Child trafficking a domestic problem: MP
Published Sunday, September 27, 2009 5:07PM EDT
Demonstrators at the Stop Child Trafficking Now protest at Phillips Square raised their voices Sunday on behalf of children who are often silenced.
Organizers said trafficking is not just a foreign issue, but a domestic problem as well.
"This crime happens not only in other countries, but here in Canada and Quebec, in our own cities...so I believe there's a need for much more awareness," said Catherine Legault of SCT-NOW.
More than 1500 children are victims of trafficking in Canada every year, said organizers.
"The demand is here, so we have to start at home to stop the demand. If we can stop the demand, then we can stop the trafficking," said Natasha Beras, a student participating in Sunday's protest.
Canada's first convicted child trafficker, Imani Nakpangi, was convicted in June 2008 of selling a 15-year-old homeless girl for sex over a two-and-a-half-year period, earning a total of over $360,000. Nakpangi was sentenced to three years in prison.
"It's an ugly story. We thought in the 1800s that slavery was abolished. Well, I can tell you in the year 2009, it's not," said Manitoba MP Joy Smith who introduced Bill C-268 into parliament, forcing harsher penalties on those found guilty of child trafficking.
"What it is, is mandatory minimums against people who traffic children 18 years and under. For aggravated trafficking, which means if they rape a child or beat a child, they will get six years," said Kemp.
The House of Commons will vote on Bill C-268 Wednesday.