to stay in Canada but are not permitted

Based on the consultations, it is proposed that data collection should focus on those indicators that most accurately measure and inform the issue at hand consistently and from year to year. As such, it is also important to limit data collection to a set of CORE 'need to know' indicators that will help address the two main objectives of the data collection exercise: (1) to improve the detection and reporting of human trafficking, and (2) to provide information that will enhance the capacity of government, law enforcement and NGOs to make evidence-based decisions. Peripheral 'would like to know' items may not be essential to collect. These could be collected through other means, such as qualitative research studies.

4.2  Information and data gaps

Stakeholders revealed that there is a clear need to gain a better understanding of the extent and nature of trafficking in persons in Canada. Respondents were asked to identify the types of specific questions their organization would like answered concerning human trafficking. A wide array of information needs were identified ranging from the most basic baseline information on the incidence of trafficking in Canada, to additional details about the characteristics of adult and child victims, persons accused of trafficking, as well as the demand side of human trafficking.

Specifically, respondents identified seven major areas where information is currently lacking:

  1. ongoing data collection
  2. basic information to inform TIP
  3. victim information
  4. criminal justice response to TIP
  5. demand side of TIP
  6. lack of information sharing and improve communication
  7. creation and maintenance of a national database.

1.The primary data gap mentioned by respondents relates to the need for ongoing, consistent and comprehensive data collection. Many respondents commented on the general lack of data on human trafficking.

  1. "The gaps are cavernous. We are unfamiliar with anything approaching a workable common understanding of trafficking, let alone a coherent data set on victims, offences, incidents etc."
  2. "There is not a system in place to measure the number of investigations, prosecutions, and convictions. We also need better information on victims of trafficking, source regions, destinations and links with organized crime. We also need to know what type of exploitation is occurring (forced labour, sexual exploitation)."

2.Secondly, respondents repeatedly pointed out the lack of the most basic information on human trafficking, such as the number of persons trafficked to assess whether or not it is a problem in Canada. Other basic information needs include: the number of victims; the different types of human trafficking; a need to distinguish between international and domestic trafficking; the involvement of organized crime; how money generated through human trafficking is used; variations in human trafficking across the provinces and Canadian cities; profile of the typical offender; and, the number of traffickers charged and prosecuted.

3.Thirdly, it was expressed that more information on victims is required, specifically: who are the victims of trafficking and what is the profile of a typical victim of TIP; how many children are victims of trafficking; how victims are identified; the extent of Aboriginal people trafficked within Canada; and, the circumstances that lead to victims being trafficked.

4.Fourthly, there is a need to better understand the criminal justice responses to trafficking. Respondents pointed out that they need to know: what is being done by other agencies to detect and deter human trafficking; techniques that lead to successful prosecution or interventions; what is being done by other enforcement agencies to gain compliance of suspected and confirmed victims; the number of temporary resident permits (TRPs) issued and denied; the types of services that victims require; the first point of contact with victims (ports of entry, police raids); and, the role of NGOs in assisting anti-TIP initiatives.

5.Respondents also need to know more about the demand side of the equation. Specifically, how the local sex industry contributes to trafficking both internationally and domestically, and how the demand for cheap labour is tied to human trafficking.

6.Next, respondents noted the lack of information sharing and the need to improve communication. Specifically, there is a need to strengthen relationships and promote sharing of information between the federal organizations and their provincial/territorial counterparts in their respective anti-trafficking efforts, as well as between governments and NGOs.

7.Lastly, respondents had questions about how to manage the data that are currently dispersed across many different organizations and departments with neither definitional standards nor sharing mechanisms in place and the feasibility of centralizing the data. Specifically, stakeholders wondered: which organization(s) would have access to the data; whose responsibility would it be to maintain and manage the database; concerns about the security and confidentiality of databases housing human trafficking data; who will provide training for usage of the database; and, whether the information collected could be used for public awareness and education.

5   Current data holdings

Part of this study was to examine current data holdings to determine and assess the capacity to respond to the information needs identified through this consultation process.

Over half (56%) of stakeholders indicated that they collect some data or qualitative information on human trafficking. However, there is a wide array of information collected including the number of victims and services received, data collected through official police files, number of investigations, temporary resident permits issued, number of cases prosecuted, and research projects. The list below identifies the organizations and departments that currently collect either data or information on human trafficking, and a short description of their data holdings.

Agencies that collect information on human trafficking:

  1. Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre
    Collects data on all investigations on human trafficking including: names and personal information on all alleged victims, suspects and witnesses; details of the allegation including location of the offence, location of where a victim was recruited from, other offences that may be associated with the offence.
  2. Royal Canadian Mounted Police, National Crime Prevention Services Branch
    Collect data through the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's Police Reporting and Occurrence System.
  3. Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Human Trafficking Awareness Coordinator "O" Division
    Official statistics are collected when the files are scored as human trafficking. The Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre keeps detailed records of all trafficking in persons cases brought to their attention.
  4. Royal Canadian Mounted Police, National Missing Children Services
    Closely monitors its missing children cases for indications of domestic and international trafficking of children.
  5. Vancouver Police, Vice Unit
    Collects data through police files (e.g., living off the avails of prostitution, keeping a common bawdy house).
  6. Canada Border Services Agency, Anti-Fraud and Human Trafficking
    Collects intelligence and compiles intelligence reports on suspected human smuggling and potential trafficking victims and traffickers. Also collects intelligence on the circumstances which lead the Canada Border Services Agency to believe that trafficking is taking place.
  7. Citizenship and Immigration Canada
    Information is compiled within the region and office dealing with the case. For example, was a Temporary Resident Permit issued, if yes, date and duration; is this a subsequent permit; client ID number; minor; country of citizenship; work permit issued; third party involvement; gender; summary of the case; and Temporary Resident Permit decision. Information is populated manually after it is received from officers processing cases in the field.
  8. Justice Canada, Criminal Law Policy Section
    Review of reported and unreported court decisions and information provided directly by law enforcement.
  9. Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics
    Official police-reported data, court and corrections data based on Criminal Code and other federal statute offences.
  10. Financial Transactions Reports Analysis Centre of Canada
    Collects data via Section 54 of the Proceeds of Crime (money laundering) and Terrorist Financing Acts.
  11. Public Prosecution Service of Canada, Headquarters Counsel Group
    Collects the number of trafficking in persons cases prosecuted by Public Prosecution Service of Canada.
  12. Alberta Solicitor General and Public Security, Victim Services Branch
    Compiles statistics sent to them from their funded victim service programs.
  13. Université de Montréal, Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Family Violence and Violence against Women; École de service social
    Compiles data related to qualitative information for research purposes.
  14. University of British Columbia, Faculty of Law
    Collects information on source, destination, transit and the demand for sex tourism involving Canadians through secondary sources.
  15. Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons, British Columbia
    Collects information on demographics of trafficking in persons victims, forms of trafficking (labour, organ, sexual exploitation, etc.), movement type (transition, destination), state of physical and mental health; job type. Also collects information on responses to the cases including legal aspects, response of law enforcement and immigration, passport, deportation, Temporary Resident Permit, housing, referral system, other forms of support. Use information for research, education and awareness.
  16. The Salvation Army, Anti-Human Trafficking Network
    Do not have a national database for those encountered that are trafficking in persons cases. There would be records of such identified as trafficking in persons cases through the Salvation Army center that assisted.
  17. Intercountry Adoption Services, Community Development and Partnerships Directorate
    Collects information from embassies regarding situations in certain countries where we suspect the falsification of documents, different versions regarding the origin of children in orphanages, the trafficking of children, etc.
  18. Resist Exploitation, Embrace Dignity
    Keep confidential case histories on all women they serve or come into contact with.
  19. Changing Together - A Centre for Immigrant Women
    Completed an Environmental Scan identifying which service providers in Alberta have dealt with victims of human trafficking.
  20. Persons Against the Crime of Trafficking Humans, Carleton University
    Collect anecdotal evidence about trafficked persons encountered by service providers in Ottawa, and about trafficked persons encountered by law enforcement in Ottawa. Also track number of participants attending information seminars and workshops provided by Persons Against the Crime of Trafficking Humans members.

Overall, the consultations found that there is a lack of comprehensive, reliable and comparable data on human trafficking. This is not surprising given the complexities involved in trying to measure human trafficking. Factors that make this an especially difficult area to collect data are the covert nature of trafficking, victims' reluctance to report to police, the challenge for law enforcement and border officials to recognize and identify this type of crime, and the sensitive nature of the data which makes access, sharing and inter-jurisdictional communication a challenge. It should be noted that while some organizations indicated that they do collect data, the details reveal that the information is gathered from secondary sources, or is qualitative or anecdotal in nature.

6   Indirect indicators

The extent of human trafficking can be measured in a number of ways. One means is through the collection of direct indicators (e.g., number of incidents, victims, accused). Alternatively, researchers have pointed to the use of indirect indicators as another possible measure of human trafficking (Laczko, 2003). Participants were asked to rank the relevance of potential indirect indicators in measuring human trafficking.

Of the suggested indirect indicators, 70% to 80% of respondents identified the following as potential indirect measures for human trafficking:

  1. the number of missing Aboriginal women and girls
  2. number of missing women
  3. number of missing children
  4. incidents of child pornography
  5. number of smuggled migrants
  6. number of illegal border crossings

In addition, participants suggested the following as other potential indirect indicators:

  1. incidents of child luring via the Internet (or attempted luring)
  2. the number of people detained by immigration officials
  3. the number of unaccompanied minors

However, many participants were skeptical about the utility of using indirect indicators to accurately measure the extent and nature of human trafficking. For example,

  1. "The items listed above may be useful indirect indicators of trafficking in persons, however, more information would need to be gathered to establish whether the red flags raised by such conduct are in fact linked to trafficking."
  2. "Most of the identified fields may have some correlation, but how scientifically could you possibly use this data to correlate the data to an empirical measure?"
  3. "The link between TIP and human smuggling has not been fully explored so there may be a benefit in looking at human smuggling in the context of TIP. It is known that persons (who willingly agree to being) smuggled may become victims of trafficking at any point during their journey. That said, it should be noted that TIP and human smuggling should be differentiated and those differences need to be accurately reflected in the numbers and in context piece."

7   Challenges

As previously mentioned, there are a number of complexities surrounding the measurement of human trafficking. Specifically, respondents identified four major hurdles:

  1. the lack of common, concise definitions held by stakeholders;
  2. difficulties in tracking TIP, particularly the lack of awareness surrounding this issue and underreporting;
  3. information sharing due to the confidentiality of the data; and
  4. securing resources to support sustainable data collection.

7.1  Definitions

A key hurdle that will need to be faced is that of definition. As revealed through the consultations, the definitions and basic understanding of what constitutes human trafficking (and what does not) is neither clear nor consistent across the different stakeholders.

In order to obtain an accurate and comprehensive picture of human trafficking in Canada, it is first necessary to identify and engage all stakeholders involved in data collection efforts that are currently underway or planned for the future. These stakeholders would include representatives from applicable government departments, law enforcement, immigration and border services, service providers and NGOs. It would then be necessary to develop a set of standard, clear definitions and criteria that can be agreed to and adopted by all stakeholders in order to consistently identify trafficked victims.

A number of challenges in the development of, and agreement on, a set of common definitions are anticipated. For example, each stakeholder collects information on human trafficking to serve their internal needs. That is, police collect data based on criminal incidents, the RCMP collects intelligence information, NGOs collect information about the persons to whom they provide services, and border security officers collect information about investigations into suspicious persons attempting to cross Canadian borders. As such, each of these agencies collects a different unit of count (i.e., incidents, victims, investigations) which presents particular challenges for data collection, compilation and reporting.

In addition, stakeholders use different definitions and criteria when identifying the status of a victim. Perhaps this is due, in part, because each agency encounters victims at a different point along the human trafficking continuum. For example, when officials intercept at the point of entry into the destination country, the victim may not consider themselves to be a trafficking victim as they may be unaware of potential exploitation. The perpetrator may have facilitated the illegal entry of another across an international border, but may not necessarily be referred to as a trafficker. Alternatively, during a police raid, a person may be 'suspected' of being a trafficked victim. After further investigation, the person may or may not be confirmed by authorities to be a trafficking victim. In other instances, a person may be confirmed as being a trafficked person only after being granted a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) and receiving services, the person may then be considered an 'ex-victim' of human trafficking.

Another issue which needs to be addressed is to ensure that victims are not double-counted. Victims of trafficking may come into contact with not only the police but also court officials, immigration officers and service providers. However, a national data collection system would need to ensure that victims are counted only once for the purpose of determining the number of trafficked victims.

  1. "Any data collection system will have to ensure common definitions and understanding of terms and the Criminal Code offences so that there is a consistent collection and input of data."

7.2  Awareness and reporting

A second set of challenges to overcome are the difficulties inherent in identifying and reporting on a phenomenon that is hidden and covert by nature. Accurate data on trafficking depends on the ability of police, border and immigration officials to recognize and identify potential cases of human trafficking. Until there is widespread awareness, identification and reporting of this issue, data on trafficking will continue to be underreported. This underscores the importance of continued training for all front-line officials including police, immigration officials and border security. In addition, there is a need for increased education and awareness among service providers including social workers in shelters, medical personnel, sexual assault centres, NGOs, and others in how to identify and effectively manage human trafficking cases.

  1. "Education of both law enforcement and non-law enforcement agencies to accurately score the data and report same without bias. Education of all involved to recognize a human trafficking case and respond appropriately."
  2. "The clandestine nature of human trafficking makes it difficult to collect data at all. Furthermore, since many trafficked persons are fearful of coming forward or do not perceive themselves as victims, further opportunities for data collection may be lost."

Effective reporting also depends upon the willingness of victims to come forward and report their experiences. When victims of human trafficking feel threatened, distrust the authorities, or do not consider themselves as victims of human trafficking, they are less likely to report to the authorities.

7.3  Information sharing

The third challenge noted by respondents was that of information sharing. Restricted data sharing due to confidentiality and respondent protection were seen as barriers to the collection of national trafficking data.

  1. "Privacy and confidentiality will be a concern. We believe that there should be consultation on this particular point and would like to be included in any discussion of the means by which to overcome these challenges. Privacy is the reason that we have proposed the anonymized database accessible by a large number of government agencies and service providers. In this case, a wide variety of actors would have to be trained to input data in a consistent fashion, in order for conclusions drawn from the information to be accurate."
  2. "May not be able to share intelligence information."
  3. "One challenge which may arise when trying to share and compile data is that different agencies and departments may employ different definitions of TIP or may identify victims in different ways. This could result in too many or too few people being identified. As identified above the problem of "double-counting" will also have to be addressed. Standard definitions and methods of counting would need to be established in order to minimize this risk. Privacy concerns may also arise with respect to the sharing of information. For example, when compiling information on victims of TIP to be submitted to the UN on behalf of Canada, privacy concerns prevented the origin countries of TIP victims from being shared. Therefore it will be important to ensure that data collection is presented in an aggregate form sufficient to protect the privacy interests of victims."
  4. "Different software and data collection systems. There is a need for a harmonized approach. Privacy issues and information sharing barriers."

Currently, there is not a system in place in Canada that has the capability to capture, collate and integrate data from the various departments and organizations that collect TIP information. The development and implementation of a data and information sharing network between government departments at the federal, provincial and territorial levels, as well as non-government organizations will prove to be a very complex, challenging and costly endeavour.

7.4  Resources for sustainable data collection

A final obstacle highlighted by respondents in developing a national data collection strategy for human trafficking is securing the significant resources that would be necessary to support sustainable data collection. Respondents identified a need to develop the capacity to monitor and maintain information systems that collect data on human trafficking.

Ideally, one central agency, with the capacity and legal authority, would draw data from several different sources to meet their information needs. However, this is not currently the case; it is a very difficult, resource-intensive exercise to bring data together from different sources, when agencies are operating with different information needs, data collection systems, definitions, capacities and formats for reporting. A database attempting to integrate data from multiple sources, without standard fields, agreed upon data collection practices and reporting mechanisms is destined to be unsuccessful.

Recognizing that a fragmented data collection approach cannot and will not yield credible and accurate results, there is a need to standardize the way information is collected across all stakeholders. This will not only lead to standardized and comparable datasets, but it also has the potential to significantly enhance the efficiency and targeting of counter-trafficking responses.

  1. "The lack of primary and accurate data is a serious barrier to the effective monitoring and evaluation of Canada's anti-trafficking efforts. Anti-trafficking stakeholders cannot know what is working or identify where the gaps exist if they do not have access to accurate data to help understand the phenomenon."

8   Conclusion

8.1  A framework for data collection on human trafficking

The overriding theme throughout the consultations was the lack of reliable, consistent data on the scope and nature of human trafficking in Canada. The underground nature of trafficking networks, victims' reluctance to report crimes to the authorities, difficulties in identifying victims, and the sensitive nature of the data are all factors that present real challenges for reliable data collection. Furthermore, the minimal information that is available in Canada is dispersed across different departments and organizations including the police, border services and NGOs each using their own criteria to define a victim of trafficking thus generating non-comparable information. In the absence of reliable ongoing information to inform the issue, it is unknown whether incidents of human trafficking are increasing or decreasing or whether the current justice responses are effective. This makes it difficult to know how to develop effective policies and programs.

Consultations confirmed that a number of knowledge gaps remain concerning human trafficking in Canada, including:

  1. stakeholders are not able to answer the most basic questions about human trafficking;
  2. very few organizations or government departments systematically collect data on human trafficking;
  3. there are definitional inconsistencies across agencies/organizations;
  4. consensus is required concerning the types of human trafficking that are important to collect;
  5. there are many challenges to overcome in collecting accurate data on TIP; and,
  6. data sharing may be the most challenging hurdle to overcome.

Research compiled for this study indicates that the development of a sound framework for ongoing data collection for human trafficking would not only help fulfill Canada's commitments under the Trafficking Protocol, but would also provide a fuller understanding of this crime in Canada.

However, in order to accomplish this goal, the data that are collected, compiled and reported must be in line with the overall objectives and the information needs identified, while building in enough flexibility to manage the complexities and changing nature of human trafficking both in Canada and internationally. In addition, data collected must accurately represent the universe that we are trying to capture.

The fundamental principles listed below will help guide any future development of a framework for TIP data collection:

  1. develop consensus on how to define a victim of human trafficking;
  2. develop standardized and consistent methods to collect human trafficking data across all stakeholders;
  3. identify a core set of data on incidents, victims and traffickers. Consensus is required on which direct indicators are necessary to collect; and,
  4. ensure that all data collected be kept confidential.

In order to move towards a fuller understanding of human trafficking, a broad and multi-sectoral perspective is required. As such, strengthening partnerships across all stakeholders and improving inter-agency communication, co-operation and information sharing will enhance data collection efforts.

8.2  Possible approaches towards a data collection framework

Based on the information collected through the consultations and on what information is currently available or could be available, the following series of possible approaches could be considered to address the current gaps in data collection and research.

1. Common understanding of TIP definitions

One of the major difficulties revealed through the consultation process is that existing data on human trafficking are collected by various government departments, NGOs, service agencies and police departments to serve their internal needs. Each agency encounters TIP victims at a different point in the trafficking process using different units of count (incidents, victims, investigations). No one agency has a complete picture. This presents particular challenges for data collection and compilation.

As a first step towards comparable data collection, there is a need to develop a standardized set of definitions and concepts to allow for the collection and reporting of comparable data across the different sectors.

2. Explore the feasibility and implications of enhancing the content of existing CCJS surveys

The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics of Statistics Canada conducts a number of criminal justice surveys that currently collect, or could potentially collect, information to further enhance our understanding of human trafficking including the:

  1. Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR2);
  2. Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS);
  3. Integrated Correctional Services Survey (ICSS);
  4. Transition Home Survey (THS);
  5. Victim Services Survey (VSS); and,
  6. Homicide Survey.

The CCJS, in co-operation with the policing community, collects annual police-reported crime statistics through the Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR2). In 2008, UCR2 data were collected from 155 police services across Canada representing 98% of the population. The UCR2 Survey is currently able to identify the three Criminal Code incidents related to trafficking in persons, 2  detailed characteristics about the victims of human trafficking and their traffickers (including age, sex, charges laid or recommended, location, province, level of injury, etc). As well, the UCR2 Survey can identify the total number of incidents reported by police that fall within the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

In an effort to address some of the information gaps identified through the consultation process, the feasibility and implications of adding content to the UCR2 Survey could be explored.

Possible data gaps that may be considered could include:

  1. distinguishing between the different types of trafficking exploitation (e.g., sexual exploitation, forced labour, human organs/tissues, etc.);
  2. identifying 'suspected' victims -those identified but not confirmed by authorities,
  3. distinguishing between domestic and international incidents of TIP,
  4. ascertaining the number of incidents that were attributed to organized crime,
  5. isolating the number of incidents under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) by section number (i.e., s.118),
  6. identifying TIP-related incidents that were not charged using the 3 TIP offences but under other criminal offences i.e., kidnapping, forcible confinement, uttering threats, extortion, assault, sexual assault, prostitution-related offences, offences against the sexual exploitation of children (i.e., child pornography or child prostitution) and criminal organization offences.

In addition to police-reported data, information about human trafficking offences is available through the Integrated Criminal Court Survey (ICCS) at the CCJS. The Integrated Criminal Court Survey collects detailed caseload, case processing and sentencing information for all Criminal Code and other federal statute charges heard in criminal courts in Canada, specifically, data on the number of charges and cases heard in the courts, the type of decision, the number of convictions and the type of sentence.

CCJS also collects microdata on adults and youth in the correctional system in Canada through the Integrated Correctional Services Survey (ICSS). The survey collects person-based microdata on adults and youth under the responsibility of the Canadian correctional system (federal, provincial and territorial adult and youth), including the number of persons admitted to remand and sentenced custody for specific criminal offences including human trafficking (by Criminal Code section), detailed socio-demographic characteristics such as age, sex, Aboriginal identity, citizenship and education status as well as information pertaining to important aspects of a person's correctional supervision including criminogenic needs, conditions of community release, breaches of supervision.

The Transition Home Survey (THS), developed under the federal government's Family Violence Initiative in consultation with provincial/territorial governments and transition home associations, collects data on the characteristics of residential services for women and their children seeking refuge. The survey also collects information on selected characteristics of the women and children residing in these shelters on a specified day. Shelters that serve not only women escaping domestic violence, such as those providing residential services to men and women seeking refuge for other reasons are also included on the survey. Enhancements that could possibly be made to the THS Survey could include:

  1. the number of TIP victims sheltered by these residential facilities,
  2. the number of beds available to TIP victims in these residential facilities, and
  3. the number of adult and child TIP victims accessing shelters by gender.

The CCJS, with funding from Justice Canada's Policy Centre for Victim Issues, conducted its first national Victim Services Survey (VSS) in 2003. Recognizing the need to monitor the number and types of victim service agencies and to address emerging issues in the field of victim services, the survey has been repeated on a biennial basis since that time. Developed in consultation with federal, provincial and territorial ministries responsible for justice and victim services, and with a number of victim service agencies from across Canada, the survey provides a profile of victim service agencies, information on the types of services offered, and insight into the clients who use them through a snapshot of clients served on a specific date. In addition, the survey collects standardized information from criminal injuries compensation and other financial benefit programs regarding applications for compensation and awards for victims of crime. Possible enhancements to the VSS could include the collection of data on:

  1. the types of services provided to TIP victims, and
  2. the number of adult and child TIP victims receiving services.

The Homicide Survey began collecting detailed police-reported data on homicide incidents, victim characteristics and characteristics of accused persons in Canada in 1961. When a homicide becomes known to the police, the investigating police department completes a survey questionnaire and forwards it to the CCJS. The survey collects detailed information about the homicide incident, the characteristics of the victim(s) and accused person(s) including location, relationship between the victim and the accused, whether the homicide was related to another offence, motive, etc. It may be possible to add a field to the Homicide Survey to capture details about those incidents of human trafficking that led to a homicide.

Impacts of modifying existing surveys

Introducing modifications to existing surveys is a complex, lengthy and potentially costly process requiring considerable developmental work, systems modification and adjustments to current reporting systems, updating manuals, testing and training. In addition, issues ranging from internal priorities and competing resources, to logistics in the re-development of data capture systems, and funding all impact on the implementation of these modifications. Therefore, as a first step, the feasibility and implications of adding content to these surveys will need to be explored.

While some of the data gaps could potentially be addressed through possible modifications to CCJS surveys, other data gaps may be better addressed through alternate data collection methods or through data that are collected by other departments or organizations. For example:

  1. nationality, country of origin, citizenship of victims or accused;
  2. human trafficking flows (source and destination countries); and,
  3. profits generated through TIP.

3. Additional research on data holdings by government departments, NGOs and service providers

Future research could be undertaken to further explore the type and extent of national data holdings related to human trafficking obtained by government (provincial and federal), NGOs and service providers. This would include updating information contained in this report (see list of Agencies in section 5). This research could also examine options on how such data holdings can be reported in a consistent manner across NGOs, agencies and various government departments.

In addition, consultations revealed that NGOs and organizations providing services to victims of human trafficking have a wealth of information about their clientele; however, these organizations do not have a systematic method for collecting, reporting and sharing these valuable data. Therefore, future research could examine possible methods of sharing information between these stakeholders in order to facilitate the possible development of a national data collection framework on human trafficking.

8.3  Possible research projects

Both short and long-term strategies are required to address gaps in information and to strengthen our knowledge base regarding human trafficking. The following identifies a number of potential directions for ongoing and future research.

Enhance understanding of TIP for forced labour

Canadian police intelligence indicates that trafficked persons are predominantly forced to work in the sex trade. Human trafficking for the purpose of forced labour has received less attention in Canada.

Common forms of labour into which people are trafficked include: construction, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, domestic service and the restaurant business. Information from the International Organization for Migration indicates that trafficked labourers frequently suffer physical injuries, are exposed to infectious and communicable disease, post-traumatic mental health symptoms and isolation and are more likely to be exposed to hazardous working conditions (e.g., increased exposure to irritants and carcinogens).

Enhance understanding of domestically trafficked victims

While Canada is not known to be a significant country of origin for victims, reported case law and information from ongoing investigations confirm that Canadian nationals are trafficked wholly within Canada. It is believed that victims that are being trafficked within Canada are largely destined for major centres such as Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

Organized crime and human trafficking

The CISC indicates that a link exists between organized crime networks and trafficking for sexual exploitation in Canada. Estimates indicate that most organized crime groups have the capacity to move multiple victims simultaneously, typically inter-provincially. report_oc_2008_e.pdf.

Not all trafficking in persons involves organized crime groups. It can also be carried out by smaller groups of individuals, family and extended family members or loosely organized groups. However, given the potential profits to be generated, organized criminal groups are attracted to trafficking in human beings.

Continued and ongoing research into the link between organized crime and TIP would add to the overall understanding of human trafficking. In addition, the Financial Transactions Reports Analysis Centre of Canada's (FINTRAC) continued monitoring into potential linkages between human trafficking and money laundering, and pursuing the potential avenue of confiscation of proceeds of crime generated through TIP may provide additional information that could be mined for further insights.

Links between human trafficking and other crimes

Additional research is required to understand the links between human trafficking and other crimes such as drug trafficking, child pornography or terrorist activities.

8.4  Enhancing awareness through training and handbooks

The development and distribution of training manuals or handbooks on human trafficking has the potential not only to enhance awareness, but also may increase the identification and reporting of trafficking cases to the authorities, thus increasing the collection of national statistics on this issue. In addition to ongoing efforts, a range of manuals or training courses could be developed, whether by government or non-government organizations, that address specific audiences including:

TIP guide for Canadian law enforcement

The RCMP has updated the existing TIP reference guide for Canadian law enforcement to include additional information about the identification and protection of victims and useful tips for interviewing victims. This reference guide is intended for distribution to law enforcement agencies nationwide. The RCMP is also preparing an awareness video which will include information about domestic human trafficking cases as well as trafficking for forced labour.

Consideration could potentially be given to the broader distribution of these reference tools to border security personnel at Canadian borders and International Liaison Officers who are strategically located around the world which could further increase awareness and reporting of human trafficking.

Educating judges, lawyers and prosecutors

Similar to the development of training materials and videos for law enforcement officers as is currently being undertaken by the RCMP, there is also a need to educate judges, lawyers and prosecutors. Sensitizing the judiciary to the issue of human trafficking in Canada may serve to increase the identification of trafficking cases, offenders and their victims; which in turn, may increase data collection on human trafficking.

A handbook for health care providers

Throughout the trafficking cycle, victims are likely to experience physical, sexual and/or psychological abuse while having limited or no access to health services. The development of a comprehensive manual could serve as a tool to improve understanding among healthcare professionals about human trafficking including the identification of potential victims, their specific medical needs, referral of potential victims to service providers and NGOs, and contacting local law enforcement. Enhancing the ability of healthcare providers in identifying trafficking victims may, in turn, result in increased data collection.

For example, the Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking campaign in the United States helps identify and assist victims of trafficking. A resource guide was specifically developed for healthcare providers and includes a range of information including tips for identifying and helping victims, screening questions to assist in the identification of victims, and health problems seen in TIP victims, etc. rescue_restore/index.html.

Manual for NGOs and service providers

Front-line professionals who come into contact with potential victims of human trafficking may have some indications that the person has been trafficked, but they may not be fully confident of their assessment. A handbook could include guidelines for initial screening and identification of potentially trafficked victims, interviewing techniques, crisis intervention, needs assessment, services to offer, referrals, as well as reporting incidents of human trafficking to law enforcement authorities. The use of this type of tool could potentially improve the quality of services provided to victims of trafficking, and could also enhance the collection of national statistics.

9   Summary

9.1  Quantifying human trafficking

Currently, there is a lack of reliable, quantitative data on the scope and nature of human trafficking in Canada and around the world. The reasons for this are many, but essentially the challenges lie in the hidden nature of the crime, victims' reluctance to report crimes to the authorities, difficulties in identifying victims, the high degree of underreporting, and the sensitive nature of the data which present challenges for access, sharing and inter-jurisdictional communication. Furthermore, the minimal information that is available is scattered across different departments and organizations, each using their own criteria to define a victim of trafficking.

This study on human trafficking provides a 'blueprint' of possible approaches for the development of information to improve Canada's capacity to address key policy questions through evidence-based data. The report identifies a number of data collection and research strategies that could contribute to a better understanding of the nature and scope of human trafficking in Canada, which is fundamental not only in addressing Canada's international obligations under the Trafficking Protocol but also to provide a broader and deeper understanding of this criminal phenomenon in Canada.

Respondents to the consultations indicated that there is a need to increase our knowledge base about human trafficking, and to look at its various forms (sexual exploitation, forced labour, organs, etc.) and its many victims (women, men, children) both nationally and internationally. A concerted effort in the area of data collection would be required to achieve a rigorous data program. The development of standardized and consistently applied definitions and concepts would be necessary in order to consistently measure, compare and interpret data across jurisdictions and over time, on the prevalence and nature of human trafficking in Canada.

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