China among top sources of human trafficking into Canada
Toronto, Oct 29 (IANS) China has been identified as one of the four top source countries for human trafficking into Canada.
Canada's first national statistics on human trafficking into the country released Tuesday also named Romania, the Philippines and Moldova as three other top source countries for foreign victims of this trade.
``This is the tip of the trafficking iceberg. More work is needed at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to identify and assist victims of modern-day slavery,'' said Benjamin Perrin, leading Canadian expert on human trafficking.
Perrin, who teaches law at the University of British Columbia, said he obtained the statistics under the Access to Information Act.
The statistics are based on the cases in the database of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) which introduced measures to protect foreign nationals exploited in the sex trade and in forced labour in May 2006.
Perrin will present these findings at a national conference on human trafficking beginning in Vancouver Oct 29.
According to him, at least 31 foreign nationals were brought to the attention of immigration officials between May 2006 and May 2008 as potential human trafficking victims. Four of them were minors, he said.
Of these 31 individuals, he said, 12 were granted temporary residence permits (TRPs) in Canada and seven refused TRPs. One victim's TRP was cancelled, while one victim went missing.
The 10 remaining individuals have their cases pending, or they have obtained another form of immigration status, he said.
Perrin said these cases represented only a small number of the actual number of human trafficking cases in Canada as most trafficking victims never came forward because of intimidation or violence threats.
These statistics also do not include a growing number of domestic trafficking cases involving Canadian-born women and girls, he said.
``Trafficking victims remain a hidden population in Canada,'' said Perrin.
The federal Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), which traced 61 per cent of all trafficking cases, has appointed human trafficking coordinators in every region of the country. These coordinators train local police and liaise with non-governmental organizations and provincial government agencies on human trafficking.
``The RCMP is starting to have some success in identifying foreign victims. However, none of their traffickers has been brought to justice. These transnational criminals continue to operate with impunity,'' said Perrin.
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