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Human Trafficking

Human trafficking happens in Canada.

A Human Rights Approach to Human Trafficking

Our congregation takes a human rights approach to human trafficking. We work with groups that are addressing human rights violations that intersect and contribute to human trafficking. In our work, we have come to realize that the global community must stop the violation of a wide range of human rights (e.g. the right to earn a decent wage, to have labour protection, to migrate safely, to have one’s dignity as a person respected, to be free from poverty, racism and sexism, to be cared for in the midst of humanitarian and ecological crises), if we are to stop human trafficking.

United Nations Definition of Human Trafficking

Canada ratified The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (known as the Palermo Protocol) in 2002. This protocol includes an internationally accepted definition of human trafficking.

Article 3(a) of the Palermo Protocol defines “Trafficking in Persons” as:  

the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion of abduction, fraud, of deception of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

The following equation is widely used to illustrate how the different aspects converge to create the reality of human trafficking:

Mobilization + Means + Purpose = Human Trafficking

A trafficker:

  1. Engages in an act of mobilization against another person, such as recruiting or transferring.
  2. Uses at least one means, such as violence or another form of coercion.
  3. And this is done for the purpose of exploiting that other person for financial gain or material benefit through, for example, forced labour or sexual exploitation.

N.B.  Consent from the person experiencing trafficking is irrelevant if obtained through offensive means, including coercion threat, abuse of power, giving of benefits or payment, or being in a position of vulnerability.

Canada ratified the Palermo Protocol in 2002, committing us to the Three Ps of human trafficking:

  1. Prevention—Preventing and combating human trafficking.
  2. Protection—Protecting and assisting those who have been trafficked.
  3. Prosecution—Prosecuting the traffickers.





Copyright 2013. Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada.