Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 148, Issue 87

Thursday, June 7, 2012
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Public Safety

Human Trafficking—Victim Services

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: I appreciate that the leader may not have the answer to my next question, but I would appreciate a delayed answer.

When I spoke about trafficking of women and children, I said that the greatest sufferers are Aboriginal girls. What are we specifically doing to protect our young Aboriginal girls?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Honourable senators, I do have an answer, and that came in the form of an announcement yesterday by the Minister of Public Safety. The government is bringing in very strong legislation to deal with the issue of human trafficking. We know that there are many components of human trafficking, whether it comes from offshore or involves our own citizens.

Minister Toews has acknowledged that Aboriginal people, and mostly young women, are overrepresented in the human trafficking problem in this country.

Senator Jaffer: Indeed a national action plan was announced yesterday with $25 million provided for it. I understood that this was to collect data and to help the police. However, only $500,000 was set aside for victim services. I urge the Leader of the Government in the Senate, as part of the leadership team of our government, to ensure that more funds are provided for victims because $500,000 of $20 million is not good enough.

Senator LeBreton: Honourable senators, I will get the information for the honourable senator but, in fairness, there are many other avenues in the justice system through which the government contributes to victim services. This piece of legislation sets aside certain sums of money for victim services. This amount is added to funding in many other pieces of legislation that provide for victim services. I will provide the exact figures.