Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 39th Parliament,
Volume 143, Issue 25

Tuesday, June 20, 2006
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Human Trafficking

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise to speak to the unsavoury side of the World Cup. On Friday, June 9, the world came together for what is known as the “World’s Biggest Party,” the World Cup, in Germany. While tens of millions have rallied together to celebrate soccer, national pride and international sportsmanship, an estimated 40,000 women have been trafficked into the city of Cologne for the month-long tournament. These women will be far from celebrating.

While nearly 100,000 women and young girls are trafficked into Europe each year, Germany has done little to alter its policy of legalized prostitution. Instead, it has subsidized new brothels to keep visitors entertained for the duration of the tournament. Over the last few years I attended several conferences in Europe, all of which focused on the growing presence of human trafficking. It was at these conferences that numerous participants aired their concern for the worldwide prevalence of human trafficking and its looming effects on the World Cup. Words cannot convey the inhumanity present in a witness’s testimony of what was described to me as “warehouses stocked full of women and young girls.”

Honourable senators, on July 2, 2003, Canada was granted the honour of hosting the Twenty-first Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. Like the World Cup, the Olympics place the host country on an international stage for the entire world to experience. This is an ideal opportunity to again showcase to the world the strength and freedom that defines Canada.

Though four years remain until the commencement of the 2010 Winter Games, there is already an international concern that Vancouver will become a magnet for women and young girls forced into prostitution by organized crime. This fear continues to evolve into a reality as just last week, six Korean women were found outside Vancouver, waiting to be the latest victims of human trafficking.

In a recent study on the international treatment of human trafficking victims, Canada was the only nation to receive a failing grade, stating:

Canada’s record of dealing with trafficking victims is an international embarrassment and contrary to best practices.

The report continues:

Canada has ignored calls for reform and continues to re-traumatize trafficking victims, with few exceptions.

Last October, I introduced Bill C-49 in the Senate. This bill criminalized human trafficking, resulting in Canada’s first step in taking a stand against human trafficking. As a global example of strength and freedom, the time has come for Canada to spread a sense of urgency and fulfil its obligations in preparing for the international spotlight.

Honourable senators, please join me in celebrating the World Cup, but I graciously ask this: Please save a place in your hearts for the lives of those women and young girls so unjustly dispossessed of their dignity.