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Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Human Rights

Issue 10 - Evidence

OTTAWA, Monday, September 28, 2009

The Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights met this day at 2:05 p.m. to examine the issue of sexual exploitation of children in Canada, with a particular emphasis on understanding the scope and prevalence of the problem of the sexual exploitation of children across the country and in particularly affected communities.


Adam Thompson, Clerk of the Committee: Honourable senators, it is my duty to inform you of the unavoidable absence of the chair and to preside over the election of an acting chair. I am now prepared to receive nominations.

Senator Munson: I wish to nominate Senator Roméo Dallaire as acting chair.

Mr. Thompson: Is it your pleasure, honourable senators, to adopt the motion that the Honourable Senator Dallaire be acting chair of this committee?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

Mr. Thompson: I invite Senator Dallaire to take the chair.

Senator Roméo Antonius Dallaire (Acting Chair) in the chair.

The Acting Chair: Honourable senators and witnesses welcome to this first session on a significant new study we are launching today.

We have convened the committee to begin the study on the sexual exploitation of children in Canada. Thank you for giving me the opportunity today to be acting chair. I am particularly happy about it because I have been working with honourable senators for nearly two years to try to bring this study to this forum.

We received our mandate last June 22. We are mandated to do a complete and thorough study. The order of reference asks this committee as our mission statement: To examine the issue of sexual exploitation of children in Canada with a particular emphasis on understanding the scope and prevalence of the problem of sexual exploitation of children across the country and in particular affected communities. You can put between brackets, Aboriginal communities, in particular.

We will begin with speaking to a group of non-government witnesses. For the second phase, we will have government officials. The choice of witnesses today, honourable senators, is based on our need to get a good overview and feel for the exercise from both sides. Then, we will pursue more specifics as we continue to call forward witnesses on the problem.

Sexual exploitation of children is a type of human rights violation that takes many forms. It is difficult to gather data about this persistent problem and the data and studies are not always scientific. This is an emotional topic.

The aim of this study is to gather facts. Once we have gathered those facts and considered their implications, we will present our recommendations, which could lead to legislation to eradicate the abuse of children's human rights in our country.

As a Senate committee, we will perform our responsibilities within the limits of our capabilities. We will tackle this issue from all sides and work toward the elimination of child sexual exploitation.

Honourable senators, those are my opening remarks. Have senators any comments they would like to raise before we introduce our first series of witnesses and get into the heart of the subject?

Senator Nancy Ruth: Senator Dallaire, do you expect this study will take months or years?

The Acting Chair: We estimate that we will be involved in this study for this session and the next, after which we will present our report based on our findings. The volume of witnesses is astronomical; however, they do not necessarily fill all the gaps or prevent and protect those whose human rights are being violated. This will be extensive review.

We have on our list first Mr. Gordon Phaneuf, Director of Strategic Initiatives with the Child Welfare League of Canada.

We have Lisa Wolff, Director, Advocacy and Education, from UNICEF Canada, and Sue McIntyre, Founder, Hindsight Group. We also have from the International Bureau for Children's Rights, with headquarters in Montreal, Mr. Karbassi, Program Manager, Child Trafficking and Ms. Nadja Pollaert, Director General.


The Acting Chair: The plan is to follow the witness list. We ask you, out of respect for your colleagues, to not go on at too much length on your topic, in order to leave enough time for questions. Your presentation should last from eight to ten minutes.


You are our first witnesses on this very significant study. Just to set the scene, former Senator Landon Pearson, who retired not long ago, is with us today. Senator Pearson was the Prime Minister's voice on child protection. She has remained close to the file and has been advising me and assisting greatly in the subject.

We have a lot of emotion behind this topic but we want to bring some facts to work with and chew on.

Gordon Phaneuf, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Child Welfare League of Canada: Thank you for the opportunity to provide some remarks. I will read my comments, which are relatively brief. We will add comments after if you find it useful to do so.

It is my pleasure to be here today on behalf of the Child Welfare League of Canada. It is timely and appropriate that your committee is undertaking an examination of child sexual exploitation in Canada. We recognize that the protection of children from sexual exploitation is foremost in your minds, and that determining the appropriate role of the government and the state in protecting children requires sensitivity to a children's rights' perspective and observance of the principle of the best interests of the child.

The Child Welfare League of Canada has publicly endorsed the report entitled Children: The Silenced Citizens, issued by this committee. We commend the committee for its leadership, sensitivity and courage in addressing the issues relating to the protection, safety and well-being of children.

We believe that both legal and social remedies are required to combat sexual exploitation. In developing long-term strategies to prevent sexual exploitation, we believe that a focus on the social determinants of child health and well- being is key. Such a focus addresses the importance of early child development, ready access to social support, social inclusion, adequate housing, safe physical environments and gender equality, to name some of the key determinants.

We acknowledge that the role of criminal and civil law is important — and clearly, the federal government has done very important work in the criminal law — but legal strategies must be tied to adequate social support. In that regard, the report of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime is instructive in its call for the federal government, in conjunction with provincial and municipal governments, to develop a national strategy to expand the network of child advocacy centre models in communities across Canada.

There are many steps that should and could be taken to better protect children from sexual exploitation. In the interests of time and with an eye to focusing on those that are most achievable in the foreseeable future, we offer three. The first is the issue of unreported sexual exploitation. We would call that the need to promote public and professional education to respond to the invisible child victims of sexual exploitation.

Let me remind the committee, which you probably well know, that a significant portion — in fact, there is some research that suggests a very large portion — of all cases of child sexual exploitation are not reported to the authorities, whether to the child welfare authorities or to law enforcement. These cases are often referred to as ``unreported abuse.'' These are the invisible victims of abuse and the victims that we are failing to protect. These victims are not receiving the appropriate response, intervention and treatment. Hence, coordinated, well-planned efforts must be undertaken to uncover these cases and provide timely, skilled, appropriate, sensitive interventions. That is our first point.

The second point complements the first. I applaud the committee chair in identifying the need for a study and the need to get at the dimensions of this problem, which are keys to having effective responses.

It is important to develop effective data collection, monitoring and analysis systems to better understand the dimensions and dynamics of unreported abuse and unreported sexual exploitation to track progress and to inform policy and programming at all levels of service.

The last point is the need to develop a multi-dimensional, intersectoral, cross-governmental national plan of action on sexual exploitation of children. Those are our comments and we will be happy to expand on those further if it is useful.

The Acting Chair: Please clarify your third point.

Mr. Phaneuf: We suggest a national plan of action on sexual exploitation that is multi-dimensional and intersectoral, including the governmental, non-governmental, corporate and voluntary sectors, and that it cut across all levels of government.

The Acting Chair: Including the NGOs.

Mr. Phaneuf: Yes.

Lisa Wolff, Director, Advocacy and Education, UNICEF Canada: Good afternoon. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss what UNICEF calls a ``systems approach'' to strengthen the child protection environment. I will discuss the key parts of the systems approach briefly and hope to elucidate some opportunities for strengthening that in Canada. I hope you will find some of the themes repeated are helpful and not redundant.

The sexual exploitation of children under 18 years occurs along a continuum from sexual abuse to commercial forms of sexual exploitation. It is easy to see them as vertical silos but they are really parts of a common problem.

Many international studies and studies in Canada show that the commercial aspects of sexual exploitation are increasing rapidly. These are the forms that we know of as child abuse imagery and materials — also called child pornography — the exploitation of children in the sex trade and exploitation through travel and tourism.

It is important to understand that even commercial forms are, in the balance, perpetrated against those who are closest to children and in positions of trust with them. Both abuse and exploitation are facilitated by the sexualization of children in the media and the persistence of social and political environments that fail to adequately protect children.

In all of its manifestations, the sexual exploitation of children is a human rights violation that requires rights-based responses. These responses should be embedded within the principles of children's rights, including the best interests of children and the voice and perspectives of children. Children's rights are interconnected; therefore, the sexual exploitation of children mitigates the entire range of the realization of these rights. Responses should be holistic and based on the convention and other normative standards rather than address the manifestations as isolated problems, such as trafficking and child abuse imagery.

We all know that the best way to deal with child exploitation is to stop it before it happens; and there is no single way to do that. A systems approach involves working through several coordinated strategies ranging from legislation, to data collection and monitoring and to preventive and recovery programs. A systems approach sees a sexually abused and exploited child not as a victim of trafficking or abuse but as a failure in a series of links in the child protection system.

The different parts of the system that I will highlight are interdependent, for example: legislation and law enforcement influences, social norms and behaviours and attitudes of individuals, and data collection and monitoring, inform service provision. It is impossible to work on one aspect independently.

The first element of a protective system is government commitment. The federal government has a National Strategy to Protect Children from Exploitation on the Internet. It has achieved incredible things but addresses mainly one form of child sexual exploitation. However, a systems approach is called for in the form of a national strategy addressing all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation. Children experience their rights and exploitation in various dimensions. The distinctions between trafficking or child prostitution are artificial constructs that are not consistent with the way in which children see the issues. Many sexually exploited children have experienced a range of different forms of exploitation. In 2007, this committee called on the federal government to develop a national strategy to combat sexual exploitation in its different forms. We recommend that a systems approach take that forward in the form of a plan.

The second element in a protective system is legislation and law enforcement. We agree that Canada has a strong legislative framework grounded in international norms and instruments. Further legislative work could be looked at, including federal legislation to mandate ISP reporting, for example, and some strengthening of the use of our extra- territorial provisions around the abuse of children in travel and tourism. As well, children under 18 years of age should be treated as victims, never as criminals.

There are concerns in Canada related to adequate law enforcement and weak penalties and low conviction rates for child abusers and exploiters relative to those for adult victims. There is a risk of focusing too much on perpetrators at the cost of primary prevention efforts, but it is an important part of the systems approach. Strong, well-communicated penalties send messages to victims such that they are encouraged to come forward; to law enforcement that the required heavy resources are worth it; and to society that children do not have a lesser legal status and should not be more exploitable than adults.

The third element in a protective systems approach pertains to the attitudes, social customs and practices in a country. I emphasize that successful child protection begins with prevention, which perhaps I should have discussed first given its importance. Primary prevention can be the most challenging because it takes the most resources but shows the least visible results over the longest period of time. However, as the UN Study on Violence Against Children affirmed, all forms of violence against and exploitation of children are preventable, and we should act as a society as though we believe that.

We have come a long way since the days when sexual abuse and the exploitation of children were confined to secrecy, before the Stockholm congress put it on the legislative agenda. At the same time, we have seen in the media an increasing normalization of the sexual demand for children, so there are various trends that we must deal with. There are various mandatory reporting pieces of legislation in place provincially, certainly in Manitoba and Ontario. There are children's help lines, such as, and various public awareness initiatives both federal and provincial. However, we still find many citizens, and children themselves, reluctant to report exploitation. We have to look at whether we have the right mechanisms in place so that child exploitation is not condoned in our society. We might want to look at social marketing approaches, such as those that have worked in respect of domestic abuse, smoking and even recycling.

The fourth element in a child protective system includes children's life skills, knowledge and participation. There is still contention in Canada around how much we are willing to allow children to have sexual and protective education in schools and in the media, although it is their right under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and should not be mitigated by the interests of other groups.

The fifth element is the capacity of those in contact with the child. I would like to suggest that all sectors must be given the capacity to have professional standards clearly communicated on how to identify and refer exploited children. They need clear referral mechanisms so that they understand where to go to report sexual abuse and exploitation. Cross-sectoral coordination is the key to this: All of the key actors in the health, education and child welfare sectors should have an understanding of how and where to report. It has also been suggested that having sexual exploitation specialists within each sector is important.

At the prevention level, we have a plethora of projects and programs at the provincial and federal levels. However, we do not seem to have a way of improving and standardizing child protection evaluation to truly understand what is working, what could be extended to underserved jurisdictions and remote areas, and what could be converted to sustainable programs instead of short-lived projects.

The last element of a child protection system is monitoring and data collection. I know that this committee is concerned about understanding the prevalence of sexual exploitation, which thrives in secrecy. Therefore, a well- coordinated system of data collection is critical to developing a strong protective environment, but the lack of it should not block our resolve to act. Some people believe that we know enough to begin investing more in preventive programs. Data is generally weak in every country due to gaps in data collection and problems at the sub-national level in comparability, coordination, monitoring and severe under-reporting. In Canada, we rely on a patchwork of studies and indicators to inform our approaches. One indicator that is sobering but worth recalling is that children account for 61 per cent of all victims, including adults, of sexual assault reported to police but account for only 21 per cent of all victims of physical assault. Children are much more sexually exploited than adults are sexually exploited — a sobering fact. The data are from the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect of 2003.

We hope that a consensus on a data collection and monitoring regime that addresses all forms of sexual exploitation could be connected to a national plan of action to help us to inform ourselves along the way. Also, as this committee recommended in 2007, a national children's commissioner should be put in place to help monitor the sexual exploitation of children and advocate for investment in preventing it.

I would like to conclude by emphasizing that UNICEF's experience in different countries demonstrates that a coordinated and resourced national protection system is far more effective than purely vertical programs developed in isolation for specific problems. Canada has many aspects of a strong system in place but perhaps it is time to really map that system and look at where it could be strengthened as a prelude to developing a national strategy, in order to prioritize prevention and recovery programs and services. Cost-benefit analyses of the type done for other forms of child protection might secure resources needed, or divert them from many things that are not as effective as they could be.

Senator Munson: I would like to make a brief intervention. This is the beginning of our study, and we are hearing suggestions for preventive measures. However, I think before we go any further, and I know there are two other witnesses to speak, I think the people watching these proceedings or trying to understand the subject would like to get a bigger picture of what we face.

Some of you are on the ground and some of you have seen and heard stories on sexual exploitation. I know we will get to the other two witnesses but it would help me if someone would just paint the picture by means of examples, no matter how gruesome they are, so that we can have a better understanding before we move on to study some of these very important suggestions.

I am sorry to interrupt at the beginning but I am wondering whether someone — Sue McIntyre, perhaps — would just tackle that and show how tough it is on the streets and in homes.

The Acting Chair: Senator Munson, we ought to let the two other witnesses speak first.

Senator Munson: Give them time to think about it, then.

The Acting Chair: They may adjust as they get to that point and we can come back before we go to questions.

We are seeking what the delta or deficiency is; what, in fact, the impact out there is. Therefore, a bit more of that angle would be helpful to set the scene and the tone of the pursuit. Knowing that whatever you will tell us, as has been clearly raised by Ms. Wolff, is probably just the tip of the iceberg of what really is out there, yet it will give us a feel or trend. I hope one of the angles the study will take is going down inside the ``iceberg.'' How will we get in there and get more of that hard data even though there are significant trends to really get at the impunity that is out there. We might come back to that.

Sue McIntyre, Founder, Hindsight Group: I am honoured to have the opportunity to present to the Senate today. Like everything, the business of sexual exploitation is an issue of supply and demand. I will take you down a journey that moved me from looking at the supply end to the demand end.

In 1992, I was involved in conducting a study in Calgary entitled The Youngest Profession — The Oldest Oppression, where I interviewed 50 young people involved in sexual exploitation in the city of Calgary. People were surprised that there were that many actively involved. It involved 41 young women and nine young males.

That study was important because it was at that time we saw young people as offenders. We would charge children with prostitution at that point in time. It was important to have the opportunity to look closer and understand more about the population. The study made clear that 82 per cent of the 50 people had a background of sexual abuse prior to the street. These were young people who had already been victimized within their own surroundings and who now were being victimized further in the street. Therefore, we moved our thinking from seeing them as offenders to victims; that was a huge transition.

It was at that time where I did a mind shift for myself from supply to demand. I happened to be married to a man who is an economist and he spent hours telling me that I could spend years chasing the supply end of it and every time I would remove one child off the street, someone would replace that child. Until we could begin to understand and work on the demand end of it, we would not alter this equation.

As a result of the 1992 study, two of the young participants came to me in 2002 and asked questions like why I did not ask those questions now? Why did I not take the time now when I did take the time 10 years ago when things were lousy and awful in their lives? That was provocative and critical for me. I made the decision to see how many of the original 50 I could find to discover where they were, what had happened and what was different.

In the end, I found 41 of the original 50 young people. I could talk for hours about doing those interviews with people 10 years later. You do not get the opportunity very often to ask people if you did something good or if we could have done something better, sooner or differently. It was just truly an honour to be able to connect again with 41 of those 50 young people.

From those interviews, it became clear that we knew nothing about young men in the sexual exploitation trade. We had looked at this through a female lens, and we had not really given justice to young men. The decision was made at that point to begin a study on young men. The study is entitled Under the Radar: The Sexual Exploitation of Young Men. It began in Alberta, where it moved to British Columbia, then to Saskatchewan and then to Manitoba. It asked about the prevalence of young men in the sexual exploitation trade.

Every province doubted that I would find 40 young people to be interviewed. They were quite surprised. Sadly, gladly, we did not have any difficulty in achieving 40 interviews in each province. Alberta was three short but that was the first stage. We now have data on 157 young men. I think it is so alarming that this is something that we have ignored. Young men in the trade feel like they get the leftovers, such as outreach programs or people on the street. Whatever is left over — whatever time is left over, whatever cookies are left over, whatever attention is left over. They are not seen as a primary person in this problem. For me, this is the about the abuse of our children regardless of whether they are young women or men.

One important thing from that study is that 61 per cent of the 157 young men were Aboriginal. When I break it down by province, 85 per cent of those from Saskatchewan were Aboriginal. As I say, it is like the second stage of residential schools. It is the leftovers.

The next thing that I have been involved in, and which has been the hardest stretch for me, personally, ethically and morally, is a study named ``Buyer Beware.'' I needed to start understanding more about the demand side of this. I started hanging out with former customers from the sex trade. I have to say it has been a difficult time for me, but I have learned so much from them. I have learned that nobody wins in this equation; no one walks out a winner.

I am about to begin a study where I will be interviewing about 20 former customers, and will be able to get that information. There is a huge blank in information on that aspect of sexual exploitation.

The other area I have been involved in is a program called Understand Demand. You will get a button later. I have been working with Brainstorm on this program, and we are designing an e-learning tool to teach young people to not become customers. It is aimed predominantly at young men, but also includes young women.

I believe that we could influence 70 per cent of the population's thinking about it. I will never change the thinking of the 30 per cent group. These people are pedophiles or have that type of leaning and I will not adjust that thinking. However, I believe we have a chance to alter the demand side of this if we could put our energy towards it. We would be happy to come back and present this tool so you can see what it looks like. Alternately, we would love to invite you to come to Calgary and view the tool, see how it works and where we are at with it.

The Acting Chair: Thank you very much, Ms. McIntyre. We look forward to the written information that you have been speaking of and the most pertinent angle of the situation.


Nadia Pollaert, Director General, International Bureau for Children's Rights: I want to thank you sincerely for your invitation to come and testify before you today. It is particularly heartening for us to be invited since we have been working since 2005, not on sexual exploitation in general, but rather on child trafficking.

Firstly, insofar as Quebec is concerned, a preliminary study sponsored by Justice Canada led to the creation of a round table and of a tool known as the ``tool box''; it allows teachers and social workers in Quebec to better target and recognize children who are involved in trafficking networks. It was the first time that some of these stakeholders got together around the same table and got to know each other. It was an important step. That intervention tool is now used by the Sûreté du Québec, among others.

Next, for Public Safety Canada, we prepared an overview of trafficking in Canada, from west to east, to see how government services, both federal and provincial, as well as community organizations and NGOs, reacted to victims of trafficking. Finally, the accumulation of all of this information on the subject of child trafficking culminated in the creation of a training session, which Mr. Karbassi, the head of the anti-child-trafficking program, dispensed recently. It is a bilingual training session funded by Status of Women Canada and it targets front-line organizations, i.e., it is really addressed to the people who work with street youth, people who are close to children and youth.

Our presentation will be in two parts, and we will be highlighting some points that seem important to us. I will now give the floor to Mr. Karbassi.

Camille Karbassi, Program Manager, Child Trafficking, International Bureau for Children's Rights: I am a program manager at the International Bureau for Children's Rights in the area of child trafficking, and I am very honoured to be here to be able to submit our point of view to you.


As the literature shows, many research projects and reports have highlighted multiple aspects of the sexual exploitation of children in Canada and of children exploited by Canadians abroad. However, we put a strong emphasis on the lack of youth voice in these research projects and reports.

From our point of view, it will be a radical and positive change to focus on good practices in the following areas, the first of which is to address the prevention of exploitation of all children, for example, by using the Internet and other forums of communication and by focusing on the active involvement of children. Second, there is a lack of knowledge about prevention and initiatives, such as John schools and there is a need for projects in communities, especially native communities. Third, in the area of prosecution, a focus should be on good practices regarding victim protection and the reintegration of victims. As Canada published its first report on the optional protocol, the International Bureau for Children's Rights, IBCR, used the occasion to make critical remarks about the sexual exploitation of children.

Ms. Pollaert: Returning to the comments of my colleagues, there is a need, from our point of view, for a plan of action on a Canadian level. That need has been expressed as well by the people we have been interviewing in the mapping of trafficking in Canada. We also did that with provincial government officials.

We have also been looking forward to the coordination of the outcome of consultations. In the outcome of the first report of Canada to the committee on the rights of the child, there was no consultation process through the report, which is why we appreciate being invited here today to give voice to our concerns, research and activities.

There are also other subjects relating to the sexual exploitation of children on which more focus is needed. They are new, and we have little data on these areas. Forced marriage is one example, and we know it happens in different communities across the country. More attention is needed to prevent sexual exploitation of children of parents who have immigrated to Canada, for instance. Even in immigrant communities, the mothers are very concerned about this issue, so it is not a case of ``us versus them''; it is viewed as a problem in many immigrant communities and by women's organizations, such as the south Asian women's association in Quebec. In Montreal, for example, the director is from Bangladesh, and she sees this every day in her work with community women.

As another example, we believe that the polygamy case in British Columbia, which has been going on for several months, is deceptive because there was no accusation under the sexual exploitation of children, but under polygamy, which is, for us, a different view of the problem that gives different tools for those who want to act.

Mr. Karbassi: There has been very little child participation or any form of consultation with children at risk. It is important to take into account the voice of the youth; otherwise, the voices of the affect persons are missing.

Another important point is child sex tourism, and it is important to understand that it is a Canadian problem. For example, with respect to the global Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism, only one agency in Canada has signed the code, whereas 600 agencies have done so around the world. It is important to emphasize the enforcement of extra-territorial laws and to ensure they are working.

Another point we wish to emphasize concerns corporate social responsibility with respect to the rights of the child.

We must highlight the best interests of the child. From the mapping of the situation of trafficking in Canada, we know there is no differentiation between children and adults.

In the application of Jordan's Principle, more attention is required to the particular issues of Aboriginal children and the fact that they often fall between the cracks of federal and provincial jurisdictions.


The Acting Chair: Thank you, that was very good of you. I wonder if we could get back to the other witnesses concerning the points raised by Senator Munson so that they may give us a more specific perspective on the information they have on the situation as it stands now.


Ms. McIntyre, you gave us some pretty hard facts on the boys. There are probably more examples and data from the girls' side.

Ms. McIntyre: I have looked at both sides of the equation for young women and men. The original study, as I said, was 50 young people, and 41 young women were interviewed and then interviewed 10 years later.

The study that was just on young men has just been published for Western Canada; that study has just wrapped up.

Senator Nancy Ruth: How many kids are we talking about? Where are they in Canada? I know nothing about this subject. You have to give me a nice picture. What place does poverty play in all this? How do they get into this business?

Ms. McIntyre: It is mostly survival sex.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Could you talk a bit about that? Who are we talking about? How do they get there?

Ms. McIntyre: The study for young men took place in Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton and Calgary. We did not have any difficulty finding 157 young men. In any other study I have done, they have come from all different locations. They move more into larger cities. That is where the work is. It is about survival sex. People are trying to survive however they can.

Youth has a background of abuse prior to the street. That is why I said 82 per cent of them have been abused prior to the street so they already have that background. Running away is quite predominant and often becomes their first entrance into the trade because they have to figure out how they will live. Quite often someone will make them the offer of food or protection or whatever, to take care of them, if they perform sexually for them. They put pressure on them.

Senator Munson: Is it getting worse? Are there more across the country? You talked about Calgary, but perhaps Mr. Phaneuf could talk about the incidence of sexual exploitation of children and whether it is increasing or decreasing.

Senator Nancy Ruth: If it is 61 per cent of reported cases, how many is 61 per cent? What are you actually talking about?

Mr. Phaneuf: I am hesitant to quote any data without it in front of me because some solid work has been done and supported by the Public Health Agency of Canada. Let us begin with the distinction between cases reported to child welfare authorities and cases reported to law enforcement. We will call both ``reported abuse.''

With respect to the data reported to child welfare, some very valuable work has been done. It is epidemiologic work, so it is done to a science standard. There is a national study called the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect. It has reported twice now and is in its third cycle. It is an important national database on all forms of child abuse, but sexual exploitation cases reported to child welfare are included in it.

The other piece of reported abuse is that reported to law enforcement. I am sure you will hear from witnesses later today about the databases that exist there. They give you some insight on incidence of cases that come to the attention of police.

Distinct from reported abuse is unreported sexual exploitation, which I think the committee is concerned about, and rightfully so, and we are encouraged that you are looking at that issue. Obviously, by its definition we do not know the extent of it, but what we do know, as Ms. McIntyre has mentioned, is that we see the victims of sexual exploitation in every city and town in this country. They are children who are street-involved; they are children who are being exploited on the streets for sexual purposes. The victims of sexual exploitation are over-represented in homeless families. They are over-represented in highly impoverished families. They are over-represented in our Aboriginal communities. They are over-represented as victims of other forms of abuse and neglect.

I do not have the specific numbers for you. I believe you will have some witnesses who can provide those numbers. There is certainly data we can provide to the committee.

The Acting Chair: Has UNICEF produce something recently?

Ms. Wolff: There is a cross-sectoral NGO report in progress. It is the alternative report to what the Canadian government has filed on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Sale of Children, Trafficking and Child Pornography. We have had great difficulty securing data. The report the government filed is incomplete but it shows the sources of data on which they rely. For example, they cite the child incidence study that Mr. Phaneuf described. In the 2003 study, out of about 14,000 substantiated cases of child maltreatment, about 3,000 of those were sexual abuse cases. That is mainly what we are looking at in terms of non-commercial sexual exploitation, sexual abuse. It was 3,000 in that study year.

In terms of trafficking, I understand that the data is not disaggregated. The RCMP has trafficking data but it is not disaggregated by age, so we do not know how many children are included in those numbers. You see a range of 800 per year from the RCMP to more like 1,500 from front line community groups as an estimate of the number of trafficking victims per year. Again, we are not certain how many of those are children.

As Mr. Phaneuf commented, the police and court reports are available and analyzed through Statistics Canada, and court surveys are conducted. They show that the rate of court cases for child prostitution has actually decreased over the years but it has shot up for child abuse imagery, Internet exploitation and child pornography. There have been huge increases in that form of exploitation over time.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Could you take a guess whether it is one child in 10 or one in 20 in Canada that is somehow exploited this way? Could you help me understand the scale? I know you do not have hard data and I am not asking for it. You have some data and you know about the ``un-reports.'' You have a sense how many kids in Canada are suffering from this abuse.

Ms. Wolff: I cannot answer that question; perhaps someone else can. I know the global average is about 7 per cent of children. That comes from the UN Study on Violence Against Children. That is probably a gross under-reporting.

Ms. Pollaert: We asked the RCMP the same questions. We are looking for child trafficking numbers. We have been asking for those numbers for years and they keep telling us they are difficult numbers to collect. That is not how they capitalize the cases they are treating. It is the same for the police. They do not have a place on the intake sheet to indicate signs of a child being sexually exploited or of child trafficking, for example. There are some very basic things they are starting to look at, such as how they can give more information on the way our children are sexually exploited, whether in trafficking or street prostitution. Your question is very good because everyone asks the same question, so there is a sense that we need more details.

The Acting Chair: We know there are hundreds of local NGOs inside communities across the country. These NGOs come to us with the statement that they are overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed as a small NGO, it may not need 200, but it needs a certain number. Canada has a large population of children under the age of 18 years. We need to know how many children have been affected one way or another at home or beyond with sexual exploitation or abuse. We need to know that number and how many of them have gone on to the commercial dimension. Some are actually stolen from their families and brought into the trade. The figure is not an insignificant one, and that figure is repetitive. It is not as if you all of a sudden have a 12-year-old girl; there is another 12-year-old girl coming in the next year and she is only 13 years of age and so on.

Mr. Phaneuf, does the NGO community have a gut feeling as to the number of children that are involved? Does UNICEF have that type of information? We are not holding you accountable. We are looking for what we call declassified estimates, which are accurate within 50 per cent.

Mr. Phaneuf: It is tempting to quote figures. Let me just put the context, if I may. We have good child welfare data on sexual abuse. There are different forms of sexual abuse, of which one is sexual exploitation, and overwhelmingly those are cases where the allegation is that the abuse was at the hands of a family member or a caregiver. In most cases, those incidents would be reported to child welfare and child welfare would intervene. Those cases are analyzed through the research studies I referred to earlier.

Cases of sexual exploitation where the alleged perpetrator is outside the family, for example, a stranger, a coach, the barber, or someone in the neighbourhood, are usually reported to law enforcement and are dealt with through that system as opposed to child welfare. There are databases that capture that information, but the quality of the data is open to some question and it is not representative data. It is not epidemiological data. When the numbers are cited, they must be looked at with caution. Only certain types of cases are looked at by law enforcement officials and only a certain number of cases proceed to court. There is an attrition factor involved in that. I do not have the numbers here right now, but if the committee is concerned about unreported abuse, then we need to start thinking and asking the questions about where we go to get that information. How is it that we are failing children and what do we need to do to intervene early in unreported cases? How is it that we are not intervening with these children who are at risk? We need to start asking and answering those questions as well.

Ms. McIntyre: Mr. Phaneuf spoke about child welfare. In my data, about 52 per cent were from child welfare; the other 48 per cent were not. No one has their eyes on the 48 per cent. With child welfare, people are watching; therefore, the numbers are high. Out of a group of 10 young women, seven would be at risk of sexual abuse and four out of 10 young men would be subject to sexual abuse. That does not mean that someone abused at home will ending up in the sexual exploitation trade, but it certainly supports the chances of it happening.

Data is not easy to capture because it is not something that is in the open. It is difficult to be able to track what it looks like. However, you can go to any city and you can find the areas where young people are working in this industry. You can see that and hear the stories loud and clear where that will happen for young people in any city in Canada.

Senator Munson: On the international scene, how do we compare in terms of the incidence of exploitation of children in developing countries? Where is Canada on the list compared to Germany, the United States and Australia? Are we high up on that list or in the middle?

Mr. Karbassi: It is hard to respond exactly to your question. Canada is not in a bad position compared to other developed countries. There is not an official listing. The U.S. Department of State has an annual report and Canada always has a good rating in this report compared to other countries. Take into account what Canada has done in the fight against trafficking.

Ms. Pollaert: On an international scale, I think what is particular to Canada is that when we talk about child trafficking, for example, we are talking about a domestic problem more than in other countries where it is a broader problem of children being trafficked from one country to another.

The Acting Chair: Are we incorrect to say that a child that has been sexually abused is a child that has been exploited?

Ms. Wolff: ``Exploitation'' implies benefit to an abuser. There might be more than one abuser — that is, some other abuser is benefiting. It is an abuse of power. The definitions are difficult to secure. Commercially, there is more than one profiteer from the crime that is perpetrated on the child. ``Exploitation'' tends to be abuse of power and some benefit to the exploiter beyond the sexual interaction.

Terminology is a shifting ground in the field of those who work on these issues. There is a resource that I provided to your clerk that looks at terminology. It might be helpful for the committee to review and adopt certain terminologies related to child abuse imagery versus child pornography or children exploited in travel and tourism versus child sex tourism because there are nuances that can be less helpful than others in terminology. You might want to establish a working definition; that document might be helpful to you.

The Acting Chair: We are not taking a legal position here as much as an informative position. Someone said that 82 per cent of those who end up in the exploitation side have been abused as children. To me, it is a continuum. Many of you have said that we must look at this as a continuum from the start point. We have also heard that there are many places where people are dropping the ball for the young person who has been exploited for three years, say, from ages nine to 12, but finds himself facing another terminology. No one has taken care of that, so we go back again. However, that person is scarred for life.

If we want to look at the unreported cases where the real numbers may find themselves, it is important that we do not waste time on the definitions of ``exploitation'' and ``abuse.'' An abused child is an exploited child and the nature of the abuse or exploitation might not involve cash. I look at that in a simple soldier's way.

You raised the question of Canada being a country of immigrants, who now come from various areas of the world with cultural differences. Are you discerning that new dimensions may be introduced because of some cultural or other sort of background from countries of origin?

Ms. Pollaert: I think I raised the issue. When we did the alternative report to the optional protocol, the subject of forced or underage marriage was a common subject. We looked for data on this subject, but could not find any research. We have heard stories from people in community organizations, from social workers, or from psychologists, who tell stories about young women forced into marriage. We thought it was something that had to be mentioned and that light has to shine on this issue. We have to shed light on the prevention side as well, because in many cases it is an educational issue. We have certain laws. Personally, I would like to keep them.

There have been discussions, for example, in Quebec concerning the recruitment of immigrants. These discussions have raised the issue of the equality of men and women. This equality is compared to certain cultural customs and the law in Canada and Quebec. Maybe this would be an area to explore in order to make the Canadian legal situation clear. Ms. Wolff also mentioned the social approach to some questions is that underage marriage is legal.

The Acting Chair: Have you received data from the medical world? Are they feeding into the social programs of the abuses?

Mr. Phaneuf: Certainly, there is mandatory reporting in all jurisdictions in Canada, and health professionals, to a large degree, observe and report suspected cases to child welfare.

The Acting Chair: Including psychiatrists and psychologists?

Mr. Phaneuf: Certainly.

The Acting Chair: Why were you not consulted for the first response to the protocol? Why was it done in isolation?

Ms. Pollaert: We have asked ourselves that question for a long time.

The Acting Chair: The reason I ask is that I want to know if you have made phone calls, spoken to people, lobbied, or all of a sudden found out it was done and then, suddenly, you are not part of it. It is part of a formal process. We know when this is coming. How much have you, if I can use the term ``harassed'' the staff, politically or bureaucratically, to be allowed in?

Ms. Pollaert: We have been harassing very well, but we have not received a response. There was no consultation, but the main point is that the consultation provides the occasion to sit together. Many questions you have been asking us would have been asked in a consultation between other NGOs, drawing together information from different areas of the country, from different levels as well, community organizations, NGOs, governments, and so on. Our main concern is that we missed an occasion to communicate and share information. The result is a very interesting report. It is a description of what is going on, but there is not a lot of information from the government side in the report, from our point of view, that is qualitative and about victim protection. There are many areas the government report does not get into. The main problem is that the occasion was missed, but we did lobby.

The Acting Chair: Was it a deliberate process of not consulting or was it an omission?

Ms. Pollaert: It is not up to me to judge these issues.

The Acting Chair: You are an advocate. You are keen on this issue. You are in the field getting your boots dirty. If people are not talking to you, who are they talking to?

I really want to get from you a true sense of whether or not you were cut out deliberately because perhaps their perception is that what you have is not pertinent to the report.

Ms. Pollaert: Speaking for our organization, we were left out in the sense that we were not consulted. However, the studies we have been doing for the past few years are all included in the report. The recommendations and suggestions we have made in the past, or the way we have presented issues with regard to the best interests and so on, were taken into account and were mentioned in the report that the Canadian government prepared for the Committee on the Rights of the Child. However, speaking as a member of the board of the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children, we were not consulted. Those are two different issues for me.

Senator Nancy Ruth: To what extent do you, as NGOs and government departments, have the same focus? Do you share the same concerns? Are you working in tandem, or do you find there are significant gaps between the responsible government agencies and the responsible NGOs in terms of what you are doing? If that is so, how should it change?

Ms. McIntyre: I can speak as someone who ran a large treatment centre in Calgary for a number of years. What is amazing is that this topic has stayed on the radar; it has not disappeared. People are working hard to keep it happening.

I graduated from social work in the mid-1970s. We were not taught to ask people about sexual abuse. We did not think it was an issue. That is not very long ago. We did not even have women's shelters at that time. We have made phenomenal progress in keeping it going. A great deal of energy goes into this issue at all levels across the country. NGOs work hard. Yes, there are times when there is infighting and there are differences, but people work hard to keep it moving. That is why having the profile of sexual exploitation at this level, in the Senate, is a breath of fresh air for people working in the field. We are gratified that the Senate is keeping the issue on the agenda and that it is not disappearing.

Mr. Phaneuf: We echo those comments. Clearly, government departments and agencies are working on these issues and doing very important work, just as there is very important work happening in the NGO and professional communities. The call for a national plan of action underscores the need for ongoing collaboration and cooperation across sectors and professions. That is the thinking. If we take this issue seriously in our respective areas, it requires ongoing coordination and collaboration. We need to know what the right hand and the left hand are doing.

There are, as Ms. Wolff mentioned, great programs in the country. Some very significant work is being done in jurisdictions across the country, supported by government, by the voluntary sector and by other sectors. However, we need to work together to ensure we are not duplicating our efforts and that we are taking the best programs that exist and getting them to the children who need them. In a country as large and diverse as Canada, it is important that we formalize some of that coordination, and that is the notion of the call for a national action plan.

Senator Munson: You mentioned the national strategy and we talked about a children's rights commissioner. Then we talked about this provincial-federal jurisdictional issue that takes place all the time. We also talked about a failure of a series of links. Is there any room for discussion on a separate federal ministry specifically dealing with children?

Ms. Wolff: I can answer that question and respond to a previous question about where NGOs might diverge from the views of government.

A number of us have mentioned that we advocate a children's rights approach to this issue. That means that there are accountability mechanisms, such as a children's commissioner, in place. Consultation is part of an accountability mechanism, as is a national plan that you can monitor and measure. Those are all accountability mechanisms related to a rights-based approach to this issue. These are all mechanisms that your committee recommended in 2007 but that the government response was not keen to pick up on. Those are key areas where we feel action needs to be taken.

In terms of the issue of a systems approach, it is about the different parts working together, not isolating one part and focusing only on that. Unfortunately, it is a big piece to bite off, but you cannot address the issue without looking at all the parts: data collection, monitoring, legislation and preventive programming. Maybe I missed answering your question particularly.


The Acting Chair: Senator Brazeau, excuse me, I had not noticed, but you had a question?

Senator Brazeau: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Ms. Pollaert, since the socio-economic conditions of aboriginal people throughout the country contribute to the fact that they become ideal candidates for sexual exploitation, have your NGOs worked with aboriginal groups to study that question?

Ms. Pollaert: We are happy about the contacts we made with aboriginal women during our visit with the aboriginal women's association of Quebec. We wanted to include aboriginal communities and aboriginal women in our training program. We also met Mr. Ghislain Picard and Ms. Gabriel, with whom we discussed training. Ms. Gabriel told us that she wished to adapt the program to the aboriginal context to have it distributed to women's shelters and different centres throughout Quebec. Our objective was that aboriginal communities provide the training themselves.

Building a relationship of trust takes time. It is rarely created overnight.


Ms. Wolff: The Sisters in Spirit program, which I believe receives funding from the federal government, collect data on this subject, with a focus on Aboriginal children. Other isolated studies have been funded. One study in particular, found that in a community in one Western province 90 per cent of the children being exploited in the sex trade were Aboriginal children, but they represented only 10 per cent of the population. These studies make it very clear that they are overrepresented in exploitation, but again, we do not yet have an adequate picture.

Ms. McIntyre: When we did our study on young men, we trained interviewers across the country, because I could not interview all 157 subjects. Of the 20 interviewers, nine were Aboriginal. That made it much easier to get closer to the Aboriginal population than if we had not had people on the ground that were connected to Aboriginal youth. We worked closely with bands and elders in most communities when we were doing the research. We tried to keep it as real as possible and open for everyone to see.


Ms. Pollaert: Concerning the aboriginal communities, on several occasions throughout Canada, various members of these communities mentioned the importance of having a hub or a clearing point for their good practices or what they do in cooperation with the different aboriginal communities for the purpose of preventing sexual exploitation.

The importance of emphasizing the things that work well was pointed out repeatedly by various aboriginal representatives who would like us to move on to other areas. Many things are already being done, but they would like them to be talked about more.

Senator Brazeau: What do you think of Bill C-268 insofar as child trafficking is concerned? The aboriginal representatives in Canada and Quebec with whom I spoke are in agreement with this bill because it provides for minimum sentences of at least five years for those found guilty of child trafficking. This bill won't solve everything, but it is a step in the right direction.

Ms. Pollaert: Unfortunately, the Bloc Québécois was quite virulent on the subject of this bill. Our position is different. However, police forces, in particular the Sûreté du Québec, after having investigated the issue in the field, said that child trafficking charges will not be laid under the Criminal Code because it is too complicated. What they need is for the legislation to be adapted so that it can apply concretely in the field. We discussed this with a City of Montreal police officer who deals with sexual exploitation; he instructed the policemen he supervises to not lay trafficking charges because it is much too complicated, but to lay sexual exploitation charges, because in that case they already have the sentences they want to see.

Laws are one thing, but their application is something else and that is where there are shortcomings. Look at the work done by Annie Robert of the RCMP. She decodes the law and explains it to provincial police forces. That is relevant over the long term. We need to see some changes.

Mr. Karbassi: In order to lay child trafficking charges you need a much longer and more complex investigation — it is more complicated to establish the evidence — whereas it is simpler in the case of a sexual exploitation charge. If you look at the data and figures, that can be misleading because there are very few figures in connection with trafficking whereas there are more data concerning sexual exploitation. That is due to the confusion around these issues, because the police prefer to lay sexual exploitation charges, while in reality they are dealing with trafficking cases.


Senator Brazeau: Ms. McIntyre, I believe you mentioned earlier that we could alter the mindset of approximately 70 per cent of the population. Can you explain that statement? What do we need to do to get to that 70 per cent of that population in order to get real results?

Ms. McIntyre: We need to create a program to educate young men and women not to become customers so that they can fully understand where the population is coming from. Quite often people do not move into sexual exploitation thinking that is what will happen. It can happen in different ways. A number of former customers I have spoken to said that they began by looking at paper pornography, then they moved on to films and further, perhaps going to strip clubs.

We need to educate people to understand what this is about, who the youth are, and that the majority of them come from backgrounds of abuse. We need to give people enough of a knowledge base that they will not proceed down that road. We need to give them the background to understand the population.

The e-learning tool we have been playing with is in early stages. It is a street scene with 18 stories that unfold so that people understand exactly what they would be entering into if they were to do that. We do not give people that kind of background. It happens in very different ways for different people. The purpose of the tool is to try to change the demand side, which will hopefully decrease the need for the supply side.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Everyone needs to earn money. In your wildest dreams of a national action plan, how will these children earn money? How do you propose to give them other options? This has always been an issue for women in prostitution; they cannot make the same dollars any other way.

Ms. McIntyre: It is a tough issue. We need to begin to look at providing programs of support to be able to train young people.

I went back and interviewed 41 of the original 50 people that I interviewed 10 years earlier. They were clear on what they needed. They needed someone to help them with education, employment, and to be there to assist them. Both Ms. Wolff and Mr. Phaneuf have said that as soon as the child turns 18 years of age, it is done. We have children who are around forever and the scars stay with them for a long time. We need extended support services for them; something in which we do not pull out immediately.

The Acting Chair: Some are 25-years-old going on 14 years of age because they have never had a chance to move beyond that age given the limits and the incarceration that they have experienced in some of these places.

Supply and demand is a very interesting angle. How do you crack prevention and unreported abuses? The link between abuse and exploitation must be pursued as well. We will gain more on the primary target, which seems to be Aboriginal children, and how we will be able to move that along.

Thank you for coming on this dreary day. You have started the ball rolling and the committee appreciates your testimony.


Thank you very much, and good luck in your work.


We will continue with the second half of the session, which is the opening round of this extensive study by the committee. We are happy to have witnesses representing the government side — having listened to the world of the non-governmental organizations and the like — to give us the initial feel for this exercise in regard to the sexual exploitation of children. We are keen, ultimately, on preventing this exploitation — not simply to stop it potentially, but to eradicate that dimension from our society.

I will introduce all of our witnesses. Then on their own volition, they can decide who will speak first. From the Department of Justice, we have Catherine Kane, Acting Senior General Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, and Carole Morency, Acting General Counsel, Criminal Law Policy. From Public Safety Canada, we have Barry MacKillop, Director General, Law Enforcement and Border Strategies. Are you armed?

Barry MacKillop, Director General, Law Enforcement and Border Strategies, Public Safety Canada: No, sir.

The Acting Chair: My son tried to come in here with his sword as part of the guard and he was not able to.

From the RCMP, we have Superintendent Michel Aubin, Director, Immigration and Passport Program, and Superintendent John Bilinski, Officer in Charge, Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.

I sit on the national police services advisory board, so I have had the pleasure of receiving, and maybe passing on, a few points at that level. I am happy to see you gentlemen here today and in uniform, looking very proper. We ask you to keep your testimony to eight minutes or so, because the questions bring up interesting angles and in the questions, you can amplify the text that has been approved by your superiors that have given you the authority to speak.

Carole Morency, Acting General Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice Canada: We agreed among ourselves that perhaps the most logical way to present is to have me give a high-level overview in terms of the criminal law responses dealing with child sexual abuse. My colleague, Ms. Kane, will then speak to criminal law responses to facilitate testimony by child victims and witnesses in the criminal justice system, followed by my colleague, Mr. MacKillop, who will speak on behalf of federal efforts to address child sexual exploitation on the Internet, through awareness and law enforcement.

Finally, our RCMP colleagues will address the issues from the operational side, dealing with the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre and the Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre. I also took note that the committee was interested in statistical information to help paint the picture. I might add a couple of remarks to that picture at the end of my brief presentation.

To begin, our criminal law provides comprehensive protection against all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation of children, and accommodates their unique needs as victims and witnesses in the criminal justice system. Children are also protected against sexual and other abuse and neglect in Canada under provincial and territorial child protection legislation.

Over the past 20 years, criminal law reforms addressing child sexual abuse have focused on four key areas. The first one, beginning with the 1988 reforms in what was then Bill C-15, was where all child sexual abuse offences were modernized to ensure that all forms of sexual abuse were more effectively addressed by the criminal law, and to ensure that both girls and boys were equally and adequately protected against all forms of sexual abuse. Those reforms also included a major innovation in terms of facilitating testimony of child victims and witnesses.

The second area where we have seen reforms has been to address new or changing forms of child sexual exploitation, including child pornography and child sex tourism.

The third area has focused on predatory conduct. That area has led to the strengthening of provisions we have in the criminal law to better protect children against known or suspected child sex offenders.

The fourth area has focused on the use of new technologies to facilitate the commission of sexual offences against children, such as Internet luring and child pornography offences.

As a result, today, children in Canada are protected under general provisions that apply to protect all Canadians against violence, including the general sexual assault provisions, assault, unlawful confinement, kidnapping and human trafficking.

Children are also protected under child-specific offences in the Criminal Code, with the result that we now have prohibitions against any form of sexual contact — touching of a child — as well as against any invitation to engage in sexual activity with a child, and traveling abroad by a Canadian or permanent resident to engage in premeditated sexual activity, known as child sex tourism.

We prohibit the offering up, or procurement, of a child for illicit sexual activity including through prostitution, and the use of the Internet to communicate with a child for the purpose of luring or facilitating the commission of a sexual offence against that child or an abduction offence. All forms of child pornography, be they in visual, written or audio format — our definition applies not only to child sexual abuse images, but to all forms — are strictly prohibited, including possession, accessing and all manner of making, distributing, selling, transmitting, making available, advertising, selling and importing; all permutations of that pornography are prohibited.

We also have complementary provisions within the Criminal Code that enable the courts to order the takedown of child pornography that has been found on the Internet, and matters that go hand in hand with enhancing the enforcement of our child pornography laws.

By way of broad strokes, the committee asked the previous panel questions on the nature and incidents of child sexual abuse in Canada. There is a long history within Canada at the federal government level of looking at the issue of child sexual abuse, beginning most notably in the 1980s with the Badgley Committee. I or others can take the committee through the long chain of federal responses. I encourage the committee to consider calling our colleagues from the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics to have them provide the committee with the with real nuts and bolts relating to the statistical information we have on both incidents reported to police as well as to the general social survey in terms of victims reported.

To give you a sense for our present purposes, from the 2005 Juristat by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, ``Children and Youth as Victims of Violent Crime,'' which looked at data from 2003, if we look at that number, we see the same number that was referenced by the previous panel — 61 per cent of all victims of sexual assault are children. According to police-reported data for the same year, this percentage amounts to approximately 9,000 children and youth victims.

The vast majority of these victims are female, 80 per cent; and overall, a significant proportion of sexual assaults are perpetrated by an individual known to the victim, 86 per cent. This individual is not necessarily a family member, but someone close who is known to that person, as opposed to a stranger. The younger the age, the more likely it is that the person is a family member.

I highlight that strangers were implicated in only 5 per cent of the cases reported to police. These statistics give you a sense of the magnitude, but only for those cases reported to police. References were made in the previous panel as well that this crime is grossly underreported, not only for children but for adults as well, for myriad reasons. Certainly, in dealing with child victims, we understand that situation to be the case.

The Acting Chair: Thank you for the succinct presentation.

Catherine Kane, Acting Senior General Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice Canada: As my colleague mentioned, I will focus my remarks on changes made over the last 20 years to improve the situation of the child or other vulnerable person when appearing as a witness in court. Obviously, our goal always is to prevent such crimes, but the reality is that we are not always successful, and children are required to give their testimony in court, whether they are witnesses to abuse, victims of abuse, witnesses to family violence, or other. That testimony becomes a re-victimizing experience for children. A variety of reforms and other initiatives have been made over the last two decades to improve that experience.

Ministers of justice and the Department of Justice as well as provincial and territorial justice departments have taken a range of initiatives. At the federal level, these initiatives includes law reform, research, public education, consultations with provinces and territories through the directors of victims services, and the funding of projects through the Victims Fund. The fund is a grants-and-contributions program that supports and tests new approaches to services for victims' awareness-raising and other assistance provided by the provinces and the territories and by non- governmental organizations by way of victims services.

I will also highlight a few of the provisions of the Criminal Code that facilitate the provision of testimony by a young victim or witness. These provisions have evolved and have been expanded over the last 20 years as the law has come to recognize that it is essential to have this evidence, and that to have the best evidence, certain aids must be provided to those victims and witnesses.

The most recent amendments to the Criminal Code with respect to facilitating testimony were included in Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (protection of children and other vulnerable persons), which received Royal Assent in July 2005 and was proclaimed in two stages: November 2005 and January 2006.

Among other things, the bill expanded the use of testimonial aids. One goal was to rationalize and clarify the law governing when those testimonial aids could be used, and the test governing their use. As a result, as a basic principle for children under 18, most testimonial aids are provided on an application by the Crown. The Crown asks the court to order the use of the testimonial aid and the court must grant it unless there is a concern that doing so would interfere with the administration of Justice. In such a case, the accused would raise those concerns. Previously, there was a variety of tests and the onus fell on the Crown to show why a particular testimonial aid was needed. Research over the years established that the process took a great deal of time and that there was a body of research that could be relied on to show that it would always be in the child's interest to have that assistance provided. This amendment eliminates the need for the Crown to make that application to the court and to take that extra step to show that the aid is necessary. There is a presumption that those aids will be provided.

When I speak of testimonial aids and other measures to facilitate testimony, I refer to the following: discretion for the judge to exclude members of the courtroom when necessary for the proper administration of justice; allowing a victim or witness to testify outside the courtroom or behind a screen or device that prevents a view of the accused; allowing the admission of videotaped testimony of a victim or witness who is under the age of 18; permitting a support person to accompany a witness or victim made vulnerable by age or other factors; restricting the personal cross- examination of victims by a self-represented accused; and publication bans on the identity of victims and witnesses. Various other provisions are relevant, and I can answer questions if those provisions are of interest to the committee, so I will not go into the details now.

As well, there are provisions to amend the Canada Evidence Act with respect to the receipt of evidence provided by children. Under the previous law before the amendments proclaimed in 2005, there was a two-step inquiry with respect to whether the child could give evidence. This inquiry has been streamlined such that the focus is now on the child's ability to understand and to respond to questions, and not on their understanding of what it means to take an oath or what the concept of a promise means. Basically, the child that can communicate the evidence and understand and reply to the questions will give their evidence. The trier of fact will determine the weight that is to be attached to that evidence.

I also mention that many of these provisions I refer to have been the subject of challenges under the Charter. To date, they have been upheld. We are aware that in the future, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear a case from the B.C. Court of Appeal that challenges the provisions in section 16 of the Canada Evidence Act and the use of support persons. We are optimistic, based on the case law of lower courts, that the appeal court will uphold those provisions for the benefit of children.

Within the Department of Justice, we have a unit called the Policy Centre for Victim Issues, whose mandate is to look at all law reform and other initiatives through a victim's lens to ensure that any reforms considered will not do greater harm to victims and will not inhibit the rights of the accused. One goal of the PCVI mandate is to administer the Victim's Fund and to conduct research and public awareness.

Many projects funded to date target the implementation of some provisions of the Criminal Code to which I referred. For example, resources have been provided to provinces and territories for the purchase of screens, behind which a witness may testify, and laptops so that victim preparation can be done remotely. In the North or remote regions of the provinces, a victim service worker in one location can help a witness in another location to prepare for court through the use of technology. Research has been conducted on the impact of the reforms brought about by Bill C-2. These reforms have included court observation studies and other types of research interviews with various members of the criminal justice system, which determines the perceptions of judges, defence counsel and the Crown, to ensure that these reforms are implemented in the intended spirit and to determine whether there are gaps to be addressed.

I can provide you with additional information about specific projects funded but it is probably sufficient to leave it at that point for now. I will be happy to answer questions after my colleagues have spoken.

The Acting Chair: Thank you for that informative overview. Mr. MacKillop, please proceed.


Mr. MacKillop: Mr. Chair, I apologize. There was a communications breakdown concerning my speaking notes, and only the French parts were translated. The entire version will be sent to you tomorrow morning at the latest.


I welcome the opportunity to be here to share information on our efforts to combat the sexual exploitation of children in Canada. We can all agree that this area warrants our most concerted efforts. Today, a number of federal partners have described, and will describe further, Canada's coordinated approach across our various mandates.


The government has firmly committed to fighting any form of child exploitation, in particular the exploitation of children on the Internet. Given my role within the department, this will be my main topic today.


Public Safety Canada has the lead on the National Strategy for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation on the Internet, along with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Department of Justice in partnership with civil society, which I will detail later. The strategy, as you may know, was launched by the government in 2004 with the following goals: to increase our capacity to investigate and track down online predators; to enhance public education and awareness on the issue; and to support further research on the issue of child sexual exploitation. The government announced the renewal and expansion of the strategy on February 10, 2009. With an additional $6 million per year announced in Budget 2007 to combat the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children, a total of $71 million over the next five years and beyond has been allocated to protect children from online predators.


In compliance with the strategy, the RCMP National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre plays the central administrative role in the fight against child exploitation. Mr. Bilinski, the officer in charge, will provide detailed information subsequently on the centre's activities.

Today, I will spend most of my time discussing the work done by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, a non- governmental partner in the strategy. The centre is a Winnipeg charity organization devoted to the safety of children.


Through the strategy's funding, this organization operates, Canada's national tip line where the public can report potential cases of sexual abuse of children on the Internet. While the majority of tips relate to child sexual abuse images, Cybertip also receives report of luring, child prostitution and child trafficking. Cybertip analysts examine and triage reports received from the public and forward them as necessary to the appropriate law enforcement agency. This tool has been tremendously successful. In fact, from September 2002 to June 2009, has processed almost 33,000 tips from the public.


The analysis of the reports done by the staff also allows us to better understand the nature and scope of child sexual exploitation on the Internet in the Canadian context.

The personnel of will soon be publishing a research report which will contain a detailed analysis of web sites that contain images of sexually exploited children. I am sure that this report could be very useful to the committee.


In January 2007, implemented a project called Cleanfeed, which is aimed at reducing accidental access to child sexual abuse images and discouraging those trying to access or distribute child pornography. Through this project, created and maintains a regularly-updated list of specific foreign-hosted Internet addresses associated with images of child sexual abuse. This list is provided in a secure manner to participating Internet service providers. The filters of the Internet service providers then automatically deny access to the listed sites.

The strategy also supports Cybertip in the development and dissemination of education and awareness materials to children, teenagers and parents. Its website provides easily accessible educational information through, for example, the Kids In the Know program, which is an interactive safety education program that aims to empower children and to teach them how to protect themselves from sexual exploitation on the Internet. Cybertip's newest program, Commit to Kids, has recently been piloted across Manitoba. Through a comprehensive toolkit, this program aims to assist child- serving organizations to create safe environments for children and to prevent abuse from occurring within their organization.

Cybertip also frequently raises public awareness through press conferences, media campaigns and the distribution of brochures and pamphlets to kids and parents. Finally, Cybertip chairs the Canadian Coalition Against Internet Child Exploitation, which is a voluntary group of partners in both the public and private sector who work jointly to reduce child sexual exploitation on the Internet.


As you know, the Internet knows no borders. That is why it is even more difficult to locate offenders. Within the framework of this strategy, government representatives work in close cooperation with their international counterparts. Their collaboration consists not only in exchanging information to locate online predators, but also in exchanging exemplary practices and lessons drawn from the fight against the exploitation of children on the Internet, an environment that evolves constantly.


The United Kingdom Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre is well recognized for its approach. Officials from Public Safety Canada and the RCMP had a chance this year to visit the centre in London and meet with officials in March, where we went through their activities in London to see what efforts and best practices we could learn from them. The meeting provided an excellent opportunity for the Canadian delegation to reflect on our model and to obtain insight on areas for further work.

Overall, the meeting confirmed that our Canadian model is working well, and compares favourably with our international counterparts. As I mentioned, the meeting also provided us with areas for further examination, areas that strategy partners will continue to discuss in the coming months.

Internationally, Canada has endorsed a number of relevant treaties, including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; the Optional Protocol to the International Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography that requires countries to undertake measures to prevent all forms of sexual exploitation of children; and the G8 strategy to protect children to prevent children from sexual exploitation on the Internet. We will continue to forge partnerships across the global community to combat this crime.


To conclude, I want to reiterate our commitment to working in a coordinated fashion in order to fight against the sexual exploitation of children on the Internet. Our intervention must be adapted to the evolving nature of cybertechnology and cybercrime. I thank you for having given me the opportunity to address you today and I invite Mr. John Bilinski to explain the activities he directs with his group at the RCMP, together with Mr. Michel Aubin.


Superintendent John Bilinski, Officer in Charge, Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Thank you for the opportunity to provide an overview of the work that Canadian and international law enforcement are doing in the area of child sexual exploitation. I am Superintendent John Bilinski, and I am the officer in charge of the Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children. I am accompanied by Superintendent Michel Aubin, Director of the RCMP's Immigration and Passport Program as well as the Director of the Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre.

Sexual exploitation of children is unfortunately not a new phenomenon. However, advances in technology create opportunities for those who seek to exploit children for sexual purposes. We hope through our opening comments to provide you with an update as to the knowledge law enforcement has acquired on this issue through our respective programs.

The Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children is a partner of the provincial Integrated Child Exploitation, ICE, units across Canada, as well as the municipal investigators dedicated to this area of policing. The national strategy has permitted Canadian law enforcement to make significant progress in relation to IT-enabled child sexual exploitation. We have ICE units from coast to coast and we now have trained investigators in every province and territory.

As you may recall, Project Salvo clearly demonstrated the police presence and effectiveness across the country as offenders were arrested and charged in almost every province and territory. One of our most important roles as a national centre is in adding value to the intelligence received and forwarding it to the appropriate law enforce jurisdiction.

Reports are received from several agencies, including Cybertip, Canadian police agencies, the public and also through our international partnerships. The National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, NCECC, works closely with the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as well as international policing agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement, DHS ICE, and several other national police agencies from Europe, Asia and South America.

We provide an investigational package that includes value-added information such as administrative subpoena results, the account holder, open source intelligence and research analysis. We also provide a multitude of services to assist the agency in their investigation.

The Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, CPCMEC, has stayed true to its early conception as being an integrated unit. As a founding member of the Virtual Global Taskforce, the CPCMEC continues to represent Canada's policing community within this international alliance dedicated to combating child sexual exploitation.

CPCMEC investigators are involved in several operations of the Virtual Global Taskforce, allowing the international network of operators to work collaboratively and share best practices and techniques. A cornerstone of successful service delivery at the national centre is communication. Prior to the national strategy, much of the work of police was undertaken in isolation. The majority of our investigations are multi-jurisdictional in nature. The offender and victim may not even live in the same community, town or country.

Offenders are not the only ones who are making technology work to further their efforts. Through the further refinement and implementation of the Child Exploitation Tracking System, CETS, across Canadian police agencies, the police community is able to share investigational information in a secure environment. Countless hours of duplicate investigative efforts are now avoided due to the use of CETS.

Our commitment to partnership cannot be overstated. When we hear stories of children identified by law enforcement — one of our most essential roles — we see how important collaboration is. It is often the culmination of efforts of many officers from both national and international agencies that result in the identification of a child. Our victim identification unit at the CPCMEC is gaining strength and recognition as an international best practice.

The VI unit is responsible for collecting images seized from across the country and the world and to begin the process of image analysis with the objective of identifying the victims.

That responsibility reflects one of the central objectives of the CPCMEC to assist in coordinating law enforcement efforts across Canada. The images collected are submitted to the INTERPOL international database whereby a group of international specialists dedicate their time and effort to identify the children depicted. The international VI unit efforts have resulted in 943 identified and rescued victims thus far. It is important to note that those cases represent cases where images of child pornography were discovered and the whereabouts and the identity of the child depicted was not known. Without the VI unit efforts, the children would remain unidentified, and hence not removed from the sexually abusive environments. Of that 943 worldwide number, 53 were Canadian children who have now been identified and rescued.

We have reached a time wherein our efforts can be more refined, and we will advance our efforts and place our attention on ensuring that the services we offer — research, technology and training — continue to reflect the changing needs of the Canadian policing communities.

Human trafficking involves the transport, recruitment or harbouring of persons for the purpose of exploitation, generally for the sex industry or forced labour. Traffickers use various methods to maintain control over their victims, including force, sexual assault, intimidation, threats of violence and physical and emotional abuse. Victims are also often controlled via coercion and drug abuse, making their identification difficult.

Human trafficking occurs both across international borders, known as ``international human trafficking,'' and within national boundaries, which is referred to as ``domestic human trafficking.'' Children are among the most vulnerable to trafficking. Currently, there are no provisions in the human trafficking legislation differentiating between adult and child victims.

Human trafficking is about people making money by selling human beings into the sex trade or into forced labour networks. Human trafficking can involve organized crime networks but may also be conducted by individuals. Recent intelligence suggests that street gangs are becoming more involved in human trafficking by recruiting girls into prostitution.

The RCMP is committed to combating human trafficking both at home and abroad. In 2005, the RCMP established a Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre, HTNCC, which operates on behalf of all law enforcement in Canada. The centre develops tools, coordinates national awareness training and anti-trafficking initiatives, develops partnerships and coordinates intelligence for dissemination amongst law enforcement in Canada. The RCMP works with municipal, provincial, federal and international partners, government agencies and non- governmental organizations to uncover and target human trafficking activities.

To raise awareness of this issue, the RCMP, in collaboration with its partners, has developed a human trafficking awareness video and information package to help identify potential victims as well as their traffickers. The toolkit also contains victim assistance guidelines, posters, a police officer's handbook, pamphlet, contact card and the Crime Stoppers' national phone number to encourage the anonymous reporting of suspicious activities that could be linked to human trafficking.

In the human trafficking cases involving young persons, the traffickers lured victims by befriending them and engaging in a romantic relationship prior to forcing them into sexual exploitation. The accused were charged with human trafficking and prostitution-related offences, and received sentences for human trafficking varying from two to seven years. At this time, we are aware of an additional 21 domestic human trafficking cases already before the courts. There are an additional seven young victims in these cases.

In support of its operations, the RCMP has human trafficking awareness coordinators located throughout Canada who conduct seminars for the public, law enforcement and judiciary. As well, these coordinators develop partnerships with government and non-governmental organizations who seek to provide support to the rescued victims.

Human traffickers clearly violate the most basic human rights of their victims. The current strategy of the RCMP, through the HTNCC and its partners, is to focus on continued awareness initiatives, the development of domestic and international intelligence, development of investigative tools to support law enforcement engaged in human trafficking investigations and encouraging and building additional partnerships between agencies.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak today. Let me assure you that the partners here today are committed. The police, both in your own communities and internationally, are working together. We have specialized training, technological experts and committed people, and we are making progress. However, child sexual exploitation is not only a police issue; it is also a societal issue that requires the commitment of multiple agencies from various sectors to address it. I am encouraged today to see the level of interest here and welcome that focus.


The Acting Chair: Mr. Aubin, do you have a presentation to make?

Superintendent Michel Aubin, Director, Immigration and Passport Program, Royal Canadian Mounted Police: Mr. Chair, my comments were included in Mr. Bilinski's statement.

The Acting Chair: That is very good of you and I thank you. I want to thank our witnesses for having respected the time allotted to presentations so carefully. We will have the opportunity to discuss our topic as well as certain more specific aspects of it.


Senator Munson: Thank you for your presentations. It was mentioned that currently there are no provisions in the human trafficking legislation differentiating between adult and child victims.

What should be done about that situation?

Ms. Morency: Reference was made earlier to a private member's bill that is currently before the other place, Bill C- 268, which proposes amendments to the Criminal Code, trafficking-specific offence, to carve out and mirror the one there now that applies generally to adults and children. The amendments are to have the Criminal Code apply specifically to child victims under the age of 18, and the difference would be to impose mandatory minimum penalties where the victim is a child.

Subject to whatever happens to that private member's bill, the provisions in the Criminal Code now apply equally, whether the victim is a child or an adult, and they depend on how the offence is charged because the case may be charged under a prostitution-related offence, sexual assault or kidnapping. The offence could be child-specific or general.

Senator Munson: It takes a long time for a private member's bill to go anywhere. Do you believe there should be a different route; that perhaps government, with the help of the opposition, should craft its own piece of legislation to fast track that legislation?

Ms. Morency: Without commenting on whether the government should or should not, the bill is before the house and coming up for third reading and report stage debate tomorrow. The progress of the bill is far along. Whether the committee thinks other responses are recommended is for the committee to consider.

Senator Munson: Would the penalties be higher?

Ms. Morency: The maximum penalties remain as they are now. The maximum is 14 years where the trafficking involves aggravated assault, kidnapping, et cetera.

The mandatory minimum penalties are six years for the more serious offence, and five years for the lesser offence. I will clarify that difference shortly.

Senator Munson: Is the department aware of the other gaps that exist in the Criminal Code and the sections pertaining to the sexual exploitation of children?

Ms. Morency: In terms of gaps, the issue is often not one of legislative treatment but rather how the law on the books is applied. In my overview, I mentioned that, over the years, we have seen changes in how offences are committed against children. Reforms are currently before Parliament, namely, Bill C-46 and Bill C-47, that will assist with law enforcement efforts to enhance their abilities to deal with child pornography and other offences committed through the use of new technologies. In a sense, that is how we would address that gap.

To clarify, the penalty for a trafficking offence is life imprisonment for the more serious offences and 14 years for the lesser offences.

Senator Munson: In earlier testimony before the committee, there were graphic details of what is happening in this country and around the world. You spoke about coordination. Do you work with the Child Welfare League of Canada, UNICEF Canada, Hindsight Group or the International Bureau for Children's Rights? Is there constant communication, when you talk about this collaborative effort?

Mr. Aubin: On the issue of trafficking, it was mentioned in the opening comments that the human trafficking program for the RCMP has coordinators across the country. Aside from raising awareness for the public and law enforcement, the job of the coordinators is to work with non-governmental organizations that see to the needs of the victims. From a human trafficking perspective, that approach is taken.

Senator Munson: Is the situation becoming worse? Luring on the Internet and so forth has been emphasized. Someone mentioned $71 million. In terms of the job that the police must perform, can you tell me if the problem is becoming worse; and second, do you have the equipment to perform your job without losing your job?

Mr. Bilinski: That question of whether the situation is becoming worse is difficult to answer. We have noticed that the age of the children being abused is becoming lower. Without knowing how many victims there are, or how many people are out there perpetrating the crime, it is difficult to speculate whether the situation is becoming worse. Our statistics are increasing every year.

As far as resources at our disposal, we are focusing now on technology and on implementing various investigative tools that will assist the police in uncovering these crimes and bringing the abusers to justice. Since technology is advancing so quickly, it is a challenge to keep up with it.

Senator Munson: I have one other question. In my work as a senator on children's rights, I focus on children with mental and physical disabilities. I do not know if this question is fair here, but sexual exploitation is sexual exploitation. Are there incidents of exploitation of those who have an intellectual or physical disability? Is there a prevalence of that exploitation taking place? Do you have any such cases?

Mr. Aubin: From a human trafficking perspective, I cannot say that I am aware of any cases where children with those disabilities were exploited.

Senator Munson: The statistics cite that about 86 per cent of the perpetrators are known to the victim. The younger the person, the more likely they are to be known to each other. We have talked earlier about the reported and unreported cases, and I want to have an idea of whether people in this particular group are being abused.

Ms. Morency: A provision in the Criminal Code deals with sexual exploitation of a disabled person. If the victim suffers from a disability of some sort, and the victim is a child, whether the offence is charged under sexual exploitation, under a child-specific provision or under another general sexual assault provision can depend on the circumstances of each case.

Typically, once the court reaches the sentencing part of a decision, the court will look at the particular circumstances of the victim in each case and note, for example, that the victim was particularly vulnerable. If a position of trust was abused because the person was under the age of 18, or if the person was also vulnerable because of other disabilities, that circumstance too is generally noted. The effect generally is to increase within the range of the sentence that should be imposed, so the circumstance is treated as an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes.

Senator Brazeau: My question deals with the level of cooperation in your work with Aboriginal groups and communities and organizations. Human trafficking is a growing issue in the Aboriginal community. Human trafficking is even perpetuated by Aboriginal gangs across the country, more often than not in Western Canada, but also now in Montreal and, to a lesser extent, in Eastern Canada as well.

What type of work are you undertaking in terms of public awareness, in the hope of leading to prevention and, more importantly, in terms of forming a relationship with Aboriginal communities and groups so there is more trust? This question relates more to the RCMP. There is a certain level of skepticism with the Aboriginal people toward the RCMP. They are skeptical in that if they were to provide information, nothing will be done with that information.

How are you building a better relationship with Aboriginal groups to assist the RCMP, for example, in gaining the much-needed intelligence to assist in a potential human trafficking incident but that, because of that skepticism or that lack of trust, this information is not coming forward?

Mr. Aubin: I will try to address your question as best I can. It is important to hear this information. You are absolutely right that if there is skepticism, we need to address this issue. The trust needs to exist between the communities and RCMP, and it falls on the RCMP to address the issue.

With respect to Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal young girls, we do not have any intelligence or information showing that Aboriginal girls are being victimized more than other members of the community.

You are absolutely right when you talk about street gangs in Western Canada, whether they are involved in prostitution or human trafficking,. My background is in organized crime. However, this activity does not occur strictly in Western Canada. It occurs in Montreal and across the board. This activity is perpetuated by street gangs. It is one way they make money, and it is a reality.

With regard to the Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre and the RCMP in relation to the centre, the human trafficking program was put together in 2005. The first thing we worked on was raising awareness in law enforcement, because there is a misunderstanding in law enforcement and in the judiciary in terms of the difference between prostitution and human trafficking.

We are working this year with Aboriginal communities, specifically in terms of raising awareness. In Winnipeg, we have been working with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs. In Atlantic Canada, we have been working with the Sisters in Spirit program of the Native Women's Association of Canada to raise awareness in specific communities. We are not saying that Aboriginal people are necessarily more victimized than others, but we recognize that they can be, and we want to bring that possibility to the attention of Aboriginal groups. Through the coordinators, we are focusing on that level of public awareness, targeting specific groups.

In relation to the issue of skepticism, I will bring the issue to the attention of senior management. We are aware of this issue and we are working on it. I cannot speak on behalf of RCMP in the Western provinces, where, to a certain extent, the problem lies but I will bring it to their attention.

Senator Brazeau: In light of the upcoming Olympics in a few short months, is there a more concentrated effort to gather information and to be on the lookout, so to speak? As I mentioned earlier, the first set of panellists indicated that Aboriginal people are targeted in terms of this industry. In light of this world forum taking place, is work being done?

Mr. Aubin: Absolutely; that question is a good one. Yes, work is being done. The RCMP, through the joint intelligence group established to support the Olympics in Vancouver, is looking at a number of areas of criminality where criminals might come in and try to take advantage of the Olympics. Human trafficking is one area. We are ``plugged in'' to the intelligence group from an intelligence perspective.

There has been, and will continue to be, awareness raising by the RCMP, in concert with the B.C. human trafficking office. As well, the RCMP, with its partners, has been proactive in terms of investigations to determine if the level of human trafficking has been increasing. We are keeping this initiative in place leading up to the Olympics and throughout the Olympics. Resources have been dedicated for standby. If there is any indication of trafficking, we will respond to it.

Senator Nancy Ruth: This question is about how you select your priorities, in part. I assume from your testimony that you conduct gender-based analysis in deciding what to do. You and other groups have said that the majority of those trafficked or exploited are girls.

How do you perform that gender based analysis? Does the Department of Justice conduct that analysis when looking at developments in law, and how do they conduct it? How does the department collect data, and how do you measure results based on gender?

Ms. Morency: The department used to have a dedicated office on gender equality initiatives. That office has been subsumed within the department, so now gender equality is everyone's responsibility. When we look at policy initiatives that are being developed, we look at whether there are any intended or unintended potential implications on anyone, including women, children and other vulnerable populations.

When we look at some of the issues, whether the issue is child sexual abuse in particular or human trafficking, we recognize that women and children are primarily the victims, and that recognition necessarily brings that perspective to bear on the issue as well.

We try to identify possible implications. We address them within the policy initiatives we are addressing and, in terms of the way forward, to support implementation in order to prevent or avoid some of those unintended consequences.

Senator Nancy Ruth: The Auditor General banged the Department of Justice for lack of a gender-based analysis, in her May 2009 report.

Tell me the story of how you conduct gender-based analysis. I have heard you say that victims of trafficking are mainly women and girls, but how do you look at the data; how do you measure it? How is that process of analysis carried out? It is not only intuitive, I am sure.

Ms. Kane: To a certain extent, it is a bit intuitive, and it differs depending on the initiative we are looking at. There is not a set model that we can say will apply in every case. In the ordinary course of developing policy that will lead to law reform, we look at a range of factors. We look at what the problem is, who is suffering the most, who is impacted, who is committing the crime, who is the victim of the crime, and so on. In terms of developing options, as Ms. Morency said, we look at what the different impacts on those options depending on agenda and depending on a whole range of issues.

When the department had the special unit on gender, it evolved to be more than gender because it was known that it is not possible to isolate only gender; other factors were at play.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Like race.

Ms. Kane: Exactly; poverty, race, education and so on were involved. It became a much more multifaceted analysis. At the end of the day, we saw that there were different impacts depending on a range of how those factors played out. In terms of policy choices for the government, the government would be made aware of that factor to the extent it was applicable, and the government would choose its preferred options based on all those factors and others factors not necessarily related to gender that enter the policy-making and law reform process.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Gentlemen, what about your departments? How do you see the difference between boys and girls, and what use do you make of that information? How does it affect your ongoing planning?

Mr. Bilinski: At the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, the priority is always the child at risk, regardless of gender. When information comes in from an international or a national source, the main priority is how much the child is at risk. We prepare the packages, we add value to the information, and send it to the police service of jurisdiction regardless of gender.

Senator Munson: You said, when the department had the unit — past tense.

Ms. Kane: Yes, there had been a dedicated unit within the department to perform gender-based analysis and diversity and gender-equality analysis. The dedicated unit was interspersed throughout the department, so it became the responsibility of each part of the department to work that analysis into their own mandate.

Senator Munson: Is that approach satisfactory?

Ms. Kane: Senator Nancy Ruth referred to the criticism by the Auditor General that suggested that the approach was not entirely satisfactory, but various steps are being taken to ensure that the next time the Auditor General performs an audit she will see what has taken place.

Those of us who participated in that audit can provide a great deal of anecdotal evidence about the gender-based analyses that were conducted. However, we failed to show that the evidence was well reported. For those of us in policy, it is second nature to look at gender and other impacts including diversity and equality issues.

The Acting Chair: One area of significance is the unreported situation. Research seems to have established that 82 per cent of those who find themselves exploited had been abused previously. You said you are working on the cases that you have been able to find but there are a whole whack of others that you are not able to work on because they are not reported. One wonders how big that iceberg is.

Ms. Morency, you talked about the predatory conduct changes that have been made in the law. Considering human rights, how far are you able to delve into the area of predators who are in the initial stages of abusing children?

Ms. Morency: From a historical perspective, some of the reforms that have been brought into the Criminal Code have tried to enhance the ability of the formal structure, courts, to impose orders on people who have been identified by virtue of having been convicted of a sexual offence, or because it is suspected that they may commit a sexual offence. So the reforms are preventive in that sense.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the federal government supported initiatives to enhance awareness within organizations that work with children and hire people to paid or volunteer positions. When the Criminal Code was amended in 1993 to create these new preventive types of prohibitions and recognizance orders, peace bonds, we engaged in consultations with the non-governmental organizations, provinces and territories. We wanted to see where we stood in terms of raising awareness among these groups, formal and informal, in terms of whether they were armed with the information they needed to be on the look out for people who may be looking to work with an organization because it provides access to children.

In the late 1990s and early 2000, we had a project underway to raise awareness and enhance their ability to screen. Formal support from Public Safety Canada is ongoing with that project, trying to ensure that child-serving organizations are as well supported as possible to enable them to access police criminal record checks and to go beyond that check. We know that offenders are not always initially charged or detected; that they may have a history of abusing before they are caught.

The Acting Chair: You have given us good reports of the past. We are looking into the future at what sort of innovative approach might be introduced. Leaders of the Boy Scouts of Canada must have security checks. Those initiatives are outstanding, but with regard to the threat itself, are there initiatives by the Department of Justice or by other governmental bodies that go after that threat in more innovative ways before predators can act? I will come to the education side in a moment, but is influencing the education system within your mandate?

Mr. MacKillop: The education system is really outside the realm of the federal government. It is in the provincial jurisdiction. However, we do have a partnership with Cybertip. Cybertip goes into the school systems, and it has produced, and continues to produce, more prevention materials for parents, teenagers, and children so the materials are age appropriate. They teach kids how to be safe on the Internet, they teach parents what to look for, and they teach educators what to look out for with respect to the use of the Internet by kids.

We talked about reporting, and unreported incidents. Reporting is one of the reasons we are partnering with Cybertip. Cybertip is civil society, not the police, and the public can report to Cybertip. Sometimes, a stigma is attached to reporting to the police. People can report through Cybertip, and Cybertip will triage that report and send it to the police. That is one way of having additional reporting. Cybertip engages in a fair bit of prevention and awareness activity within the schools across Canada. Cybertip is piloting a new program in Manitoba. We work through our partners in the federal-provincial-territorial areas to advance these things, and to cross some of the boundaries between criminal justice and the education system.

The Acting Chair: Are you cracking the code of this problem, or are you still reactive? Are you able to change significantly the tone of the possible threats that are out there, or are you just plugging away, hopefully being positive in your work, of course?

Mr. MacKillop: I cannot say we have eradicated the problem, as you mentioned at the beginning in terms of the goal, but in the work we are doing both at the federal government as well as through Cybertip and with our provincial partners, we are advancing innovative tools on the prevention side. As you know, when it comes to crime prevention of any kind, we will see the results in 10 years or 15 years when these kids become older, and hopefully come through adolescence and young adulthood without having been victimized or abused. That is the goal moving forward, but a lot of good work is taking place.

On the human trafficking side, we are taking similar measures. The public can report to the police, or we have a new innovative partnership with the Canadian Crime Stoppers Association that allows the public to use the Crime Stoppers 1-800 number to report potential incidents of human trafficking as well.

The Acting Chair: How do you sell your product? I do not see you between hockey periods on Saturday night.

Mr. MacKillop: That may be a good thing, sir.

The Acting Chair: Are you receiving exposure? Do you have a budget to permit you to be more aggressive in your sales pitch with these ideas? You bring forward an enormous amount of information, but the general public is still querying and bouncing around there. They see poor commercials from people who say they will provide protection to their kids, but some of that software that is advertised is junk. Do you have a deliberate responsibility, through subsidizing and supporting, to go out there and aggressively change the nature of how people look at those possible threats? We subsidize changing windows on a house, but do you subsidize software for families to take more sophisticated measures to protect their children? Be straight: yes or, no, you do not have that money or it is not in your mandate.

Mr. MacKillop: Yes, no, it is not my mandate — I will give you all the answers. Yes, we give an amount of money to Cybertip through Public Safety Canada. The federal government gives between $1.7 million and $1.9 million a year. The contribution is probably the largest the government makes to a single non-profit organization, and a specific strategy is for Cybertip to advance the public awareness component. Cybertip engages in specific attempts to raise public awareness. The work with our provincial partners, and the work to cross over to the education side and raise awareness in the education systems and on the daycare side is deliberate. We are working well with Cybertip, the Canadian Coalition Against Internet Child Exploitation, CCAICE, and other non-profit organizations to reach those goals. On the human trafficking side, yes, we have a specific budget that we have provided to the RCMP as well as to Crime Stoppers for that type of awareness; to put up the posters and to air TV ads. A fair amount of that effort is out there already.

The Acting Chair: The $1.6 million does not buy 30 seconds at the Grey Cup. To me, there is this dimension of reaching victims in a reactive way. However, if we are looking at preventing this problem ultimately, there must be that effort and a lot more, including changing the whole process and philosophy of a society, and also making the public aware and giving resources to individual citizens. That is my response, and I am not pushing that one.

I want to go to Ms. Kane and the protection of witnesses. I was in Darfur, and a girl who was raped there needed five male witnesses to be able to prove that she was raped. We are far more sophisticated than Darfur. You have told us what you have done so far. Where are you going into the future with protection of witnesses to encourage them more deliberately to come forward?

Ms. Kane: It is a tall order to attract them to come forward. Despite all the changes that have been made in the Criminal Code to make that process less traumatizing, many resist the whole court experience because it re-victimizes no matter how many changes are made.

As I mentioned, we have now provided, where the circumstances are appropriate, for the exclusion of witnesses from the public, so the testimony can be in private.

The Acting Chair: My inquiry was about the future. What is coming down the road? Is someone researching that subject?

Ms. Kane: We are following up on how effective these reforms have been, and whether any other gaps need to be explored. We have funded a variety of projects, such as court observation projects. When the research results are available, that research will indicate whether to pursue other areas. The challenge is always to ensure that we provide authority for courts to order certain testimonial aids, as we call them, but at the same time that we do not impact on the rights of the accused to make full answer in defence. That challenge is always a balancing act. Canada, in our view, is progressive in regard to facilitating witness testimony. We are not sure we can do too much more. However, when the results of the research come in, we will look at the effectiveness of those provisions, whether any refinements are needed and whether other avenues should be explored.

The Acting Chair: We have people reporting things on social programs, and then we have people reporting on the legal side. My question is, what instruments are being built to make the transition from one to the other more comfortable to access more of the cases? Many cases never reach the legal system because they stay within the professional realm of the social side of things, so the perpetrators are never before the courts. Is there some sort of real methodology by which the world of non-governmental organizations working locally are brought in, and we know NGOs do not like people in uniform and so on, to make them comfortable with those links so they will transfer over and bring people to justice?

Ms. Kane: Senator, are you referring to non-governmental organizations that work with victims, and suggesting to them that they have a choice whether to report to the police or not?

The Acting Chair: What measures are you taking to help them make those choices, and to influence those choices? We have humanitarians, military and politicians all doing their own things, and they do not pass along information. We are talking about more than cooperating, collaborating or coordinating; we are talking about an integrating capability. Is that something you are looking at in the future?

Ms. Kane: In my experience with respect to looking at the victim's experience in the justice system — and we have worked with a number of victim organizations — there has not been the same split between whether we should engage the justice system or not. There has been a movement to report incidents, and to facilitate prosecutions through enhancing victim participation and so on.

A variety of inroads have been made at the provincial and territorial level in victim assistance and victim support. Research has shown that the sooner victim assistance is provided after the incident, the better the experience is through the process, the more trust there is in the justice system, and the better the outcomes for everyone. Even if the experience does not mean that someone is found guilty, there is a sense that justice has been served.

The Acting Chair: Do you have data?

Ms. Kane: That finding has been documented on much research through multi-site studies and in the victim services survey conducted every two years that the Department of Justice funds at the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.

The Acting Chair: We will ask them to come before the committee to talk about that research. We will follow up.

Ms. Kane: The experience may not be the same in regard to child sexual exploitation and trafficking. I am talking about more traditional victim assistance.

The Acting Chair: That information is what we are aiming at. There seems to be a void.

Mr. MacKillop, how is Microsoft helping you in your work, and what measures are Rogers and Videotron taking to move the yardsticks regarding the web? How much are they engaged? Are you funding them to conduct research? Are they funding research and providing it to you to achieve this objective?

Mr. MacKillop: I will let Mr. Bilinski speak in regard to Microsoft because they are engaged through the Child Exploitation Tracking System, CETS, program in what they have done both domestically and internationally. Domestically, our Canadian coalition of Internet providers — Rogers, Videotron and other large Internet service providers — are involved. Involvement is on a voluntary basis in terms of Cleanfeed Canada and those types of programs. They are involved and supportive. They have no more interest to see this stuff on their service providers than anyone else. They are involved, but we do not have to fund them.

Innovative approaches or ideas come through CCAICE and our work to integrate through our interdepartmental working group, our provincial partners, Cybertip and the Virtual Global Taskforce. We have the benefit of learning from a number of different areas.

The Acting Chair: The trend of my questioning is looking into the future. Does the federal government have a responsibility, even with our provincial problems and so on, to bring fundamental research to assist in implementing judicial norms to meet our values and moral standards? We conduct research and move it into the realm of the users and appliers. Do we not want to pursue that angle?

Mr. MacKillop: We are. We have dedicated research money. We have funded a couple of research projects this year.

With CETS, the research and development work on victim identification by the RCMP is ongoing. I will let Mr. Bilinski speak to advances in technology to track perpetrators.

Mr. Bilinski: In the case of Microsoft, they have stepped up to the plate on a number of occasions. They are the partners who developed CETS. They have put research funding and support on the table. We have a good partnership with them. The number of private commercial enterprises that come on a regular basis offering assistance is surprising. We are in the midst of evaluating all of them.

The Acting Chair: Are the proposals unsolicited?

Mr. Bilinski: Yes; in some cases, they have a lot of potential and in other cases, we decide it is not the proper fit at that time. We have beneficial partnerships with a number of private industries that give us one-up on the technological side, as I mentioned in my opening remarks. This one-up is due in large part to their assistance.

The Acting Chair: I am pushing for us to take a stronger lead in influencing what is out there. If you are receiving unsolicited proposals, I hope you are receiving the cash to try them or field test them.

Mr. Bilinski: Yes, we are. We have entered into a number of agreements with private industry. Their share is often research and funds. The federal government has supported us on that part as well.

The Acting Chair: I appreciate these detailed comments.

Senator Munson: One of the most heart-breaking pictures you will ever see is when you walk into a post office and see a picture of a missing child or missing person. Whether the child is 7 or 17, you do not know whether they are missing forever. Miracles do happen.

With that preamble, we have listened to what you said. It is impressive. This committee recommends to governments. Sometimes they listen, whether they are Liberal or Conservative governments.

At the end of the day as a take-away for us, what do you want us to recommend to government in our report on sexual exploitation of children? We would appreciate it if you can be specific. I know this request is difficult for government officials, but someone can say something.

Ms. Morency: To highlight some of the lessons learned over the years, reviews such as this committee's review keep an issue on the agenda. They keep people talking and they open or provide opportunities for different parts of the system to come together. These reviews always provide educational value. Public education and awareness is always important, no matter what the issue. Whether it is a particular law reform or efforts outside of the legislative arena, continuing to support awareness is always important. It never happens that you bring the issue forward once and everyone knows about it. We can look to experiences in other areas such as domestic violence. We have made inroads, but we still have issues. Much has been done federally on the issue of child sexual abuse but we still need to keep working on it.

We have talked collectively about our efforts to understand better how offenders offend today or will offend tomorrow. That understanding is always a challenge. It remains something that will affect our work for as long as we continue in this area. We draw on lessons learned over past years, and much work has been done. A lot of research has been undertaken. However, offenders in this area are creative. They make use of new technologies. We need to stay vigilant.

The Acting Chair: It is hard to be pro-active, is it not?

Mr. Aubin: To echo the words of my colleague, from a law enforcement perspective, we must recognize that we cannot address all criminality across Canada. In terms of strategies, enforcement and investigations leading to prosecution are important. Prevention is equally important. We try to contribute where we can.

In terms of recommendations, funding of public awareness and sensitizing children to the dangers is critical and supportive. These things would help address societal issues by recognizing the problem, taking it from behind closed doors and putting it on the table, if I can use that analogy. We can educate our children to avoid behaviours or ways in which they could be lured into these criminalities or behaviours that are negative. Awareness is extremely important.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Can I assume that those challenging the provisions are lawyers for the accused? Are there any exceptions to that assumption?

Ms. Kane: No, usually the challenge is from the counsel for the accused.

Senator Nancy Ruth: I have a strong impression from all of you that you are working internationally and know best practices everywhere; I will give you that.

Are there laws in other developed countries like Canada in this area that Canada should look at and has not, or are we a leader? How does Canada stack up against Sweden, the Netherlands, the United States or whomever?

Ms. Morency: I will try to be objective; Canada has a good track record in terms of having a comprehensive legal framework to address child sexual abuse. Call it exploitation or call it abuse. We do not need to differentiate because the laws apply for most of our offenses where a young person is under the age of 18. Our laws are broad even, for example, on the child pornography side. The offense was first added to the Criminal Code in 1993. A lot of other countries still have not caught up with us. In our law, child pornography applies to images depicting real children and fictional children, whether it is real sexual activity or depicted as being engaged in — the law is broad.

The Acting Chair: Do you mean cartoons and things like that?

Ms. Morency: Yes, the law will apply.

I believe Canada has a strong and comprehensive legal framework that compares favourably to other countries. That said, there is always an interest to be on top of how those laws are implemented and enforced. Mr. MacKillop mentioned the meeting with Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, CEOPC, in the U.K. We can learn from other countries and we do. Whether the issue is specifically child sexual exploitation, human trafficking or other areas, the international dialogue is important.

Senator Nancy Ruth: The Minister of State responsible for Status of Women has said she intends to end violence against women. It is a lovely thought. The government has monies for violence; for instance, they funded the Sisters in Spirit Program. Do any of your departments have any relationship with Status of Women Canada? If so, what is the relationship and how does it work?

Mr. Aubin: Under the Human Trafficking Program, we have our awareness coordinators and we make presentations to the public. Status of Women Canada is part and parcel of our team that makes these presentations. Status of Women Canada is there to provide input. A comprehensive package is provided to the law enforcement judiciary at this time in terms of training, and Status of Women Canada is there as well. The organization is are part of our team.

Senator Nancy Ruth: Does Status of Women Canada help create the training packages for the judges?

Mr. Aubin: We have been delivering a package across the country for three years. Approximately 20,000 public officials and law enforcement judiciary have been trained, and Status of Women Canada is part of the team, as well as other individuals.

Mr. MacKillop: As one of the co-chairs with Ms. Morency of the human trafficking interdepartmental working group, Status of Women Canada is a member of our interdepartmental working group, so they are at all our meetings. They are involved in all our discussions with respect to human trafficking. I know our corrections people in Public Safety Canada also deal with members of Status of Women Canada as well.

Senator Nancy Ruth: What value do they add to these interdepartmental meetings?

Mr. MacKillop: They bring a unique perspective that assists us in making sure that we cover all bases when we move forward, and that we understand the perspective from all sides before moving forward in either policy development or selection of projects we may want to fund for research, or projects with an NGO.

The Acting Chair: Do they bring cash to the table?

Mr. MacKillop: We usually do not ask for cash at the table; but if we can partner on a project with a number of different departments, those that have both the funding and the authority to spend the funding under the certain authorities that we have for various programs, those departments would put the money on the table if they had the money available.

The Acting Chair: On the trafficking side of the house, within your responsibility of overseeing and coordinating youths coming into the country, is our immigration side strong enough to perceive how many of those youths are coming in with the specific aim of being used in the exploitation arena? If they are found, do we have a system where we can take care of them and not simply ship them back home?

Mr. Aubin: As part of the strategy for human trafficking, aside from the awareness and investigations, there is also prevention, and one of our partners is the Canada Border Services Agency, CBSA. Their folks are trained at the ports of entry, as well as overseas, and they perform training with the airlines to try and identify potential victims. Many victims do not recognize themselves as victims because of the process of luring them and whatnot.

These folks are trained for that purpose. Their mandate is to try to detect and deter them, to return them to their point of origin. CBSA is a key partner. When we come across victims of human trafficking in Canada, whether they are adults or children, we work with Citizenship and Immigration Canada for those who come from other countries. The department assists us by providing temporary resident permits, TRPs.

The government recently changed the legislation surrounding TRPs to extend the period of time. The permits provide individuals with an opportunity to stay in Canada and have some means of support to try to understand and appreciate their situation, get back on their feet and look at what they want to do. A lot of work is done.

The Acting Chair: Does that apply to minors also?

Mr. Aubin: It applies to minors as well, but there is a different set of dynamics. For example, the Children's Aid Society would kick in right away.

The Acting Chair: Is the system all set up?

Mr. Aubin: It is not perfect. Our coordinators and the agencies are working through the interdepartmental program here. Perhaps Mr. MacKillop will add something on that subject.

Mr. MacKillop: I think you covered it all. CBSA is part of both the interdepartmental group and our portfolio. CBSA works closely with us with respect to this area, as does Citizenship and Immigration Canada. With the migration integrity officer, MIO, system, we try to address trafficking and keep people from being trafficked. A fair bit of training takes place in the other countries with our CBSA officers to identify potential victims before they come to this country; to stop them from being trafficked.

In the event they are trafficked, there is concerted training across Canada to train as many border officers, RCMP and police officers of local jurisdiction who may come across potential victims of trafficking. We work with the B.C. Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons and other provincial and municipal NGOs to identify who we might be able to refer victims to, what type of services the victims might need, and how to reach the right people — because there is a provincial and federal jurisdiction on both victim services and health services — who gets what. A fair bit of coordination goes on, and a lot of training is ongoing and will continue in the future to address this issue.

The Acting Chair: They are not dropped in all the cracks that are potentially there?

Mr. MacKillop: The system is not perfect; I am sure people do fall through the cracks, as they do in all systems, but the goal is to close those cracks.

The Acting Chair: Are we a big importer for that type of trafficking? Do you think Canada is a great target for trafficking?

Mr. MacKillop: We may need another meeting of a couple of hours to discuss human trafficking.

The Acting Chair: I am referring to exploitation of minors.

Mr. MacKillop: The data is hard to come across, but Canada tends to be more of a transit country rather than an importing county. That applies to international trafficking. Domestic trafficking is another question that we are struggling with, and trying to gather information on.

Mr. Aubin: We need to look at human trafficking not only from the perspective of sexual exploitation. We also have the issue of forced labour. A larger picture is at play. When we talk about international human trafficking, forced labour comes into the picture as well, from the south and the Far East, et cetera.

The Acting Chair: We have gone beyond time. You have been generous, and you have helped us cover the ground. The aim here is to prevent human trafficking and not only pick up the broken pieces. We hope that these exchanges give us insights and help your organizations obtain funding to be able to do more research and prevention. That way, we think we can better achieve the aim of reducing the sexual exploitation of children.

Colleagues, unless there are any questions, thank you for attending and for your questions.

(The committee adjourned.)