Alberta's provincial flag flies in Ottawa, Monday July 6, 2020. The president of the Alberta Federation of Labour wants a meeting with the premier and provincial labour minister to ensure workplaces with COVID-19 outbreaks are shut down. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Alberta government accepts final report from Human Trafficking Task Force

Alberta’s government has accepted the final report of the provincial Human Trafficking Task Force and its five recommendations to better protect the vulnerable and stop their exploitation.

The Alberta Human Trafficking Task Force engaged with nearly 100 experts and survivors as part of recommending to government how to stop human trafficking and support survivors, the provincial government said Sunday.

The five recommendations are:

  • Create of an Alberta office to combat trafficking in persons;
  • Prioritize/enhance access to services for victims, survivors and those at risk of being trafficked;
  • Universally branded and consistent awareness, education and training programs and protocols;
  • Human trafficking specific legislative action, update and harmonization;
  • Enhanced, centralized data collection and research.

The government has accepted nearly all of these in principle and is already moving forward on several priorities, such as establishing an office for combatting human trafficking. The new office will be key to co-ordinating Alberta’s work on this important issue.

“Alberta’s government is committed to taking action against human trafficking,” said Premier Jason Kenney.

“By implementing our platform’s action plan to combat human trafficking and now the task force’s recommendations, we are supporting victims, targeting traffickers and preventing this modern form of slavery from taking root in our province.”

Paul Brandt, Human Trafficking Task Force chair, said stewarding this learning has been a “profound and sacred privilege.”

“Hearing the accounts of trauma, dehumanization, abuse and exploitation changed us,” Brandt said.

“It is difficult to comprehend the depravity of this crime. Upholding the individual rights of Canadians whose lives are being impacted by modern day slavery has Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as human rights, implications, which reach into every aspect of Canadian society.

“To uphold the rights of victims and survivors of human trafficking is to uphold the cause of freedom. I am thankful that today this report is being made public and that the recommendations are being accepted.”

The government has also developed an online e-learning course that is available for police-based victim service units and specialized community-based victim-serving organizations.

Training is also being put together for other front-line workers and groups like judges and prosecutors, as are resources for the public so they too can have the knowledge and tools to help end human trafficking in Alberta.

Work is underway on developing the office for combatting human trafficking, with an update expected later this year.

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