Speech to OSCE on Human Trafficking
I would like to begin by acknowledging the unwavering commitment that Congressman Chris Smith has had in working to stop Human Trafficking, both at the OSCE PA and in his United States of America.
The topic of this year’s supplementary item is a particularly disturbing one. The sexual exploitation of children.
That citizens from our Countries go overseas to exploit children is an all too frequent reality.
Not all Countries are able or willing to protect their children from commercial sexual exploitation. We must do more on our end to make sure that the perpetrators are not able to get away with these horrific crimes simply because they do not occur on our soil.
Canada has already implemented a number of the measures Congressman Smith suggests and we would be happy to share our experiences with others.
Many of these measures were spearheaded by a former Member of Parliament, Joy Smith, whose son was a police officer responsible for investigating these crimes. Ms. Smith, as a back bench MP developed and established a plan to "rescue and restore the victims and prosecute the offenders of Human Trafficking". Her private members bill changed the Criminal Code of Canada and further to that on June 6, 2012 the National Action Plan to combat Human Trafficking was established.
This initiative along with many others has helped bring perpetrators to justice.
Canada has a guide/warning to travellers. 'Child Sex Tourism: It's a Crime' explains the law and the consequences.
Our Criminal Code allows a Canadian Citizen or permanent resident who commits sexual offences against children outside Canada to be prosecuted in Canada. The first conviction took place in 2005 in a case of a man who pleaded guilty of sexual interference against children under the age of 14 in Cambodia. Canada has also worked closely with other Governments on such cases.
We also have a National Sex Offender Registry which is a registry of sex offenders who have been convicted of designated sex offences. This data base is accessible to all accredited Canadian police agencies, in addition to U.S. and International police agencies, providing specific criteria are met.
Human Trafficking, including commercial exploitation of children, is a multi- billion dollar a year business. No Country is immune and we, as parliamentarians, must work together to fight the traffickers and the perpetrators who benefit from the trade in human bodies. We need to hold them accountable, wherever they may commit.
Greater sharing of information between Countries will help, This Supplementary Item provides concrete suggestions that can make a difference in the lives of children and I hope you will all join me in supporting it.