Times Colonist

U.S. report faults Canada for sex-traffickin­g failures

- SUZANNE FOURNIER

VANCOUVER — Canada needs to do much more to halt human traffickin­g of vulnerable immigrants, and even to prevent its own citizens from being bought and sold as sex slaves, a U.S. State Department report warned yesterday.

“Canada is a source, transit and destinatio­n country for men, women and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitati­on and forced labor,” concluded the seventh annual report on Traffickin­g In Persons released by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezz­a Rice.

The report, which rates the efforts of 170 countries to prosecute trafficker­s and help trafficked persons, was critical of Canada’s success in stopping human traffickin­g in any form.

Human traffickin­g is cited as one of the world’s fastest-growing crimes, and Canada has become not only a recipient of trafficked persons, but also a thoroughfa­re to the U.S., with RCMP investigat­ors citing as many as 800 to 1,200 people in Canada as victims. Some activists put the figure as high as 15,000. The U.S. investigat­ors, who contacted Canadian lawenforce­ment agencies, government and non-government organizati­ons, found that “women and children are trafficked primarily from Asia and Eastern Europe for sexual exploitati­on, but victims from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean also have been identified in Canada.”

It also singled out Vancouver, alone among Canadian cities, by noting that “Asian victims tend to be trafficked more frequently to Vancouver and Western Canada.”

U.S. investigat­ors also warned that “Canadian girls and women, many of whom are aboriginal, are trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitati­on.”

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