Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Putting the Brakes on Human Trafficking

The federal Conservatives deserve credit for their efforts to stop human trafficking. Young women in poor countries are often kidnapped and brought into wealthy countries to work in the sex trade against their will. In other cases they are fooled into coming based on promises of a better life that turn out to be entirely empty. The former government of Canada sadly legitimized this process by issuing temporary work permits to strippers because of an apparent shortage in Canada. CTV reports that Canada's New Government will make it illegal for immigrants or refugees to work in the sex trade:

The federal government is set to bring in a new law that will ban immigrants who
come to Canada as exotic dancers.

The change to the Immigration and Refugee Act is expected to be announced Wednesday by Immigration Minister Diane Finley, who told the House of Commons that the move will protect "vulnerable foreign workers," such as strippers.

Under the current laws, the onus is on strip club owners to prove there is a shortage of Canadian dancers each time they apply to bring in a foreign exotic dancer.

The new law will take the restriction one step further, and is based on the government's concern that foreign dancers are in some cases forced into the illegal sex trade.

"This is actually going to make it illegal for them to be able to do that," said CTV's Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife, who first reported the news. "In other words, there's not even going to be an opportunity to persuade the government that you need those foreign workers...that's out."

Many strip clubs rely on dancers from Asia and Eastern Europe to fill their rosters, but Fife said the government believes the practice exploits women.

This is something concrete that will offer help for the most vulnerable. I hope that feminist groups are quick to praise this decision.


Raphael Alexander said...

I agree we need to be vigilant with this issue. But the problem lies more in the ability of the traffickers to find holes in our immigration policy than it does in any domestic problem. Surely it should be easy to spot and stop someone smuggling an illegal entrant into Canada, or at the very least provide more intel on suspected trafficking sites. I have an article on my blog today which asks how a nanny who was victimized through "human trafficking" could not have been discovered after the government already knew of her existence and had denied VISA extensions to her.

Patrick O'Neil said...

Yeah, it's a big problem generally and there are direct ways to fix it that are quite broad. Enforcement is certainly the most important. I'll read your post shortly.