Legislation

Human trafficking is a very serious criminal offence with very serious penalties.

Canadian Legislation

Specific criminal laws against trafficking in persons (TIP) in the Criminal Code

Six offences in the Criminal Code specifically address human trafficking:

  1. Trafficking in Persons (section 279.01): which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a mandatory minimum penalty of 5 years where the offence involved kidnapping, aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault or death, and a maximum penalty of 14 years and a mandatory minimum penalty of 4 years in all other cases;
  2. Trafficking of a person under the age of eighteen years (section 279.011) which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a mandatory minimum penalty of 6 years where the offence involved kidnapping, aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault or death, and a maximum penalty of 14 years and a mandatory minimum penalty of 5 years in all other cases;
  3. Receiving a Financial or Other Material Benefit for the purpose of committing or facilitating trafficking in persons -Adult Victim (subsection 279.02(1)): which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment;
  4. Receiving a Financial or Other Material Benefit for the purpose of committing or facilitating trafficking in persons -Child Victim (subsection 279.02(2)): which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment and a mandatory minimum penalty of 2 years;
  5. Withholding or Destroying a Person's Identity Documents (for example, a passport) for the purpose of committing or facilitating trafficking of that person - Adult Victim (subsection 279.03(1)): which carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment; and,
  6. Withholding or Destroying a Person's Identity Documents (for example, a passport) for the purpose of committing or facilitating trafficking of that person - Child Victim (subsection 279.03(2)): which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a mandatory minimum penalty of 1 year.

Trafficking in persons is about exploitation and does not necessarily involve movement. For the purpose of the trafficking offences, the Criminal Code states that a person exploits another person if they:

  1. cause someone to provide, or offer to provide, labour or a service by engaging in conduct that, in all the circumstances, could reasonably be expected to cause the other person to believe that their safety or the safety of a person known to them would be threatened if they failed to provide, or offer to provide, the labour or service. cause a person, by means of deception or the use or threat of force or of any other form of coercion, to have an organ or tissue removed -(section 279.04).

Other provisions in the Criminal Code which address TIP-related offences

Other Criminal Code offences can also be used by police and Crown prosecutors depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. They include:

Specific offences in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act targeting cross-border trafficking

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) prohibits knowingly organizing the coming into Canada of one or more persons by means of abduction, fraud, deception, or use or threat of force or coercion (section 118). The offence is punishable by a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of up to $1 million. The offence found in the IRPA is limited to transnational cases where a person is brought into Canada from somewhere else. The term "organize" includes recruitment, transportation, and after entry into Canada, receipt and harbouring. Section 117 Organizing entry into Canada prohibits providing advice and representation for a fee to all stages of an application or proceeding.

International Treaties

Canada is a party to many international treaties that oblige the government to take steps to address trafficking in persons and related conduct, including:

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