Human trafficking in Canada crisis or confusion : an examination of Canada's trafficking legislation and the development of a social crisis
Master of Arts
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Since the implementation of Canada's domestic human trafficking legislation in 2005, the media, police, and government agencies have paid increasing attention to this issue. Using a social constructionist approach, this thesis analyzes the role of the mass media and official reports by various government agencies in the construction of human trafficking, demonstrating the development of the issue as a "social crisis", despite lack of empirical evidence to support it. This thesis also examines the development of Canada's anti-trafficking law, as well as its meaning, application and impact as evidenced in charges and convictions under the new trafficking offence in Canada. Examining the legislative defmition of human trafficking outlined in section 279.01 of the Criminal Code of Canada, the thesis demonstrates that the defmition is highly abstract, and fails to centralize key factors, such as transportation, which are critical in the characterization of the human trafficking offence. The abstract legislative definition has resulted in a lack of a real distinction between human trafficking and procurement; or "pimping", covered under section 212(1) of the Code. In light of these concerns, the thesis aims to provide recommendations for the development of a more clear and consistent defmition of trafficking, aligning it with the definition outlined in the Palermo Protocol, and distinguishing it from other Criminal Code offences.