As part of the government's commitment to fight human trafficking in British Columbia, a pamphlet is being launched today in five languages to raise awareness and provide assistance to foreign workers who may be the victims of trafficking.
The pamphlet was created by MOSAIC in partnership with West Coast Domestic Workers Association, using a $42,500 civil forfeiture grant received last year from the proceeds of unlawful activity. Publishing the pamphlet in Chinese, Punjabi, Filipino and Spanish - in addition to English - provides an opportunity to reach out to foreign workers who may not speak English and could be unaware of their rights in Canada.
British Columbia is not immune to human trafficking and cases of labour trafficking and domestic servitude have been seen in our province. These types of cases often involve forcing people to work long hours under unsafe and very poor working conditions for little or no money. Because this crime often happens behind closed doors, it is crucial that vulnerable workers get information about their rights, the dangers of human trafficking and how to get assistance in their own language.
MOSAIC has been a community leader in the fight against human trafficking and has worked closely with B.C.'s Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons (OCTIP). The pamphlet aligns with the goals of OCTIP's recently released BC's Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking which identifies vulnerable workers as a key group to target by raising awareness and providing increased training to frontline workers who can identify and assist victims of labour trafficking.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General -
"This project demonstrates how taking the profits of unlawful activity and putting it into the hands of community groups to prevent crime can make our province a safer place. In this case, MOSAIC has created a useful information tool that will assist vulnerable workers who may be the victims of human trafficking and are in need of information in their own language. It is another example of how we continue to be a national leader in the fight against human trafficking."
Rosalind Currie, director, Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons -
"The creation of this brochure in five languages provides a vital chance to reach out to workers who might be the victims of human trafficking and might not know how to find help. Keeping foreign workers informed of the risks of human trafficking and letting them know about services available in the community is a key part of BC's Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, which sets out key actions to fight this crime in B.C. over the next three years."
Saleem Spindari, co-ordinator, Community Outreach and Seniors Program, MOSAIC -
"The civil forfeiture grant provided us the funds and the opportunity to make this project a reality. This brochure will raise awareness among vulnerable workers and will advance efforts to eliminate human trafficking for labour exploitation."
- The MOSIAC grant was part of $6.1 million of civil forfeiture grants awarded last year, with $192,361 of those funds directed to combat human trafficking. Government built on this when, earlier this month, a number of community groups in B.C. received a total of $145,418 in civil forfeiture grants to combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
- Human trafficking involves the recruiting, harbouring and controlling of a person for the purpose of exploitation - most commonly in Canada for labour or sexual exploitation.
- Traffickers use a variety of means such as threats, lies, coercion, abuse and violence to gain and keep control of a person in order to exploit them.
- Some examples of the type of industries where trafficked workers have been identified are construction, agriculture, restaurants, manufacturing and domestic work.
- BC's Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking provides a clear roadmap for priority actions over the next three years to fight this crime in the province.
- In 2007, British Columbia established OCTIP to develop and provide overall co-ordination of British Columbia's strategy to address human trafficking. OCTIP works in partnerships with all levels of government, law enforcement agencies, community organizations and Crown prosecutors to protect trafficked persons and prevent human trafficking.
- OCTIP has assisted in more than 160 cases involving potentially trafficked persons since July 2007, providing help with temporary residence permits, co-ordinating services for trafficked persons and advising community agencies on how to best meet the needs of trafficked persons.
- OCTIP operates a toll-free, 24/7 telephone line to assist trafficked persons to obtain services in a number of languages at 1 888 712-7974.
To learn more about BC's Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, please visit: www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/octip/about.htm
To find out more about MOSAIC BC and to see an online version of the brochure, please visit: www.mosaicbc.com
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Justice