United Conservative Party unveils plan to fight human trafficking in Alberta

According to Statistics Canada, there have been 90 human trafficking violations in Alberta between 2009 and 2016. Adam MacVicar / Global News

In their latest campaign announcement, the United Conservative Party (UCP) is vowing to fight human trafficking in Alberta.

UCP leader Jason Kenney unveiled a nine-point plan to address human trafficking on Friday.

The plan would include the creation of a provincial task force and public awareness campaigns about the reality of human trafficking with a focus on vulnerable populations.

The plan would be funded by $250,000 that would support the task force as well as the public awareness campaign.

“Too often we think that human trafficking is something that happens at the remote corners of the developing world,” Kenney said. “The truth is it happens in our own communities, and sometimes it happens right next door.”

READ MORE: 2 facing human trafficking charges after Alberta RCMP investigation

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If elected, the UCP would create a new law called the “Girl Next Door Act.” The proposed legislation is modeled after a similar law in Ontario introduced in 2016 MPP Laurie Scott. Scott is now Ontario’s Minister of Labour.

The legislation would allow trafficking victims to get restraining orders against their abusers, and would also open the door for victims to sue traffickers.

“Given the general failure of criminal sanctions…we need to empower [victims] with civil sanctions and that’s what this would do to increase accountability for human traffickers,” Kenney said.

The legislation also allows the government to name businesses that have been found to have facilitated human trafficking.

READ MORE: Initiative launched to end sex trafficking in Edmonton

The party is also vowing to improve training for judges, prosecutors and police as well as enhance the detection of human trafficking.

According to Kenney, Alberta has the third highest rate of human trafficking incidents after Ontario and Quebec. He also said that 95 per cent of human trafficking victims were woman and 70 per cent were women under the age of 25.

Statistics Canada numbers show that between 2009 and 2016, there were 90 human trafficking offences in Alberta, which represents eight per cent of the total reported incidents in the country.