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The fight against human trafficking, in all its forms, is a challenge that never ends.

Canada is committed to ending and preventing this crime by taking steps such as ratifying the Palermo Protocol (2002), including human trafficking as a crime in the Criminal Code (2005), and incorporating human trafficking and smuggling within the IRPA (2005 and 2008), and the approval of the National Plan to Combat Human Trafficking (2019). However, human trafficking is a crime for profit that constantly changes, camouflaging itself in all types of legal and even non-legal activities, and posing a constant challenge.

Thus, as the Mary Ward Centre, we collected some general elements inviting the Government to continue the National Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and to innovate strategies to do it, as a crime that day-by-day claims more Canadian and non-Canadian victims from its different modalities.

Please review our recommendations to the Minister of Public Safety to continue and reinforce the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking.


Toronto, April 30, 2024

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc 

Minister of Public Safety

House of Commons 

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

RE: Recommendations for the next National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking 

Dear Minister LeBlanc: 

On behalf of the Mary Ward Centre and our mandate concerning advocacy for Migrants, Refugees and the prevention of Human Trafficking, we would like to express support for the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking (2019-2024) and to share some recommendations to strengthen the next iteration of the National Strategy.

Human trafficking is a complex crime with diverse facets that change rapidly making it easier to hide, attract victims and generate increasing profits. Deciphering criminal human traffickers' actions requires decisive and creative collaborative strategies among diverse sectors. The 2019-2024 National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking represents a positive effort in this regard.

The Mary Ward Centre has been working against human trafficking for more than 10 years; for the last 2.5 years, we have developed and broadcasted a radio campaign from Canada that links community radio stations throughout  Latin America. Currently, 5 radio stations are connected to our live broadcast, and around 1,000 radio stations broadcast the programs on a delayed basis (part of the World Association of Community Radios in Latin America (AMARC-LA). This program is a collaboration between the Mary Ward Centre and CHHA Radio Latina in Toronto. Once per month we inform and raise awareness about the crimes of human trafficking and smuggling, the risks of border crossings and resorting to illegal migration mechanisms, and the role of disinformation by illegal gangs to recruit victims. We also inform about Canadian immigration policies and the rights of the migrant population and migrant workers. The name of the campaign is “No Hay Trato con la Trata” in Spanish, and “End Human Trafficking -A Commitment for All” in  English.

Our shared commitment is to continue the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking strengthening it through the development of a detailed action plan for its implementation, which must contain, at a minimum, the following elements: 

  • A description of the key actors responsible for implementing the plan with delegated responsibilities and authority for each sector. 

  • The National Strategy must develop concrete actions in response to cases of human trafficking for sexual exploitation and labour exploitation. Both of these forms of human trafficking are prevalent in Canada and special attention must be paid to their early identification and specific needs.

  • Execution time, with a definition of monitoring periods and final evaluation. 

  • A system for capturing, processing, analyzing and producing periodic information with data collected by all levels of government and civil society. Information platforms must be interconnected and interoperable. 

  • Generate regular public reports on the status of human trafficking in Canada.

  • A permanent training plan on human rights and protocols for agents responsible for the apprehension and prosecution of perpetrators to guarantee that the rights of victims and survivors are respected and protected at all times of operations. The academic sector plays an important role in this endeavour.

  • A research process on the modalities of human trafficking present in Canada, the areas where they predominate, the characteristics of the victims, the modus operandi and the criminals' operation routes. 

  • Mechanisms for dialogue and exchange of information to accomplish effective international collaboration as established in the protocols signed by Canada.

Regarding the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, Mr. Tomoya Obacata visited Canada in September 2023 concerning the interconnections between human trafficking and labour exploitation. Some actions to achieve are:

  • Strengthen federal monitoring of private sector companies hiring temporary foreign workers by ensuring robust inspection and oversight protocols.

  • Strengthen monitoring procedures by provinces by creating collegiate bodies through strategic alliances with non-governmental organizations and academics. Ensure these specialized teams are trained to carry out independent and objective inspections and can determine if the rights of temporary migrant workers are protected and respected by observing and evaluating their working, living, and other conditions. 

  • Provide open work permits to temporary migrant workers to prevent their potential victimization and exploitation by employers.

  • Create a federal inquiry to investigate the reality of labour exploitation in Canada, identifying the forms of labour exploitation, the sectors in which these cases occur, the types of workers most impacted, country of origin, the relationship of these sectors and jobs with the priorities that the federal government has set as part of its economic development policy, and the relation with migration dynamics.

  • Strengthen coordination, control and prevention strategies for labour trafficking and exploitation with the countries with which Canada has agreements to provide temporary foreign workers. Canada must ensure that the rights of temporary migrant workers are protected and demand that partnering countries reinforce control measures so that the information and processes of recruitment, hiring and travel of workers are aligned with international legal standards.

  • Upon arrival in Canada, temporary migrant workers must be provided with necessary human rights and legal information including where and how to report cases of rights violations, abuse, exploitation and threats. 

In the hope of starting a new cycle of the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, the Mary Ward Centre will continue our collaborative, determined and creative work to "End human trafficking -A Commitment for All". Eva Rodriguez-Diaz will be in touch with your office to set up a meeting to discuss the issues. We look forward to speaking with you.

Yours sincerely,

Eva Rodriguez-Diaz

Manager of Migration, Refugee and Human Trafficking 

Audrey Ferrer


Sarah Rudolph

Advocacy Manager

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