Good news in Alberta! Bill 8: Protecting Survivors of Human Trafficking Act has recently been tabled. The goal of the bill is to protect survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. In short, the bill helps victims of human trafficking. There are some highlights worth noting:
- A judge has the ability to grant a protection order to the victim, which means the trafficker cannot get close to, speak to or engage with the victim.
- The bill adds a tort. A tort refers to a civil clause that allows the victim to sue the trafficker which lowers the burden of proof as you only have to prove that harm is more likely to be done than not.
There are a couple of things in this bill that show significant effort was taken to understand what tactics human traffickers use. For example, the law specifically allows for the protection order to include returning a pet. This is because human traffickers have threatened to harm pets in order to get victims to do what they want.
The law also links exploitation to pornography. Protection orders can include returning any explicit visual recordings of the victim and prohibiting the use of any distribution of images or recordings of the victim.
It is encouraging to see the Alberta government understand the issue of human trafficking giving real relief to victims.
Please contact your MLA and express support for this bill!
As you write to your MLA asking them to support this bill, ask them to also consider strengthening it. While it is great that a victim can sue their trafficker, it would be better if they could also go after corporations that are complicit. This could include hotels and massage parlours. Often a human trafficker will be operating out of a supposedly legitimate business. Therefore, if a victim could sue that business as well it would put a chilling effect on those businesses.
So, here’s what you can do. Send an Easymail to your MLA. Thank them for tabling Bill 8. And urge your MLA to explore ways to bring complicit corporations into the lawsuits.