I call to order this meeting of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
I would like to welcome our witnesses as we embark on this study of human trafficking in Canada, a scourge that is a violation of basic human rights and, unfortunately, still exists in this country today. Hopefully our committee will be able to come forward with solid recommendations for the and other ministers to better tackle this problem.
We are lucky today to be joined by a number of witnesses from different federal agencies who are here to offer us their expertise.
We are joined today by the Department of Justice, represented by Mr. Matthew Taylor, acting senior counsel, criminal law policy section, policy sector. Welcome, Mr. Taylor.
Joining us from the Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness are Mr. Trevor Bhupsingh, director general of the law enforcement and border strategies directorate, and Mr. Michael Holmes, director of the serious and organized crime strategies division, law enforcement and border strategies directorate. Welcome to you both.
We are also joined by the Canada Border Services Agency, represented by Ms. Lynn Lawless, director of intelligence, targeting and criminal investigations program management. Welcome.
Representing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police we have Ms. Joanne Crampton, assistant commissioner, federal policing criminal operations. Welcome.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is represented by Ms. Carole Sheppard, the acting director, headquarters counsel group. Welcome.
I thought it might be helpful to the committee for me to provide information for you on two separate things: first, the legislative history of Canada's criminal laws on human trafficking, and second, some background information on the types of programs that Justice Canada has funded to enhance services for victims of human trafficking.
Canada's first human trafficking specific offence was enacted in 2002 as part of the enactment of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Section 118 prohibits the trafficking of persons into Canada and targets the means used by traffickers, such as force, fraud, abduction, deception, or coercion to bring victims into our country. It should be noted that the enactment of this offence coincided with Canada's implementation of the UN protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, which Canada ratified in May of 2002.
In 2005, Parliament passed Bill , An Act to amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in persons), and enacted three specific Criminal Code offences to more comprehensively address human trafficking, specifically, section 279.01 which prohibits all forms of human trafficking, domestic or transnational, and for any exploitative purpose; section 279.02, which prohibits the receipt of a financial or a material benefit knowing that it was derived from human trafficking; and, third, section 279.03, which prohibits the holding of identity documents to facilitate human trafficking.
Since that time, additional criminal law reforms have been passed by Parliament. In 2010, a private member's bill, Bill , An Act to amend the Criminal Code (minimum sentence for offences involving trafficking of persons under the age of eighteen years), was enacted, creating a separate offence of trafficking in children that is punishable by mandatory minimum penalties of imprisonment.
In 2012, two years later, a private member's bill, Bill , was enacted, enabling Canada to assume extraterritorial jurisdiction to prosecute in Canada Canadian citizens or permanent residents who commit human trafficking abroad. It also enacted a provision in subsection 279.04(2) that provides guidance to the courts in helping them to determine whether exploitation has been made out, exploitation being an essential element of the trafficking in persons offence.
In 2014, former Bill was passed, enacting the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act.This act provided new mandatory minimum penalties for human trafficking involving adult victims and for the financial benefit and documents offences involving child victims.
Most recently, the government has introduced Bill , an act to amend An Act to amend the Criminal Code (exploitation and trafficking in persons), to bring in force certain amendments that were passed in Parliament in 2015 through a private member's bill, Bill , and also An Act to amend the Criminal Code (exploitation and trafficking in persons). These provisions would enact an evidentiary presumption to help prosecutors prove an element of the human trafficking offence.
That's a bit of a summary of the changes that have been enacted by Parliament. As you can see, these criminal laws in respect of human trafficking have been the subject of ongoing interest and concern by parliamentarians.
At the same time, Justice Canada has supported their implementation in various ways, including through the provision of regular training to police and prosecutors, in conjunction with the RCMP and other police forces, victim services, and other experts. We've developed a handbook for police and prosecutors and fact sheets on key criminal justice issues for police and prosecutors, such as sentencing submissions, bail proceedings, and things of that nature in a human trafficking context. Justice officials have participated in similar efforts internationally, working closely with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to develop similar technical assistance tools to support implementation around the world.
The department is also supporting improvements to victim services. A copy of initiatives that have been funded since 2012 by the department through the victims fund has been provided to the clerk of the committee, I believe, detailing the specifics of each project. Examples for your information include: enhancing victim services delivery in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec; supporting the development of a resource handbook for indigenous women and girls who were victimized through human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation; and, developing a mental health and addictions program for women and girls who were victims of trafficking.
I'm going to conclude my remarks there. I look forward to any questions.
Good afternoon, Chair. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to the committee and its members.
Human trafficking is a criminal offence and a human rights violation. In Canada, indigenous and non-indigenous women and girls, LGBTQ2 members, and youth, including those in group homes, are particularly vulnerable populations with respect to human trafficking.
Public Safety Canada supports the Government of Canada's ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking and to protect its victims, who are among our society's most vulnerable. The department leads federal policy development on human trafficking and chairs federal-provincial-territorial working group meetings to facilitate co-operation, collaboration, and exchange of information and best practices.
Public Safety Canada also manages the contribution program to combat serious and organized crime, which provides funding to eligible organizations leading projects related to anti-human-trafficking efforts. This contribution program has allowed the department to support, for example, the northern outreach project, which brought together a circle of grandmothers from Manitoulin Island, Sault Ste. Marie, and Thessalon to form an action alliance to understand the nature of trafficking in their communities.
Funding has also supported Vancouver's Salvation Army Deborah's Gate program and their efforts to expand its “Living Hope: Life and Living Skills” program to include a barista employment training program, which allows survivors of human trafficking to access trauma-sensitive care and three weeks of vocational training.
As well, we support a number of research projects to broaden our understanding of labour trafficking and the trafficking of indigenous women and girls. Part of the work the department leads has included providing information to the public on federal anti-human-trafficking efforts through the publication of reports on progress and the development of a quarterly newsletter that is shared with stakeholders across the country and highlights events, training, legislative updates, current research reports, and other relevant developments in the anti-human-trafficking movement. The newsletter, for example, reports on progress and other resources developed in-house that are publicly available on Public Safety Canada's website.
In recognition of the multidimensional nature of human trafficking, the federal human trafficking task force brings together officials who cover a wide range of issues, from global affairs to indigenous issues and law enforcement and procurement, to just mention a few. The human trafficking task force, led by Public Safety Canada, comprises representatives from key federal departments and agencies. It is the dedicated focal point for all federal anti-human-trafficking efforts. Representatives from some of those departments and agencies are here today: Justice Canada, the RCMP, the CBSA, and the PPSC. Public Safety Canada works closely with them, civil society, and provincial and territorial stakeholders, and contributes to different working tables across Canada to support information sharing.
The department also participates in different international fora as the federal policy lead on human trafficking. Public Safety Canada also works with international partners and agencies such as the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. As an example, last June, Public Safety Canada led the visit of the OSCE special representative and coordinator for combatting trafficking in human beings, who was here on a five-day visit to Canada to discuss the country's progress in implementing the OSCE anti-trafficking commitments.
Public Safety Canada has also been represented at the conference of the parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime working group on trafficking in persons and at the high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the appraisal of the United Nations global plan of action to combat trafficking in persons.
Further to this, regular engagement with the United States and Mexico occurs through a trilateral working group on trafficking in persons to encourage the exchange of best practices, regional trend identification, and trilateral collaboration to develop common approaches to addressing this important issue. Through the department's participation in this trilateral working group, we've been able to advance important work, such as the creation of a North American directory of service providers, to support victims of human trafficking across North America.
Last fall, in October 2017, the evaluation of the 2012-16 national action plan to combat human trafficking was finalized and has since been made available on Public Safety's website. The evaluation found that there is a continued need to have a national strategy to combat human trafficking and there are opportunities for the action plan to evolve. The evaluation also emphasized that there is limited reliable data to map the scope of human trafficking in Canada and that federal-provincial-territorial collaboration could be strengthened. These recommendations will help inform the Government of Canada's way forward to combat human trafficking.
Public Safety Canada and the human trafficking task force members continue to work with our domestic partners, including provincial and territorial governments and non-governmental organizations, to provide dedicated support and protection for victims, including trauma-informed services, designed to address the particular needs of human trafficking victims.
Public Safety Canada is taking steps to engage federal, provincial, and territorial stakeholders to enhance collaboration at the national level and to improve Canada's data collection. As part of these efforts, a consultation process is planned for the spring to gather information to help shape federal efforts to combat human trafficking.
To conclude, Chair, I provided a brief overview of the extensive efforts that are taking place within the department to eradicate this heinous crime. Tireless efforts are also being made by dedicated Canadians right across the country.
Thanks very much for the opportunity to speak to you today on this important issue. My colleagues and I look forward to answering any questions you may have.
Thank you. Good afternoon.
Mr. Chair and honourable members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to talk to you about the RCMP's role and efforts in human trafficking.
The RCMP plays a central role in the Government of Canada's overarching priority to provide for the safety and security of Canadians and, as such, has a mandate to investigate criminal offences related to human trafficking.
To strengthen efforts to combat the trafficking of persons, in 2005 the RCMP established the Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre at national headquarters in Ottawa. The coordination centre is a resource for Canadian law enforcement agencies in their efforts to combat and disrupt individuals and criminal organizations involved in human trafficking activities. As part of this effort, the centre develops investigative tools and guidelines, coordinates national awareness campaigns and training, disseminates information and intelligence, develops partnerships domestically and abroad, and coordinates national and international human trafficking law enforcement initiatives.
As an extension of the national centre, there are three regional RCMP human trafficking awareness coordinators in the provinces of British Columbia, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. These coordinators raise awareness with regard to human trafficking and build partnerships with law enforcement, government, non-governmental organizations, and the public. Those in these positions are also members of networks that aim to address human trafficking through participation on committees, response teams, and coalitions.
Furthermore, in 2013 the RCMP developed a national strategy to combat human trafficking, which outlines current and future efforts in combatting this crime. The goal of the strategy is to reduce the prevalence of and the harms caused by human trafficking in Canada and abroad.
With respect to the enforcement of legislation, both the Criminal Code of Canada and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act include human trafficking specific provisions. Numerous additional Criminal Code offences can apply to human trafficking cases, including but not limited to kidnapping, forceable confinement, uttering threats, sexual assault, criminal organization offences, and prostitution-related offences. Having these provisions enables law enforcement to address not only international but also domestic human trafficking cases.
The RCMP leverages Canadian and foreign law enforcement information on human trafficking in order to identify new targets or uncover previously unknown threats. The RCMP is also engaged with groups such as the Santa Marta Group, which combines the efforts of NGOs worldwide and clergy from the Catholic Church who collectively work together to eliminate human trafficking.
Of note, from 2005 to November 2017, the RCMP Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre identified 455 cases where human trafficking specific charges were laid. Of the total, 433 were domestic human trafficking cases and 22 were international. Of these cases, 118 have successfully resulted in human trafficking specific or related convictions. These cases involved 321 victims and 180 individuals who were convicted of multiple offences. Currently there are approximately 296 human trafficking cases before the courts that involve approximately 506 accused and 420 victims.
While these numbers provide insight into the prevalence of this crime in Canada, the clandestine nature of human trafficking and the reluctance of victims and witnesses to come forward to law enforcement, as well as the challenges of identifying victims, make it extremely difficult to assess the true extent of this crime. Furthermore, the statistics identified by the coordination centre are derived from human trafficking specific cases across Canada that the centre's research has identified and should not be taken as a full representation of the extent or the prevalence of human trafficking.
Reporting of these cases to the national coordination centre is not a mandatory requirement for law enforcement agencies in Canada. It is worth noting that human trafficking for sexual exploitation continues to constitute the majority of trafficking cases encountered by law enforcement across Canada, most often in large urban centres, with most victims being Canadian women. However, more evidence of human trafficking for forced labour has come to light during the past few years, which often involves foreign nationals as victims and perpetrators.
As previously noted, the RCMP's law enforcement efforts are coordinated through the Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre. As an example of our enforcement efforts, in October 2017 the RCMP led the sixth edition of Operation Northern Spotlight, a coordinated law enforcement outreach operation to proactively engage vulnerable persons who are in the sex industry, in an effort to identify and assist those who are being exploited or at risk of human trafficking. The Canadian operation involved 57 law enforcement partners across Canada, and took place in collaboration with counterparts in the United States and the United Kingdom. As a result of this operation, 14 persons were arrested and a total of 21 charges were laid.
In recent years, the national coordination centre conducted several mass distributions of the “I'm not for sale” awareness campaign, and provided training and awareness sessions to law enforcement officials, prosecutors, government employees, non-governmental organizations, youth, and indigenous communities. The RCMP also completed threat assessments on human trafficking. Specifically, Project Safekeeping in 2013 provided insight into the nature and extent of domestic human trafficking for sexual exploitation in Canada, including characteristics of traffickers and victims.
The RCMP continues to monitor and assess the level of human trafficking in Canada. While the national action plan to combat human trafficking expired on March 31, 2016, the RCMP's efforts to combat this crime and associated crime continue, primarily through the national coordination centre and in line with the RCMP's national strategy. Going forward, the RCMP will continue to collaborate with its law enforcement partners across the country to investigate this crime and continue to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to be here today. I would be pleased to take any questions.
Good afternoon to all the members of the committee. I'll take only a few minutes to clarify for you the Canada Border Services Agency's role and responsibilities in identifying and combatting human trafficking.
As the committee knows, the enforcement and application of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act are the responsibility of a number of government departments and agencies.
It is mainly the responsibility of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, or IRCC, to develop the eligibility policy that sets out the conditions of entry and stay in Canada, but the Canadian Boarder Services Agency, or CBSA, shares the responsibility of enforcing the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act with the IRCC and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
To fulfill its mandate, the agency shares data and information with other departments and law enforcement partners as needed.
Specifically, the CBSA is responsible for detecting suspected instances of human trafficking; interdicting suspected human traffickers involved in cross-border movement and exploitation of victims; contributing to the safety and security of potential victims by ensuring they are separated from the control of suspected traffickers, where identified, and referring them to appropriate government services; and, through our efforts of investigation and collection of information, supporting the investigation and prosecution of offenders.
The CBSA and the RCMP have a complementary approach in relation to immigration offences. Broadly speaking, the RCMP is responsible for immigration offences related to organized crime, human trafficking, and national security.
The CBSA is in charge of other immigration offences, including offences related to migrant smuggling, fraudulent documents and misrepresentation, as well as the general offence is covered by the legislation. The agency communicates with the RCMP when it discovers indicators of human trafficking while conducting an investigation on other offenses.
The CBSA refers all suspected human trafficking cases to the RCMP for investigation and refers potential victims to IRCC for support.
As human trafficking and human smuggling are often confused, I thought I would take this opportunity to differentiate a little bit between these two offences.
On the one hand, human trafficking occurs where one party violates another party's rights by depriving them of their freedom of choice for the purpose of exploitation. It can occur both across and within borders and may involve extensive organized crime networks. It involves recruiting, transporting, or harbouring individuals through force or through other forms of coercion or deception.
Human smuggling on the other hand is a form of illegal migration that involves the organized transport of a person across an international border, usually in exchange for a sum of money, and sometimes in dangerous conditions. In such cases, when the final destination is reached, the business relationship ends, and the smuggler and the individual part company.
However, the CBSA is very aware that a person who has agreed to be smuggled into the country may also become a victim of human trafficking at the hands of their presumed smuggler. Upon arrival at the destination, the person may have their movements restricted or face coercion and exploitation contrary to the initial smuggling agreement. Victims may suffer abuse from their traffickers and may face severe consequences if they attempt to escape.
The CBSA provides its officers with training on recognizing indicators associated with victims of human trafficking, as well as on the support provided to those individuals through referrals to the appropriate government organizations.
However, despite all our efforts, it may be difficult to identify victims of human trafficking at the border. Victims may not be aware of what awaits them when they enter the country. In addition, even if they know that they are being exploited, they may be intimidated and refuse to ask for or receive help.
Human traffickers reap large profits while robbing victims of their freedom, their dignity, and their human potential. The CBSA is an active and engaged partner in combatting human trafficking by detecting and disrupting trafficking operations and the transport of victims to Canada. We continue to work with our partners, both domestic and international, with the goal of preventing Canada from being a destination, a source, or a transit country for this criminal behaviour.
That concludes my opening statement. I'm happy to respond to questions later.
We were advised that the committee wanted to hear from the PPSC, which is our common name, rather than the ODPP, on the following issues related to human trafficking prosecutions: challenges to prosecuting human trafficking cases, the agencies that we work with on these cases, challenges to prosecuting human trafficking in the north, and ways in which the Criminal Code's human trafficking offences can be improved.
First, I should say about the PPSC, and you may have heard it in other contexts from other of my colleagues at PPSC, that we are an independent and accountable prosecuting authority, the main objective of which is to prosecute cases under federal jurisdiction in a manner that is free from any improper influence. The PPSC has approximately 1,000 employees, roughly half of whom are lawyers, in offices across the country and in the territories. For those parts of Canada that are remote from our regional offices, we retain private sector lawyers to appear as agents in connection with our prosecutions.
About two-thirds of our work is occupied with prosecutions under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, and the remainder comprises tax prosecutions, tax evasion and related offences, and other offences created by federal statutes, such as those in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, or IRPA as we often refer to it. In the territories, however, the PPSC has the exclusive prosecuting authority, so we prosecute Criminal Code offences in additional to all of the federal offences.
Matthew Taylor from Justice already gave you a bit of a road map as to the legislative provisions and when they came into force. The offence that appears at section 118 of the IRPA, the trafficking in persons offence, came into force in IRPA in 2002, and I would say its principal distinguishing feature as compared to the offences in the code is that there's a cross-border element, meaning it refers to somebody who is brought into the country by the means described in the section—fraud or deception, and that kind of thing.
The challenges to prosecuting offences with an international element, I would suggest, are probably quite obvious. There are frequently difficulties in gathering evidence from a foreign country in a format that is admissible in a Canadian court. Witnesses who may be required for the case may be reluctant or unwilling to come to Canada to testify, and we may be stymied with regard to ways of obtaining their evidence otherwise, such as by video link, that just may not be possible or the witness may not co-operate. My colleagues have already adverted to the fact that human trafficking victims, complainants, may be reluctant to co-operate with the efforts of the authorities to prosecute the people who have trafficked them into the country.
The agencies with whom we work in respect of these cases are the Canada Border Services Agency and the RCMP, and other police forces, which may be involved in investigating and laying IRPA charges. We would have, as I suggested earlier, jurisdiction to prosecute human trafficking offences in the territories. In the last 10 years, as far as I've been able to determine, in the territories there has not been a charge laid under the IRPA trafficking provision.
Finally, with respect to potential amendments to the Criminal Code provisions, because our jurisdiction is with respect to the IRPA offence, we are not in a position to offer any comments with respect to the Criminal Code trafficking-related offences.
This question is for Canada Border Services—or anyone else might answer it.
I had a meeting in my hometown, Niagara Falls, on this subject about a week ago, where one of the people there said that a very young woman didn't want to come forward, even though she's a victim and was trying to escape. She did not want to come forward because she feared she would be deported since she was from outside of the country.
Do you come across examples like that, of people who are worried that if they start talking about what has happened to them, people will know that they got smuggled into the country for the purposes of trafficking?
Thanks for the question. It's a good one.
I think someone alluded to this earlier. In the years following the enactment of the Criminal Code offences on human trafficking, there was a certain period of time during which implementation was required, so you weren't seeing charges laid for those specific offences for a number of years. In the early years of the prosecutions, the principal challenge related to proving the element of exploitation, which requires evidence to show that a person in the shoes of the victim would have feared for their safety if they'd refused to provide labour or services. There was a lot of uncertainty around that element in the initial days, which led to law reform to help courts and prosecutors understand the kinds of evidence required to successfully establish exploitation.
Would I say there are gaps in the law now? It's very difficult for me to answer that. What I can say is that based on the case law, we can see that the courts are now understanding the essential requirements for the offence. They're becoming more comfortable with the kinds of evidence that are required. But by its very nature, human trafficking will always be a difficult offence to investigate because of the power dynamics between the victim and the trafficker. The importance of training and continually reinforcing knowledge among the policing and crown community is really critical, from my perspective.
I would turn to the RCMP for references to Interpol.
With regard to other international engagement, there is a fairly high level of international engagement in human trafficking, from the Government of Canada's point of view. We do attend United Nations transnational organized crime meetings on an annual basis. We have, for example, a trilateral working group to combat human trafficking with the United States and Mexico, which has met annually over the last five years, coming out of a commitment made at the North American leaders' summit. We have attended the United Nations General Assembly to portray Canada's position on human trafficking in general, so there is a very wide range.
We're engaged on different aspects of human trafficking, including, for example, the idea of having a national hotline. There are international examples we are looking at for Canada to possibly pursue. The United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and Australia either have those kinds of systems or are looking into them as well.
There is a very broad range. I would say it's a very broadly addressed issue internationally.
Thanks to all the witnesses for getting us started on this fascinating area.
I want to build on what Mr. Fraser asked Mr. Taylor about initially. I'm trying to get my head around the Criminal Code. Forgive me, but I tried, first of all, to understand where we are with Bill , which you mentioned. To my understanding, the original bill, Bill , was introduced by Maria Mourani to amend the code to provide for consecutive sentences for offences related to procurement and trafficking in persons, and it created what you talked about in another context, a presumption regarding the exploitation of one person by another, and added circumstances that were deemed to constitute exploitation.
Then Bill , which amended that bill, passed with unanimous support almost a year ago, if I'm not mistaken, and it would implement every part of the original bill but the section that implemented the consecutive sentencing part, because the Liberals were reviewing, and still are reviewing, the issue of mandatory minimum sentences.
I just want to know if I have that right. Is that essentially correct? It's not in force yet—or is it in force?
Mr. Casey, Mr. McKinnon has pretty much taken up his time. That's okay, because now we're going to our short snapper round where anybody can ask questions, and I'd like to recognize you for the first question.
Who else has some questions they'd like to ask? Mr. Rankin, Mr. Kmiec, Ms. Rudd, and Mr. Aldag: no problem.
These are shorter questions, with shorter answers, if possible. The answers have been excellent to date.
We'll start with you, Mr. Casey.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I'm just trying to get my head around how I can make this into a short question. I was on this committee back in 2014, when certain provisions of the prostitution law were found to be unconstitutional and the government was obligated to respond. We always wonder, after the exhaustive examination we did, whatever happened.
Mr. Taylor, you referred to it a couple of times, but I think Commissioner Crampton is probably closer to the ground. What impact has Bill , the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, had on the phenomenon of human trafficking?
I direct it to you, Commissioner Crampton, and to you, Mr. Taylor, if you have something to add.
I am just visiting this committee for today. This isn't my area. I normally sit on the environment committee, so the topic of human trafficking is brand new to me. It's fascinating. I commend those of you in the field for working on this important issue and this committee for digging into it.
I have a series of questions, but I'll never be invited back if I go over my time, so I'll just throw them out there. If anybody wants to make comments, please do.
Mr. Taylor, you started with the legislative framework. As I was wrapping my head around this, it seemed that to get us to where we are today, there is some government legislation, and there have been some private members' bills. It seems that when you have private members' bills coming in on government legislation, you may not have a cohesive piece of legislation.
The first question I have relates to the legislative framework on this important topic and whether we actually have the right set of tools. Is it a bit of a hodgepodge of legislation, or do all these pieces actually fit together to give those in the field who are doing enforcement and prosecution the right tools to go after this? Do we have the right legislative tools?
It's a sort of flowing train of thought that I have here, but the questions that come to my mind include the following. Do we actually know who the victims are? From that, do we know who the perpetrators are? I think it was mentioned that organized crime is involved in this. Is it primarily organized crime driven, or are there one-off domestic individuals? What's the mix? Do we actually have the data to know who's the victim and who's doing it?
Numbers were presented. I thought those seemed low, and yet they're high for what I would expect in Canada, but then the convictions seem low, and it's been said that it's kind of working its way through the system. What's the magnitude, and do we actually have a handle on that? Do we need to do more? Is there a way of capturing what's involved with this?
Flowing from that, what's behind it? Somebody mentioned the power dynamics, but ultimately, is it about money? That brings me to organized crime. Flowing from that, I tend to think as a legislator. We're working on legalizing cannabis. Part of the motivation for that is to take billions of dollars out of organized crime's hands. If we're doing that, is it actually going to motivate them to go after other sources of revenue, such as this? Do we have the right tools? Are we prepared for that should organized crime move in that direction?
It is sort of a train of thought of questions. There's probably no simple solution, but if anyone has comments, it may help the committee members as they move forward on their report and investigation.
Why don't I start, and then I'll turn it to my colleagues?
You mentioned the stats. Just to give you a sense, we talked about the body of human trafficking cases. Ninety five per cent of those are domestic cases and roughly 5% of them are international. The majority of the domestic cases involve young female Canadians trafficked for sexual exploitation.
The latest Juristat on trafficking in persons, from July 2016, indicated that in, I think, a five-year period, between 2009 and 2014, 93% of human trafficking victims in Canada were female, and almost half of them were between the ages of 18 and 24. One quarter of those individuals were under 18. That gives us a little sense of who is being victimized.
The other thing I would say about that is that most of the risk, in terms of being victimized through human trafficking in Canada, tends to be for those groups that are either socially or economically disadvantaged. That's not only a domestic sort of observation; that's an international observation as well.
Maybe I could just start with some of the organized crime pieces. This crime is highly lucrative. We're hearing that somebody who's human trafficked can provide profits of up to $1,000 a day. That is highly lucrative. As we know, organized crime usually tends to move to those areas that are highly profitable.
Thank you to the committee.
Commissioner Crampton, I think one of the things we miss sometimes is that while we look up here, we need to look down here to see what's going on. Perhaps you can enlighten us.
It would seem that most of the human trafficking routes are the same as those used for contraband, tobacco, guns, drugs, and other things. When we talk about organized crime, we all have a different view of organized crime. At this level, outlaw biker gangs tend to be at the ground level of moving people and commodities.
As a result, when we talk about charges, frequently the police and the crown will lay charges where they believe they'll get convictions to disrupt it, and it may not be in human trafficking. Would I be half right on that?
I do. It's just for a clarification, following up on Mr. Kmiec's point.
Ms. Crampton, in talking about the conviction rate, I think the number of cases of human trafficking mentioned was 455. There were 118 convictions. I understand that some are still going through the criminal proceedings, so those wouldn't be reflected.
Just to be clear on this, so that we understand it, does the 455 include cases in which the accused may have been pleading out on something else, or actually been convicted of something else, and maybe there were challenges in actually getting a conviction on that? Or are those cases that actually went to trial, and there was a guilty or not-guilty finding?