IN THE HOUSE ~ on Trafficking of Women and Children During the 2010 Olympics

39th Parliament, 2nd Session:
Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP)

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for her intervention despite her cold this morning. It is a very important debate we are having. I want to thank the Standing Committee on the Status of Women for putting this issue forward because this is a very important piece of the planning for the 2010 Olympics Games that has been neglected.

For the Standing Committee to say that the government must develop and implement a plan in collaboration with provincial and municipal governments as well as experts from the police, international organizations and NGOs prior to the opening of the 2010 Olympics. To put that on the agenda of the House of Commons means that little work has already been done.

We have seen that in terms of The Future Group report which talks about how little planning has gone in this important social consequence of this kind of major international gathering.

For instance, we know that London in the U.K. which has the Summer Olympic Games in 2010 already has announced an action plan on tackling human trafficking. Officials there announced that almost a year ago in March, so this has been a significant piece of the planning they are doing for the 2012 Olympic Games. We have the Winter Olympics here in Canada, British Columbia, Whistler in 2010 and yet this piece has been ignored.

I wonder if the member can comment on why she thinks that here in Canada we have given so little importance to this and why it is taking this debate and the actions of the Standing Committee to really give impetus to putting this on the agenda as part of the planning for the 2010 Olympic Games.


RCMP Assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer said in an interview Monday with the Canadian Press, “I've never seen anything that has come across my desk, but keep in mind it's day two”.

The report in the Telegram then goes on to cite the Athens Olympics and the increase there, a 95% increase in human trafficking, and of course the significant increase that took place in Germany as well. It states:

That report in theTelegram I think is an effective resume of the comments of The Future Group's report around the importance of ensuring that human trafficking is not part and parcel of the 2010 Olympics, not part and parcel of the social fall-out that could well occur if we do not pay particular attention to the social aspect of the Olympic Games.

As my colleague from Burnaby—Douglas mentioned earlier the facilities seem to be coming along well but at the same time there is real concern that we are not addressing environmental factors around the Olympics and we are certainly not addressing social factors.

This is a primary concern of those of us from the lower mainland of British Columbia, concerns about the displacement of those who are marginally housed in the downtown east side for example, possible derentificationfor those individuals who are extremely vulnerable being displaced. We saw that with Expo 86. Similar concerns were raised and we certainly have not seen from Van Awk or from governmental authorities measures being put into place to address legitimate concerns around exploitation in the Olympics and the use of human trafficking.

In the report, “Faster, Higher, Stronger” what recommendations does it bring forth? They are recommendations that I think are extremely important for the House of Commons to take into account. It mentions three very clear elements: first, prevention of human trafficking. It uses the word “prevention”. It uses the word “protection” of trafficking victims. It also uses the word “prostitution” of traffickers and commercial sex users in criminal proceedings.

A number of other organizations that are concerned about human trafficking. is one notable reference that I would suggest to members of the House says very clearly that a number element of course is reintegration of the human trafficking victims once they are uncovered, once they are liberated from the gangs that have preyed on them. Reintegration is a fundamental approach that has to be taken into consideration as well.

Those organizations that are fighting against this worldwide calamity, which is human trafficking and human slavery are suggesting very clearly that it has to be taken into consideration.

Let us get back to the three elements that are contained within the report specific to the 2010 Olympics. It talks about the prevention of human trafficking by working with source countries to address root causes.

I mentioned earlier the whole fundamental issue of the economic degradation of most of the planet, that while elites are doing better than ever for most people on this planet they are striving just to survive for the day. There are billions of people who are simply living literally hand to mouth in the midst of so much opulence, wealth and luxury that is available to so few inhabitants of the planet. I mentioned earlier that that economic degradation we are seeing in the United States. Those in charge of economic levers have turned the clock back to 1928 in the United States and similar levels of inequality here in Canada and the fact that for the poorest of Canadians they have lost about a month and a half of income on average for each and every year since the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement was implemented in 1989.