This file photo shows young Vietnamese prostitutes detained by Cambodian police during a brothel raid in Phnom Penh.
Credits: FILE PHOTO
The five politicians -- travelling with World Vision experts -- are spending this week gathering insight into a complex international issue that spills across borders, but is largely still a mystery to many Canadians.
"There's a perception (among Canadians) that when you're talking about human trafficking, you're talking about women and you're talking just about the sex trade," Hamilton, ON-area Conservative MP Dean Allison said from a hotel in Thailand.
"But it's a lot more. This is an eye-opening experience."
The Thailand and Cambodia passage travelled by Allison, along with British Columbia Conservative MPs Russ Hiebert and Wai Young, PEI Liberal MP Wayne Easter and Quebec NDP MP Isabelle Morin, was the focus of a QMI Agency investigation earlier this month, which appeared just as the federal government announced a co-ordinated national plan to confront human trafficking at home and abroad.
And just last Friday, Bill C-310 passed the Senate -- making human trafficking an extraterritorial offence and broadening the definition of what exploitation means.
Pushed by anti-trafficking champion and Manitoba MP, Joy Smith, experts say the bill strengthens Canada's response to trafficking -- a crime the country has been criticized over in the past for not taking seriously enough.
One of the most profitable organized crime enterprises on the planet, human trafficking shackles an estimated 1.2 million children and for every victim -- child and adult -- drawn into the sex trade, nine are forced into inhuman working conditions in homes, fields, factories or on boats.
Not only does human trafficking take place inside Canada but also our insistence on cheap overseas products can lead to the slavery of humans aboard.
"I would say 90% wouldn't have a clue," Easter said on how aware most Canadians are about the fingers of human trafficking extending to our own country.
Also now in Thailand on the fact-finding mission by World Vision, an international relief and development agency, Easter said Canada's recent action plan is only good if it doesn't simply sit on a shelf for bragging rights.
"It's results at the end of the day that count," he said of Canada's commitment to what he's seeing. "Right now it's words."