Yesterday, the State Department released its 11th annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report. Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery that subjects countless men, women, and children to forced sexual or labor bondage. There is no country in the world that is immune from this scourge, including, sadly, Canada and the United States. This report, which was mandated by the United States Congress, is a comprehensive evaluation of the efforts of governments throughout the world to combat severe forms of human trafficking. It serves as the primary diplomatic tool by which the U.S. government engages with other nations on this issue and encourages increased efforts in the fight against forced labor, sexual exploitation, and modern-day slavery.
I feel a personal connection to this issue because last summer my daughter volunteered to serve with an organization that fights against human trafficking. Through her work, both she and I learned more about the horrific toll that human trafficking takes on women, men, and particularly children. I am proud that my government has taken a leadership role on this key human rights and law enforcement issue. Canada has been a strong partner with the United States in the fight to bring human traffickers to justice and in helping victims of trafficking recover from their ordeal.
I am pleased to say that this year Canada maintained its Tier I ranking in the Trafficking in Persons report, as it has for the past eight years. This ranking recognizes that Canada fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking and is in that category of countries that is most committed to combating this criminal activity. In particular, in the past year the Canadian government increased prosecutions of traffickers, toughened punishments for child trafficking, and raised societal awareness about trafficking. The report also includes an evaluation of the U.S. government’s own anti-human trafficking efforts. As the report makes clear, there is still a lot more that both of our governments can do to eliminate trafficking in persons. If you are interested in learning more about human trafficking, or in joining the fight against this form of modern-day slavery, I encourage you to review the report, and then get involved in your community to raise awareness and help the victims of this cruel practice.