Connecting the Dots: Proposed National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking
Joy Smith, MP, for Kildonan – St. Paul, has put together a Proposed National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. This Proposed Action Plan was put together to empower us to action. She calls it Connecting the Dots because that is what it does. This proposal outlines what we have done as a nation so far in suppressing this crime and it gives a clear rationale for why a Canadian National Action Plan to curb the rapid growth of this heinous crime is needed. Without a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and a collaborative effort between all levels of government, this crime will continue to grow and people will continue to be exploited.
It is her hope that this document will touch your hearts and your minds and that you will join her in doing everything we can to protect men, women and children from exploitation here in Canada and abroad. In the upcoming weeks, Smith will be adding more information on her website - www.joysmith.ca - on how you can help support a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. To view and download the Action Plan click on this PDF Document.
Analysis of the Action Plans to Act Against Human Trafficking
CATHII found that it was important to analyse each of the strategies, policies or measures suggested in order to assure the protection and interests of the victims themselves. Open this PDF document.
We analysed :
1. “An Exploration of Promising Practices in Response to Human Trafficking in Canada”: a report written by Nicole A. Barret for the International Center for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy, a federal-provincial-territorial Forum of Status of Women Senior Officials in June 2010, 96 pages.
2. “Connecting the Dots: A Proposal for a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking” by Joy Smith, MP for Kildonan-St-Paul, September 2010, 36 pages.
3. “Invisible Chains: Canada’s Underground World of Human Trafficking” by
Benjamin Perrin, Viking Canada, 2010, 298 pages.
The second response by Sue Wilson, OSJ, targets specifically the Action Plan of Joy Smith “Connecting the Dots”. Open this PDF document.
A Short History of Slavery in Canada
Contrary to popular belief, slavery is a very real part of our Canadian history.
The First Canadian Slave
The first black person known to have lived in Canada was a native of Madagascar who was bought at around the age of 7 by the British Commander David Kirke during his invasion of New France and sold to Olivier Le Tardif, head clerk of the French Colony.
When Quebec was handed back to the French in 1632, Le Tardif, who had often collaborated with the British, was forced to flee. He sold his slave to a Quebec resident Guillaume Couillard Lespinacy. The boy was educated in a school established by the Jesuit priest, Father Le Jeune. He was later baptised as Olivier Le Jeune, taking the first name of the French clerk and the surname of the Jesuit priest. He died on May 10, 1654. It is believed that by the time of his death his official status was changed from that of 'domestic servant' to freeman.
A Common Practice
Slavery became a common practice in New France and the Church became the largest slave owner. Many have asked how could this happen, when in 1435 Pope Eugene IV in his Bull Sicut Dudum condemned slavery and those engaged in it, and those who ignore the Bull are excommunicated, ipso facto. In 1537, Pope Paul III issued the Bull Sublimis Deus that condemned slavery. Pope Gregory XIV, 1591, Pope Urban VIII, 1639, and Pope Benedict XIV, 1741 also condemned slavery. We can only assume that those Jesuits and religious sisters who owned slaves were automatically excommunicated.
In fact, the ports are the first places where slaves are put to work. This shouldn’t be a surprise as the transactions were often conducted at seas and therefore legal.
Next, the first farmers arrived in New France and were faced with a herculean task of being able to clear, build and work their farms in this quasi-inhabitable land. They demanded slaves, even though THEORETICALLY this practice was only legalized around 1689 by edict of Louis XIV, and solidified in New France in 1709 by order of the Intendant Raudeau.
Slavery as “Chattel”
The reason for this was simple: when a slave fled from his home, when he was found, the owner could reclaim his property. The legislation was therefore amended so that the slave would be recognized as “chattel” in front of a notary. “Governor Beauharnois, following the loss to the English forces, wrote to the French Minister of the Navy to inform him that they have capitulated to General Amherst, but the English were allowing them ‘their religion and their negros’”, wrote Paul Fehmiu-Brown.
How Many Slaves in Canada?
The historian Marcel Trudel has counted 4,092 slaves throughout Canadian history, of which 2,692 were Indians (the favorites of French settlers) and 1,400 Blacks (the favorites of English settlers) owned by approximately 1,400 masters.
The Montréal region dominated with 2077 slaves compared to 1,059 for Québec and 114 for Trois-Rivières. Many were owned by religious orders. Several marriages took place between French colonists and slaves (31 unions with Indian slaves and 8 with Black slaves) which means that a number of Québécois today have slaves somewhere in their family trees.
Going Back to Africa
Historians place some light on how some Canadian slaves were deported to Africa: “1783 and 1784 saw the fight for American independence. When loyalists faithful to the British Crown fled the USA, they settled in the Eastern Townships and along the Lachine Canal. The Canadian government bought some land in Sierra Leone and asked the slaves, who had become very numerous since the arrival of the loyalists, if they wished to return to their ancestral lands. Those who accepted the government offer brought with them, amongst other things, the British judicial system. That is why even today judges wear a white wig when they sit in Sierra Leone.'
This initiative was the inspiration for the United States, which founded Liberia in 1822, through the American Colonization Society, to send freed black slaves there.
Abolition of Trade
Ironically, it was the British Conquest that brought about the abolition of slavery. At the time of the American Revolution, slaves who fled their American owners were received here with open arms just like the loyalists.
In addition, in the first half of the 18th century, Great Britain was experiencing a movement that saw a return to authentic Christian gospel values know as the REVIVAL. This experience was similar to that of other Christian dissident movements in history such as the early Franciscans, the Waldensians, Wycliffe’s Lollards, the Anabaptists, the Moravian Brethren, and the Quakers and Diggers.
It was also in the 18th century that the very traditional Anglican Church was influenced by this movement deep within its own membership that resulted in this Revival movement reaching a large layer of British society. In this way, the first egalitarian and anti-slavery movement in the history of humanity was born. After having touched the Protestant countries, this breath of the Holy Spirit influenced France and its secular intellectuals in an indirect way.
In Canada, John Graves Simcoe, upon being appointed lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada in 1791, and influenced by this Revival movement, planned to establish a province where slavery was illegal, on the basis that the practice was inconsistent with a free nation.
In 1793, he convinced the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada to adopt the first measures that restricted slavery in the British Empire by banning the importation of new slaves in Upper Canada. This then launched a gradual process of emancipation.
As a result, it also made Upper Canada a safe haven for enslaved Africans in the United States who fled to freedom during the period of the Underground Railroad from 1815 to 1860.
In Lower Canada, the judges refused to clamp down on fugitive slaves, and Louis-Joseph Papineau failed in his attempt to have the ownership rights of masters over the slaves recognized.
Thanks to Simcoe, on March 25, 1807, King George III gave royal assent to a law abolishing the slave trade that marked the beginning of the end of this shameful practice by forbidding British ships from being part of the sale and transportation of slaves.
In fact, the British Parliament’s decision to abolish the slave trade was influenced by several factors. These included the work of the anti-slavery society formed in 1787 by Grandville Sharp and Thomas Clarkson; the campaign waged by free Blacks including Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, Thomas Peters, Olaudah Equiano and Ignatius Sancho; and the Haitian Revolution of 1804.
William Wilberforce persisted in his fight against slavery until 1833 when, on his death bed, he was informed that Parliament had adopted his law completely banning slavery. In 1834, the complete emancipation of slaves throughout the Empire was proclaimed.
By contrast, in France, who first had the desire to abolish slavery at the moment of the French Revolution, it wasn’t until 1848 that it was completely abolished.
Refuge for American Slaves
We must also remember those heroes who made Canada a welcoming land at the end of the Underground Railroad. Thanks to their efforts, tens of thousands of American slaves were able to flee and find refuge in British North America where thousands of black loyalists participated in the settling of Nova Scotia.
Finally, the role played by the courageous sailors of the Halifax Royal Navy must be mentioned, many of which were based in the port of Halifax. At great risk, and often against their own will, because they were forcibly recruited in Halifax, they helped enforce the ban on the sale of African slaves throughout the 19th century.
Are There Any Saves in Canada Today?
“There are at least 27 million people trapped in various forms of slavery in the world today, and that is more people than were trafficked from Africa 400 years ago,' said Jamie McIntosh, executive director of the Canadian branch of the International Justice Mission.
The extent of the crime in Canada remains disputable. RCMP figures say it ranges from 800 to 1,200 victims a year, while non-governmental organizations place the numbers at closer to 15,000. In Toronto alone, the RCMP estimates that 100 girls are being supplied yearly to the sex trade. They yield around $5-million for their bosses.
Most of the women trafficked into the country are from the Asia-Pacific region, in particular from the Fujan region of China and South Korea. Within Canada, victims can often come from Aboriginal reserves. In Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic, they mainly are from Eastern Europe.
CRC JPIC National
Ecology and Social Justice
JPIC National - We are developing an increasing awareness that human beings are in the process of destroying the planet’s resources, gradually making it less habitable for others. Let us only consider water that is becoming rarefied; air that is polluted; climactic changes that trigger natural disasters; fossil fuels that engender the greenhouse effect, etc. affecting poor nations whose agricultural industry will be threatened, or whose land will simply become plainly submerged by the rising sea in the south.
Over recent years, many religious communities have shown a true infatuation for environmental matters. High calibre theologians have developed a spirituality of Creation within the concept of a new cosmology. Many communities now offer awareness sessions and have adopted ecological and biological practices. A number of spiritual centres offer moments of inner renewal in a natural environment conducive to praising the marvels of nature, of life, light, water, and of the entire ecosystem that allows us to live in harmony with nature, while assuming our rightful position within it, and no more.
The need to increase our awareness
We are developing an increasing awareness that human beings are in the process of destroying the planet’s resources, gradually making it less habitable for others. Let us only consider water that is becoming rarefied; air that is polluted; climactic changes that trigger natural disasters; fossil fuels that engender the greenhouse effect, etc.
Destroying the environment, a substantial injustice
Indeed, this awareness of our planet’s beauty goes hand in hand with the realization of its fragile and threatened character. Presently, those responsible for destroying the environment, our planetary ecosystem, are also contributing to a substantial injustice, notably because poorer countries are feeling the environmental impact of their wealthy counterparts’ excesses. In the mid-term, even wealthy countries will not be spared and the poor from these countries will be the first affected. They will not be able to compensate for the floods, or the droughts, or the tornadoes, or the landslides which occur more and more often, even in wealthy countries.
150 million people affected!
And what to think of the effects of those climactic changes caused by oil consuming countries upon poor nations whose agricultural industry will be threatened, or whose land will simply become plainly submerged by the rising sea in the south? Predictions indicate that such catastrophes will trigger the displacement of some 150 million people before the year 2050. The injustice inflicted by wealthy countries to the poor will translate into hunger, insecurity and exile. The notion of development itself will have to be kissed away because international relief will no longer be able to restore the damage caused by natural disasters, including scarcity which is always followed by war, exploitation and violence.
Justice translates into solidarity with victims of environmental damage
Increasingly, injustices experienced at one end of the planet will be caused, at the other end, by environmental abuses performed by people who persist in abusing the planet’s limited resources, who do not believe in sustainable development, and who especially don’t realize the non-viability of their present consuming habits. The new concept of justice will first translate into solidarity with the victims of environmental damage. It will also point to the development and sharing of alternative forms of energy, along with the pursuit of a new balance in consumer lifestyles across the globe.
Our role is to prophesize, to prophesize in the sense of announcing that catastrophes will occur if nothing is done towards the respect of Creation; yet as prophets, we must also promote the Good News that some men and women are indeed sensitized to contemporary challenges and to those means still available to salvage our very heritage from God. A challenge aimed at planetary reconciliation.