Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 39th Parliament,
Volume 144, Issue 11

Wednesday, November 14, 2007
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker


2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics—Prevention of Human Trafficking

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, my question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Last week, The Future Group released a report warning that the Vancouver Winter Olympics will be a target of human traffickers wanting to exploit prostitution. The report, Faster, Higher Stronger: Preventing Human Trafficking at the 2010 Olympics, said the federal and provincial governments need to deter traffickers from using the Vancouver Winter Olympics to profit from human misery. The 2012 Olympic Games in London are already taking this threat seriously. They have appointed a police commissioner to deal specifically with this issue.

What is the government’s plan to deal with human trafficking at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): Honourable senators, that question is a serious one and, as the honourable senator knows, Member of Parliament Joy Smith, a member of our own caucus in the other place, has travelled across the country and addressed this serious issue before Parliament and other groups. Ms. Smith has been named as the Chair of the Standing Committee on Health in the other place, a good position in which to pursue this issue.

I am aware of many initiatives the government plans to take regarding this terrible, potential situation. However, to pass on the proper information and details regarding those plans, I would like to have the opportunity to provide senators with a written answer.

2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics—Legalization of Brothels

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: I have a supplementary question. I thank the Leader of the Government in the Senate for giving me a detailed answer.

Recently, a group of Vancouver prostitutes wanted to open a co-op brothel in time for the Winter Olympics. The group has support from some B.C. politicians, including Vancouver East M.P. Libby Davies and Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan. They say they will not open doors for business until it has the support from the federal government.

Studies show that more than 90 per cent of women are not in the sex trade by choice but, rather, because of trafficking, drug addiction and societal problems. The Minister of Public Safety has been silent on this issue. What is the position of the federal government on making brothels legal?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Secretary of State (Seniors)): I thank the honourable senator for the question. There is no question that people involved in this activity are often victims of drug addiction and other unhealthy circumstances. I will take the question as notice.