Bill 8, the Protecting Survivors of Human Trafficking Act will introduce tough new measures to help address human trafficking and better protect and empower survivors.
If passed, the proposed legislation will extend the definition of sexual exploitation to persons of all ages, make it easier for survivors to get protection orders, enable police to take quicker action to rescue survivors, allow survivors to sue traffickers, and create an awareness day to make Albertans more aware of this important issue.
“Too often, Albertans think that human trafficking is something that happens at the remote corners of the developing world. The truth is it happens in our own communities, and sometimes it happens as close as the business or house next door. That’s why Alberta has to be a leader in this fight.”Jason Kenney, Premier
“Survivors rely on a patchwork of existing remedies and statutory protections, and too many fall between the cracks in our system. We are strengthening a survivor’s ability to get away from this physically, emotionally and financially damaging abuse. We are taking action to be a leader in the country’s approach to protecting and empowering survivors.” Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
“Human trafficking is the reprehensible exploitation of people, mostly young women and children. We must strengthen protections for survivors. We are continuing our commitment to end violence against women and girls and empowering them to take their lives back. We will raise awareness and, by working together, we can support survivors and prevent this horrific act from impacting more people.”Leela Sharon Aheer, Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women
“Human trafficking is a vile and insidious crime and a significant number of its survivors are under the age of 18. These children and youth have a right to physical and emotional safety, security and well-being. We are committed to standing up for the survivors of human trafficking and helping them find a path to a brighter future.”Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Children’s Services
“The human trafficking legislation will benefit survivors and hold offenders accountable in these horrific crimes against persons. Prevention, prosecution and protection through partnership is paramount to tackling these issues in Alberta. We look forward to law enforcement agencies, government and non-profit agencies all working together with this new legislation in Alberta.”Cpl. Kim Bradfield, KARE Counter Exploitation Unit, RCMP
“An awareness day, emergency protection orders and the ability to sue traffickers can help those who have suffered. We work closely with law enforcement and community partners to support those who are in immediate danger from their traffickers, and it is abundantly clear that we need to do more to create much-needed protection at critical stages.” Kate Quinn, executive director, CEASE: Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation
“Human trafficking is an extreme human rights violation that impacts some of the most vulnerable people in our province. Because human trafficking remains largely underground, victims are often not identified, and convictions are rare. Addressing human trafficking requires the concerted efforts of all of us, including government, law enforcement and NGOs to prevent this human rights abuse, protect victims and prosecute traffickers.”Amy Wilson, executive director, Action Coalition on Human Trafficking
As part of a broader provincial strategy, human trafficking legislation fulfils a commitment made during the throne speech in May 2019.
- Human trafficking is a serious crime that exploits people of all ages, ethnicities and genders. It takes three forms: sexual exploitation, forced labour trafficking and trafficking in human organs or tissues.
- In 2018, police reported 228 human trafficking incidents in Canada – 12 were in Alberta.
- This new legislation would allow government to create:
- An annual day – Feb. 22 – to bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking.
- A standard definition of human trafficking.
- A standard definition of sexual exploitation.
- A statutory tort allowing victims of trafficking to sue their traffickers.
- A statutory remedy allowing victims to secure a protection order from their traffickers.
- A warrant permitting a police officer entry.
- Alberta’s proposed legislation also has innovations not found in other provinces, such as:
- adding a warrant permitting entry
- allowing violence or threats of violence of pets to be considered when determining whether the threshold of human trafficking has been met, and including the return of pets to a survivor as a condition of a human trafficking protection order