Human Trafficking and Prostitution in Canada – Intersections and Challenges
(2018) 55 Criminal L.Q (Forthcoming)
29 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2017 Last revised: 9 Jan 2018
Date Written: July 10, 2017
Pimps exploit, degrade and subordinate women with the sole purpose of making as much money as possible. Canada’s Parliament has enacted two key pieces of legislation to protect the vulnerable women preyed upon by pimps. First, Canada ratified the United Nations (UN) Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. These human trafficking provisions are increasingly used to combat the pernicious evil of pimps and recognize that coerced sex trade work is one of the contemporary forms of slavery. However, they suffer from a lack of definition within the Criminal Code of Canada – particularly the meaning of “exploitation.” This paper seeks to fill in the definitional lacunae and also considers the Constitutional vulnerability of the mandatory minimum sentences imposed upon convicted pimps. Second, Bill C-36, the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (S.C. 2014, c. 25) came into force on November 6, 2014, as a direct response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in R. v. Bedford – which struck down key Criminal Code provisions aimed directly at prostitution related offences. These provisions are likewise vulnerable to Constitutional attack. This paper considers those vulnerabilities as well as the far reaching effects of these enactments. Jointly, the human trafficking and prostitution related provisions aimed at stopping pimping capture conduct beyond what many may envision when they turn their minds to exploitation within the sex trade industry.
Keywords: Beford, human trafficking, prostitution, Charter, sexual exploitation, sex trade work
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