Monday, April 14, 2008

Canada: Rise in Human Trafficking Prompts RCMP to Recount Canadian Victims

MONTREAL, QUEBEC — The sex-slave market in Canada is feared to be much larger than existing official estimates, which has prompted authorities to recount the number of victims in the country.

Joy Smith, the Conservative vice-chair of the parliamentary committee on the status of women, said several analysts have been assigned to the RCMP's human trafficking unit to go over their figures.

The RCMP believes 800 to 1,200 people in Canada have been victims of human trafficking but some activists peg the figure as high as 15,000.

"There's a big gap in those numbers," Smith told The Canadian Press. "This needs-assessment is critical to finding out exactly what we're facing and exactly what we have to deal with here in Canada."

Smith pointed out that the RCMP's figures come mainly from arrest reports, which can provide a misleading snapshot of the situation.

"When the NGOs are saying 15,000, these are the people that take care of the victims," she said.

United Nations tallies suggest 2.5 million people worldwide, including some 1.2 million children, are involved in forced labour through global trafficking...

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT The Canadian Press

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