Friday, October 13, 2006

University College of the Fraser Valley expert testifies....

UCFV crime expert testifies at human trafficking hearing
By ROBERT FREEMAN
Black PressOct 10 2006
Human trafficking is not an issue usually associated with the University College of the Fraser Valley.
But when Ottawa needed an expert on human trafficking they called on UCFV criminologist Yvon Dandurand. He testified last week before the House of Commons Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Status of Women.
Protecting the victims of human trafficking - who usually only come to light as offenders charged with prostitution or drug trafficking or as ghostly figures sneaking across a border - is the first step in defeating what the United Nations calls a $10-billion a year industry, Dandurand told Black Press in a telephone interview from Ottawa.
"Everyone has got to have one thing in mind: protecting the victims," he said. "All the rest will follow."
The UN estimates that 700,000 people are victims of human traffickers around the world each year, the vast majority of them women and children.
The RCMP's Criminal Intelligence Directorate estimates that up to 2,200 people are trafficked from Canada into the United States each year. Canada is considered a destination and transit country for women who are trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation, most of them from Asia, Latin America, Russia and Eastern Europe.
Dandurand said more "pro-active" police investigations and law enforcement is needed to bring victims to light, instead of waiting to discover them as a result of other crimes.
"We have to create an environment in which it is safe for victims to come forward and seek help," he said, keeping in mind that they are "seriously at risk of reprisal or intimidation" from their captors here in Canada while their families face "terrorism" back in their homeland.
"Successful human traffickers have become adept at using various simple but very effective methods of psychological control over their victims," Dandurand said. "They know how to break a victim's self-confidence and self-efficacy, crush their hopes, and condition them to resign themselves to a life of exploitation in which they are trapped."
He recommended that the standing committee look at better federal and provincial coordination, more systematic implementation of Canada's new human trafficking laws, and investing more resources in research and development of victim services.
Canadian immigration officers are able to issue temporary resident permits to victims of human trafficking, which allows access to health-care benefits.
Last year, UCFV published a 'Guide on Human Trafficking for Canadian Law Enforcement' based on an international version also developed at UCFV.
The guide advised law enforcement agencies to "not go it alone" and to work at developing joint strategies with other organizations, including victim protection and victim services organizations.
Dandurand, dean of research and industry liaison, has studied organized crime and international terrorism for over 10 years.
© Copyright 2006 Abbotsford News

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