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Statement by Mr. Trevor Bhupsingh, Director General, Public Safety Canada, to the High-level meeting on the appraisal of the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons

May 13, 2013

Mister/Madam Chairperson
Excellencies, Ministers
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Canada applauds the ongoing efforts of the UN General Assembly and Member States to address the complex global issue of human trafficking, including through the Global Plan of Action.

This horrific crime impacts every nation – no country is immune.  We must all work together so that we can put an end to this modern day form of slavery.

Since Canada’s 2002 ratification of the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, the prevailing international instrument guiding action in this area, Canada has made concerted efforts to put in place effective anti-human trafficking responses. We are also continuously seeking new ways to enhance our effectiveness.

On June 6th of last year Canada launched its ‘National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking’.  The Action Plan consolidates Canada’s efforts in this area and introduces new initiatives guided by the UN Trafficking Protocol and organized under the ‘4Ps’ – prevention, protection, prosecution and partnerships.

Over the past several months, Canada has made significant progress in the implementation of the Action Plan, including the development of tools to support the identification of populations and places most at risk, the creation of targeted education and awareness initiatives and efforts to improve services for victims of human trafficking.  We have also strengthened coordination with our domestic and international partners to contribute to anti-trafficking efforts at home and abroad.

Canada has long understood the importance of partnerships in addressing this crime, particularly recognizing the integral role played by civil society groups, including non-governmental organizations.  Such groups are very often the first point of contact for victims and work to advocate on their behalf.  These groups possess the necessary skills and expertise to meet the needs of victims, to help educate our communities and to support research.  Indeed, the Trafficking Protocol clearly and specifically identified a role for civil society in combating this pernicious crime;  we must all recognize this and ensure that these important partners are part of the response to trafficking and the dialogue on how to improve our performance.

To this end, over the past several months, the Canadian government met face-to-face with stakeholders from across the country.  The information flowing from these consultations is being used to inform future government anti-human trafficking direction and policies under the National Action Plan.  A national report on the consultations as well as an annual progress report on the National Action Plan will be made available to the public.

Over the coming months and years, our conversation with stakeholders will continue, grounded in principles of inclusivity, transparency and openness – principles that have universal application.

To support international efforts to combat human trafficking, Canada has provided approximately $ 30 million in international assistance in the Americas, South-East-Asia and Eastern Europe since 2008.  For example, Canada worked in partnership with International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Haiti, Peru and El Salvador, UNODC in Central America, UNICEF in Guatemala, Fundacion Renacer in Colombia, and the Salvadoran Institute for the Development of Women in El Salvador to build capacity within public institutions, civil society and the tourism sector, and to provide services to victims of trafficking and their families.  In South East Asia, Canada facilitated the establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Commission on Women and Children and supported anti-trafficking action plans to be implemented in several countries of the region.  The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) also received Canada’s support to establish or reinforce National Referral Mechanisms in a number of countries in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the South Caucasus and Central Asia, and to protect and empower victims using a human rights lens.

Canada has also recognized the contribution of civil society organizations and, in 2012, presented the Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Award to Susana Trimarco and the Fundación María de los Ángeles.  Ms. Trimarco’s NGO is responsible for rescuing over 150 victims of human trafficking, and helping them recover their livelihoods.  She has been instrumental in raising awareness in Argentina, throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

To conclude, Canada urges the widest possible implementation of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children as the key international instrument guiding countries in the fight against human trafficking and is pleased to partner with others in this global effort.

Thank you, Mister/Madame Chairperson.


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